Els Champions Unique COVID Relief Initiative

In such a difficult and uncertain time, it’s heartening to see the lengths those with the means to do so are going to in order to help those working on the front lines of the coronavirus pandemic.

World Golf Hall of Famer Ernie Els has championed a cause, ClubsHELP, a 501(c)3 tax-exempt, charitable organization that connects golf clubs with hospitals in their local areas to provide critically needed support for health workers as they care for victims of the COVID-19 pandemic.

“When my management team told me about this initiative, I was right behind it straight away,” Els said. “It’s a shining example of how people all around the world are pulling together in this crisis to help vulnerable members of society and, of course, support the frontline healthcare staff who are literally putting their lives on the line for all of us.”

The premise is simple.

“A member steps up to be her/his club’s ‘captain,’ ClubsHELP press release said. “The club then adopts a local hospital and the adopted hospital appoints a captain. Working cooperatively, the captains identify the most pressing needs at the adopted hospital. Then club members, companies, and individual donors pitch in to gather, collect and deliver the most necessary items and resources to the hospital.”

The idea came out of the most genuine of places: a young person hoping to help. David Bachman, General Manager of Spring Brook Country Club in Morristown, N.J. was approached by a member whose daughters wanted to do their part in the fight against COVID-19. The club partnered with Morristown Memorial Hospital, and the club is now an ongoing supplier of food, beverages, and PPE equipment to its adopted hospital.

From there, Rob Goulet, CEO of Entertainment Sports Partners, and manager to Els, reached out to Bachman suggesting they turn this local program into a national campaign. 

“Every community wants to support their local hospital and first responders,” Goulet said. “We know that strength in numbers — clubs and their members’ networks —could make a meaningful impact.”

Assembling quickly, clubs in the northeast have helped especially hard-hit hospitals in Connecticut, New York and New Jersey, providing supplies to the frontlines.

“The most pressing needs for the frontline hospital workers are basic food items that can be consumed quickly, PPE supplies, UV lighting for sterilization of phones and keys, and delivery services,” said Bachman. “Anything a member may be able to offer, including transport vehicles, personnel, or manufacturing capabilities, should be raised with their club and hospital captains.”

Clubs and organizations around the county have been activated in the few short weeks the initiative has been up and running, including Els’ Old Palm Golf Club in Palm Beach Gardens, FL, which has partnered with Jupiter Medical Center. 

To be a captain, register your club, pledge support, or get additional information, access the web site at www.clubshelp.org or text ClubsHELP to 71441.