Started playing golf at age 9.
An accomplished junior tennis player, he won the Eastern Transvall Junior Championships at age 13. Turned full attention to golf at age 14 after also playing cricket, soccer and rugby.
Heavily involved in junior golf of South Africa and Cancer Society of South Africa.
Hosts Ernie Els Invitational in South Africa to raise money for charity. Ernie Els Foundation formed in early 1999, with the purpose of providing full support to disadvantaged children. Proceeds from the Ernie Els Invitational go to four charities and the Foundation.
Established the Els for Autism Foundation in spring 2009, with son, Ben, who is autistic, the driving force behind the mission. Goal is to fund The Els Center of Excellence, a model for the world of what should be done for children with autism. The Center will include an educational program for children ages 3-21 and a research facility.
In December 1998, received lifetime membership on European Tour. Other non-Europeans so honored are Bob Charles, Arnold Palmer and Gary Player.
In 2002, the 2000 Engelbrecht-Els wine was released and received the highest rating yet given to a South African wine.
Third Ernie Els design signature golf course near George in South Africa opened in 2004.
Website is ernieels.com.