Ernie Els hosts annual golf clinic for kids with autism at Honda Classic

Ernie El hosts annual golf clinic for kids with autism at Honda Classic. (WPEC)

Walking up to the Ernie Els Game on Autism clinic at PGA National is like walking in to a surprise birthday party - you can’t help but smile.

“Being able to share their joys with other people out there that may not know our kids - that’s important,” said Liezl Els, founder of Els for Autism.

The two time open championship winner, Ernie Els, hosts his golf clinic every year at the Honda Classic, which is centered around kids with autism.

“We use the golf as a teaching tool for them to stay in their zone and to be careful of what their friends are doing, to acknowledge other people and what they’re doing,” said Els.

The clinic is bigger than the game of golf: it teaches kids with autism skills they will use in there everyday lives.

“When they’re kept from society and all the other opportunities that everyone else has it limits their potential so if we give them the chance with the right supports they’re able to do so much,” said Marlene Sotelo, Chief operating officer at Els for Autism.

One participant said he enjoyed hanging out with his peers and playing the game he loves.

“The reason I like doing golf is I like to get hole-in-ones and birdies,” said Tyler Pavkov.