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Everyone has heard of Ernie

Els, a former world number

one golfer, winner of 71

worldwide titles, including

four major championships,

and owner of one of the

smoothest swings in golf. Els

has had a Hall of Fame career

and continues to compete at

a high level well into his 28th

season on tour.

What many do not realize,

he is the father to a son with

autism, Ben. The Els family

relocated from England to

West Palm Beach, Florida,

when young Ben was

diagnosed, to access the best

treatment available.

Since that move, Ernie

and his wife, Liezl have

been extremely active in

the autistic community. In

2009, they created the Els

for Autism Foundation to

support organizations that

are working on research and

treatment for the disorder. 

The foundation took a huge

step in 2015 by opening

the doors to the Els Center

for Excellence in Jupiter,

Florida. The center works

with over 300 autistic

children, providing a variety

of programs and opportunities

including, a charter school,

medical services, physical

activities and employment

training and placement. The

center has made a huge

impact in the autism

community in Florida and

plans are in place to expand

the efforts nationwide.

The center is a very

welcoming place for the

children and was built to

make them as comfortable

as possible. They invested in

a properly trained staff and

the equipment to meet the

needs of their students. Every

detail of the facility, from wall

decorations to the height of

the windows, was thoroughly

thought out to ensure the

The FirstTee of Lake Erie

Partnerswith Els forAutism

By Adam Reny

NWO Golf Links