A gentle breeze greeted the field at Randpark Golf Club for the sixth Els for Autism event of the year, writes WADE PRETORIUS.
The players turned out for a good cause, with the opportunity to play on the same course where Louis Oosthuizen won his first SA Open last year an added bonus.
As always, the event was backed by several sponsors who worked together to set up a day which the club now backs as something not to be missed by its members.
Some may have missed the fact that the Els For Autism centre is not Ernie Els’ sole way of giving back. For nearly
three decades, ‘The Big Easy’ has been supporting Cansa and established the Ernie Els & Fancourt Foundation in 2009.
‘Ernie does so much for so many people and these golf days are a wonderful way to support the work done at the Braamfontein Els for Autism centre,’ says Nico van Rensburg, business development manager at the Els Group and a multiple winner on the Sunshine and Asian Tours.
Now Van Rensburg pours his time and effort into raising funds and awareness for the cause so dear to his long-time friend’s heart.
‘We’re only able to do this with the relationships we’ve built over time. [Former club captain] Craig McLeod and I spoke some years ago and today we’re partners in doing this thing right.’
Another big supporter is Sizwe Asset Finance, whose CEO Karl Bauermeister said: ‘We are humbled to be a part of this series and connected in some small way to helping those living with this condition. We are incredibly humbled by Ernie’s contribution and can see how it’s going from strength to strength.’
The headline sponsor for the past two years, Imperial KWS Logistics, is another company that has jumped at the chance to give back.
‘Last year was good but this year is another level. To walk the journey alongside Els for Autism is just great,’ says business development executive Riaan Hefer.
Back on the course, the scoring was a mixed bag, with some scores suggesting a few more practice sessions with the
local PGA pro are in order. But at the top, 50 betterball Stableford points was only good enough for third place, while 53 was beaten into second as Etienne Ehlers and Graham Schoeman accumulated a massive 56 points.
In doing so the pair booked their place at Lost City for the two-day final in October. If they are to replicate that wonderful scoring, there is a good chance they will be lining up at the Nedbank Golf Challenge Pro-Am.
For the rest of the Randpark field, they will console themselves with the fact they had a blast, no matter their lack of success. Perhaps they were some of the many who reached deep into their pockets at the post-dinner auction which had sporting memorabilia, signed Els wines and more on offer.
As the laughter continued, and the stories of what might have been got more comical, the field filled in their diaries for the same place, same time next year.
Etienne Ehlers and Graham Schoeman – 56 points
Christo Mulder and Van Zyl Jacobs – 53
JJ Jacobs and Riaan Hefer – 50
HOW CAN READERS HELP?
Els for Autism funds its centre mainly through golf days, which form part of the ‘Els for Autism Drive to Sun City’. You can enter these golf days:
3 October: Silver Lakes Golf Estate
24 October: Ebotse Golf Estate
30-31 October: Lost City (final)
Follow Els for Autism on Twitter: @elsforautism_sa
Like Els for Autism on Facebook: elsforautismsa