Els for Autism

Ernie & Ben Els

Ernie with son Ben – Photo from website Ernie for Autism

Close on 100 golfers gathered at St Francis Links last Wednesday in support of the Els for Autism Golf Day and what a successful day it turned out to be. But it was not only about golf for the prize giving dinner was certainly an eye opener as to the generosity of the St Francis community and those who travelled from around the Eastern Cape to compete in the event.

Similar events have been held at golf courses around South Africa and will continue to be held throughout the year but to date, none have raised as much for the Els for Autism as our little village in a single event. Now it must be said from the outset much of the success must be attributed to Jeff Clause who, if he ever decides to give up is job at St Francis Links, would certainly be able to find work as an auctioneer. In fact other than that the local community was in a giving spirit it would not surprise if Jeff was one day able to get blood out of a stone so persuasive is his auctioneering style.

The evening hosted by Jeff who knew the young Ernie playing at Fancourt before his rise to fame as a professional golfer, was filled with wonderful anecdotes told by both Jeff and Ernie’s close friend Nico van Rensburg who oversees the Els for Autism events in South Africa. Some interesting facts on just how great a golfer Ernie is were also revealed and most interesting was that whilst he may not have achieved as many major titles as Tiger Woods he holds the record for the most consecutive weeks inside the Top-10 of the Official World Golf Ranking (758 weeks between 19 June 1994 and 11 January 2009).

But the evening was not all about the antics of the young Ernie and a video presentation (watch video) featuring Ernie and his wife, Liezel truly told the story about what the evening was really about. A moving story and we hope you will take time to watch this video for who knows you may one day have someone close to you who will have to face the challenges of an autistic child. A highlight of the evening was a recorded telephone call from Ernie thanking those who participated in the day’s event.

It would be amiss not to mention the dinner we were treated to for Chef Brad certainly pulled out all the stops for this wonderful evening. The 3-course meal was as good as I have enjoyed in St Francis and the Asian Seafood Trio of prawn pot sticker, seared tuna and oyster tempura served with a teriyaki sauce and fruit Vinaigrette was quite outstanding as was the Beef Fillet and Lindt Hot Chocolate Fondant. And the service of serving over a 100 guest with plated courses too ran as smootthlay as the ‘Big Easy’s” swing.

Thanks for a great evening St Francis Links!

In closing, some words from Ernie

“Years from now people may remember me as a golfer and a major champion. But I’d like also to be remembered as somebody who took the issue of Autism and did something with it. The rest of my life, I’ll be fighting this thing…I hope you’ll join with me”.

video presentation