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Ernie Els Golf Courses

from the Experts in Golf Holidays

⏱ 6 min read

Ernie Els Golf Courses

Golf Designs from The Big Easy

Former World No. 1, Ernie Els, also known as "The Big Easy" due to his imposing physical stature along with his fluid golf swing, has accumulated more than 70 career wins along with 4 Major Championships.

Since Ernie Els Golf Design was formed in 2000 it has created an impressive portfolio of signature courses around the world, with many more in various stages of construction and planning.

Ernie Els Facts

Name Theodore Ernest Els
Born 17 Ocotber, 1969
Nationality South African
Majors 4

(2 US Opens, 2 Open Championships)


Best Ernie Els Golf Course Designs

About Ernie Els

Nicknamed The Big Easy, Ernie Els was born in South Africa in 1969 and grew up in Lambton, Germiston, where he would eventually learn to play golf with his father and older brother at the age of 8 years old. Ernie enjoyed playing many other sports alongside golf including tennis, which he excelled at, winning a championship in his early teens.

It was around the age of 14 however that he decided to put all of his focus into golf after reaching a scratch handicap. Deciding to exclusively focus on golf was a decision that paid off for Ernie, and he would eventually go on to win the Junior World Golf Championship in 1984 after a battle with golfing legend Phil Mickelson who finished second that year.

Ernie didn’t stop there and at 17 years old he went on to break a record previously held by Gary Player, becoming the youngest-ever winner of the South African Amateur.

After setting precedent in his amateur career, Els eventually turned professional in 1989 and went on to become one of the most decorated golfers to have played the game. His first professional win came in 1991 before he won the 1993 Dunlop Open in Japan, his first win professional win outside of his home country.

Just a year later, in 1994, a scintillating battle in his first major championship at the U.S. Open saw Els go toe-to-toe with Colin Montgomerie and Loren Roberts where he would eventually come out on top after a 18-hole playoff. This was just the start of an astounding professional career, and he went on to win tournaments and achievements all over the world, including a total of 4 majors. He would later become a World Golf Hall of Fame inductee.

Ernie launched his golf architectural career in 2000 with the inception of his company Ernie Els Design. With offices in his home country of South Africa, as well as Florida, Malaysia, and Dubai, the company uses the latest technology and continues to provide the golfing world with impressive courses to this day.

Els has designed a plethora of courses around the world including Copperleaf in South Africa which was the first of many Els Clubs. Ernie Els Design was also responsible for the huge restoration and modernisation of Wentworth’s West Course which started in 2005 and eventually finished in 2017.

Ernie Els Design has gone on to create courses in South Africa, the United Arab Emirates, the United States, Malaysia, China, England, Mauritius and more.

Worldwide Ernie Els Golf Courses

The West Course at Wentworth redesigned by Ernie Els

In 2005 Ernie Els was tasked with redesigning the West Course at Wentworth some 80 years on from Harry Colt's orignal layout which many golfers thought had been lost over the years with the course not playing as Colt intended.

Extensive re-bunkering and hole lengthening followed by all 18 greens plus their surrounds being re-built to USGA specification to ensure they would now perform to the absolute highest standards. alongside this work Els also addressed the issue of drainage to help disperse water more efficiently to the perimeters of the greens.

❝The modernisation and renovation helps more closely realign the course with Harry Colt’s original vision, whilst also being mindful of the demands of the modern game; that’s always a delicate balancing act. All in all, the completion of this project is great news for Wentworth, for BMW and the European Tour, and obviously for the players and the fans who love to come here every year.❞
Ernie Els

Frequently asked questions about Ernie Els Golf Courses

How many golf courses has Ernie Els designed?

Ernie Els Golf Design has been responsible for 15 golf courses throughout the world so far with around 8 more currently in development.

How many Majors has Ernie Els won?

Amongst Ernie Els 70+ career victories are four major championships: in 1994 he won the U.S. Open at Oakmont & won it again in 1997 at Congressional. Els won The Open Championship at Muirfield in 2002 and in 2012 won it for a second time at Royal Lytham & St Annes. He is one of six golfers to twice win both the U.S. Open and The Open Championship.

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