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Els for Autism teams up with The First Tee of Aiken and brings its Ernie Els #GameON Autism ™ Golf Clinic to Augusta during Masters week

Els for Autism


Els for Autism teams up with The First Tee of Aiken and brings its Ernie Els #GameON Autism ™ Golf Clinic to Augusta during Masters week

Augusta, Georgia – An already special day in Augusta, just got a little more special, as the Azalea House is set to host its first ever Foundation Day with the Els for Autism Foundation.  The Sunday before the Monday practice round has always been set aside for the Drive, Chip and Putt Championships where kids from all over the country gather to compete in different age groups for the DCP Trophy!

This year, immediately following the winner’s ceremony, focus will shift to the Ernie Els #GameON Autism ™ Golf clinic, hosted just across the street from the course in the National Hills neighborhood on Azalea Drive.  In partnership with The First Tee of Aiken, where they currently run have a #GameON Autism programming, there will be a clinic, followed by a small reception with a short panel to raise awareness about brain health and all the hard work that goes into understanding and treating this disorder that affects so many millions of people around the world.

“We are just thrilled to be able to bring this clinic to Augusta, especially during such a special week!”  said Jen Hong, of Els for Autism #GameON Autism™ Golf is an innovative program that has been developed in collaboration with PGA REACH and The First Tee and is specially tailored for individuals on the autism spectrum. Infused with evidence-based practices for teaching golf to individuals with ASD, #GameON Autism™ Golf is designed to build self-esteem and confidence in a fun, welcoming and supportive environment, encouraging participants to learn golf skills while practicing specific autism learning concepts, including communication, regulatory, motor and social skills.

“I first became aware of the program while we were in Las Vegas with our partner Golf Talk America for the Shriners Hospitals for Children Open.  It brought a tear to my eye to see the joy in the children’s faces, literally.  I told Frank immediately we needed to find a way to do this in Augusta at the house!” said Marcus Burnell, owner of the Azalea House.  April 2nd, 2017 also happens to be World Autism Awareness Day.  “We’re working with a cool company NightSports USA that’s going to light the house up blue in the evening and help us show support for the cause.”  Golf Talk America will also be covering the event LIVE, conducting interviews and documenting this highly anticipated event.

The Drive Chip and Putt Championship begins at 7:00 am EST and the #GameON Autism™ Golf Clinic is set to begin around 2:00 pm EST (immediately following the trophy presentation, at the Azalea House) and tickets are available to purchase for $450.00 on www.azaleahospitality.com.  They include a ticket to the Drive Chip and Putt Championships, Azalea House hospitality and a $50 donation to the #GameON Autism™ Golf program, benefiting The First Tee of Aiken.


The Azalea House is a full-service, off-course hospitality venue located just off Washington Rd, a short walk from the main entrance to the course.  Offered daily is a premium open bar, catered buffet for breakfast, lunch and light appetizers in the evening.  Other amenities include valet parking and shuttle service to/from the course, along with complimentary cell phone and merchandise check.  For pricing and reservations, please visit www.azaleahospitality.com.

The Els for Autism Foundation was established in 2009 by PGA TOUR golfer Ernie Els and his wife Liezl (residents of Jupiter, FL) shortly after their son Ben was diagnosed with autism. The Foundation’s overarching mission is to help people on the autism spectrum fulfill their potential to lead positive, productive and rewarding lives. To help fulfill its mission, Els for Autism continues to build out the state-of-the-art Center of Excellence in Jupiter, FL, with a local, national and global reach.  Els for Autism has offices in the U.S., Canada, South Africa, and the UK.

Donations can be made online at www.elsforautism.org and by check (made payable to ‘Els for Autism’) and addressed to: Els for Autism, The Els Center of Excellence, 18370 Limestone Creek Rd, Jupiter, FL 33458.

The First Tee of Aiken was established in August 2009 and is a locally owned and operated nonprofit organization. The First Tee of Aiken is located at Houndslake Country Club and features a 9-hole course, practice range, putting green, and clubhouse/teaching facility. Students enrolled in The First Tee of Aiken receive quality life skills and golf instruction, free use of golf equipment, supervised practice privileges, tournament opportunities and more. Special emphasis is placed on recruiting low to moderate-income youth, minorities, girls, at-risk youth, students with disabilities and youth that might not have otherwise been exposed to the game and its positive values. No student or group will be turned away based on their inability to pay. At The First Tee of Aiken, youth programming is our first priority.