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Frosts and photo shoots

On the Road With Ernie Els

When I got back from Dubai last week you'll remember me saying how I was keeping my fingers crossed for some good weather here in London, basically so I could spend time working hard on my golf game. Well, we got plenty of blue skies, that was one good thing. But man, it's been freezing cold. In fact, the golf course was actually closed most of last week because of heavy frosts, which meant that despite my good intentions I got to play the grand total of just nine holes! That was pretty frustrating, as you can imagine. On a couple of days I did manage to hit some balls on the practice ground, but like I said it was so cold you couldn't really stay out there for long; just a couple of hours in the middle of the day when there was a little bit of warmth in the sun. But that doesn't last long at this time of year. It was a far cry from Dubai, where I was the weekend before.
 
Still, on the plus side I was at least able to enjoy a nice relaxing week with the family and, for once, a little bit of time to myself. I was even pretty much free most days from any business meetings or other engagements, so that was an added bonus.
 
I must admit with it being so chilly outside, the warmth of the Wentworth gym has had some extra appeal. I met up with Josh a few times and carried on the good work we've done together over the last couple of months. As I've already said in a few of my recent website reports, apart from a little bit of discomfort in the knee after exercising, I really feel in good shape physically. Obviously I've been out of tournament action for quite a while now, so this improved level of fitness will be a big factor in helping me get back to playing my best golf as quickly as possible.
 

Coming up this week...
 
Tomorrow I have a photo shoot here at Wentworth with a few of the guys from Golf Digest who are flying over from the States. As you'll have learnt if you've checked out the new Golf Digest section on my website, I've enjoyed what's now a 12-year relationship with this great magazine and I know a few of the writers and staff photographers pretty well. They're a professional team and very well prepared; as a result these photo shoots always go smoothly. Never a problem.
 
Later this week I'll be flying over to South Africa where I'll be making a site visit to the Gardner Ross Golf & Country Estate. Remember, this is a special project. It's on the same plot of land where my grandfather grew up; and as many of you will know he had a big influence on all of us. You could say he was the one who started golf fever in the Els family.
 
Anyway, construction is already well underway and it'll be good to see how things are coming along. We expect it to be completed and ready for play by this time next year and we believe it will be the longest golf course in the South hemisphere, almost 7,900 yards from the tips. As I've said before, though, it's not quite as intimidating as it sounds. The course is at altitude, so the ball flies probably 10 per cent further than normal. And there'll be plenty of different tee options, so golfers of all standards can enjoy it. Also the way we've designed it is there'll be plenty of room off the tee, so everyone can get out their driver and give it a rip. It's going to be a really good golf course, and a fun one to play, too.
 
Okay, that's it. This is only a fairly short report today, but I'll write again next Monday and give you a full rundown of my preparations in the build-up to what will be my first tournament in 20 weeks, the Nedbank Golf Challenge at Sun City.
 
Five months! I can hardly believe it myself that it's been that long. It's such a relief that the waiting is almost at an end.
 
Bye for now.
 

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