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Back from South Africa

On the Road with Ernie Els.

Back from South Africa, 6 September 2005

After a 10-day trip with the family to South Africa, we all flew back to Wentworth on Monday night, landing Tuesday morning. It was nice to get back to my home country and see some friends and family. I mean, I don't usually get the chance to do that at this time of year, so I guess that's the first good thing about being injured! What's that old saying…every cloud has a silver lining. Anyway, it was fun. And in between doing my exercises, which I have to do several times a day, every day without fail, I also got a chance to catch up on some business.

I wasn't quite fit enough to make the journey to any of the sites, but my brother Dirk has been filling me in on all the news. Highland Gate is coming along really nicely, with an anticipated completion around this time next year. The Gardener Ross Golf & Country Estate in Gauteng is at a similar stage of development, now well into its construction phase with two holes completed and many of the greens already seeded.

We expect the golf course at Gardener Ross also to be finished in the next 10 months, with an official opening around 12 months from now. When completed it will be one of the longest courses in the entire Southern hemisphere, almost 7,400 metres from the tips! Sounds very scary, but with it being at altitude the ball does fly further through the thin air. Also, the fairways are going to be generous, so everyone can go out there and 'give it a rip'. And obviously there are a range of different tees as well, so you don't have to play it at its full length.

Many of you will be familiar already with the Gardener Ross project, as I've mentioned before that it's the exact site where my grandfather grew up. Sadly he passed away a couple of months ago, but he was a big influence on all of us when we were growing up and it's obviously great for us to be able to create a golf course here. In years to come it will always have special meaning to the whole family.

Being in South Africa also gave me an opportunity to chat with the guys at the Ernie Els Foundation. If you have a few minutes why not check out the GIVE section on my website. It has lots of information about what we're doing to help kids who really need it most, along with some news stories detailing how some of them are getting on in the many tournaments they play throughout the season.

Actually I've got some exciting announcements about the Foundation, but I'm sworn to secrecy right now! It'll have to wait for another report some time later this month, before I can tell you all about it. Suffice to say, however, it's a big step forward in the evolution and growth of my Foundation – something I care a lot about.

Coming up this week...

No prizes for guessing the main focus of my activities this week; physio…and then more physio! Sophie is going to be on my case, big time. She'll be pleased to know I haven't been neglecting my exercises during my time in South Africa. But still, my guess is I'm in for some pain and suffering in the next few days. It's all for a good reason; that's what I have to keep telling myself anyway! Seriously, though, I am genuinely pleased with the progress since the op. The rehab process isn't without its frustrations, but I'm further down the road to recovery than I thought I'd be at this stage. There's no reason why I shouldn't be just as optimistic about the progress I can make in the next 6-8 weeks.

Anyway, I'll get back to writing weekly updates for the foreseeable future, to keep you posted on all the latest news and developments. As my knee gets better and stronger, there'll be more to fill you in on each week.

Until next time, bye for now.

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