Las Vegas, Nevada (October 20, 2011)–The Las Vegas Golf Region is already home to some of the biggest events in golf. And now Ernie Els is bringing the Grand Finale of his Els For Autism national campaign to a few Las Vegas golf courses. Els, who is the father of an autistic son, has helped to raise more than $1.7 million with the national campaign. –By Brian Hurlburt
"I am overwhelmed by how much the Golf Challenge has been embraced by the golf community across the U.S.," said Els via a statement. "We really didn’t know what to expect from our first year of the Challenge but the support we’ve had from the teams taking part, their donors and our sponsors has been phenomenal” Said Els. “Liezl and I really want to make a difference to kids on the Autism spectrum and their families and with this kind of collective support we know we can.”
The three Las Vegas golf courses to be used during the Grand Finale are the private TPC Summerlin, the host course for the PGA Tour's Justin Timberlake Shriners Hospitals for Children Open; Rio Secco Golf Club, a Rees Jones Las Vegas resort course that hosts the Wendy's 3-Tour Challenge; and Cascata, another Rees Jones Las Vegas resort golf course that has been rated as one of the best in America by ZAGAT. Both Rio Secco and Cascata are also the home courses of the Butch Harmon School of Golf.
Fellow PGA Tour pros, including Dustin Johnson and his coach, Butch Harmon, will also be a part of the events. A highlight of the week will be the official Pro-Am Challange at TPC to be played Monday, October 24 from 2:30-4:30. The invite is open to the public and free of charge with donations encouraged. The overall Golf Challenge, spearheaded by World of Golf Hall of Famer Ernie Els, consisted of 30 Super Regional events around the country at TPC and handpicked public and private courses, from May through September, with all teams competing for a place at the Grand Finale in Las Vegas.
Proceeds from the Golf Challenge will go to the Els for Autism Foundation to fund a Center of Excellence. The $30 million project, the first of its kind in the world, will provide a physical and virtual hub that will reach out to the autism community across the U.S. and the world. Els, whose 9-year old son Ben is on the autism spectrum, set up the Els for Autism Foundation in 2009 with his wife Liezl, in order to try and help other families in the same situation.