City Closing Only Public Golf Course

  • I came across the article below.  It's about a golf course in Rio, known for social projects helping poor children, that is in jeopardy of being closed.  My question is what role do you think golf has in supporting charity?  Should there be more tournaments dedicated to helping charitable organizations?


    SAO PAULO - As Rio de Janeiro prepares to host the first Olympic golf tournament in more than 100 years, the modest Japeri Golfe Clube - known for social projects that help hundreds of poor children - is in danger of being shut down because of the highway the government says is needed to alleviate traffic in the Rio metropolitan area. "I'll lay down kids in the middle of the fairway, if needed," golf course president Vicky Whyte told The Associated Press this week, vowing to protect the course until the end. The city of Japeri is last in the state's human-development rankings, and the golf school at the course helps more than 100 poor kids - ages 7 to 17 - by providing them with education, food and clothing, along with golf classes. Whyte will meet with authorities Tuesday to try to solve the issue, but she said she was not optimistic about saving the nine-hole golf course. The land where the course is located has been declared a place of "public interest" - giving the state the right to take over the property to build the highway.

    She said the state even paid reparations to the city of Japeri, where the club is located some 30 miles from Rio de Janeiro. Whyte said the Japeri Public Golf Association made a deal with the city through a bidding process in 2002 that secured its use of the land for 25 years, with an option to extend the agreement for another 25. The city's press office said in a statement that the current administration would do everything possible to keep the golf course running. But if nothing can be done to keep the state from destroying the course, Whyte said she wanted authorities to build another course on an adjacent piece of land or pay for the new course to be built. She said Rio de Janeiro state Gov. Sergio Cabral personally promised the course would be rebuilt.

    Though golf has grown in popularity in Brazil, it remains an elite sport, with fewer than 30,000 participants and just more than 100 courses, all private and most with high fees. The Japeri course charges just over $10 for 18 holes on weekdays. Officials want to use the Olympic public course (which is yet to be built) to help boost the sport locally and develop it after the Rio Olympic Games. Besides the course, organizers also want to build training academies and schools to develop golf professionals.



1 comment
  • David M
    David M I wonder if something like this would happen in the US. The PGA is such a huge supporter of kid's programs here that I think there would be big uproar and some famous golfers would ensure there was a lot of publicity around it.
    May 2, 2011