Olympic Preview: Golf's Footprint In Brazil

Can golf take root in the host country when the Olympics are over?

Released on 8/3/2016

Transcript

00:00
Once they decided to build this golf course
00:03
I think they really thought it could be
00:05
the beginning of birth, not a rebirth,
00:07
but a birth for golf in Rio and in Brazil.
00:14
I think as a middle class was being created
00:18
by the economic prosperity of eight, nine,
00:21
10 years ago, they really thought that there
00:22
was a population that would take advantage
00:24
of this new Olympic golf course.
00:27
One of the great public courses in the world.
00:29
Unfortunately, the economy's tanked.
00:34
There is no middle class.
00:36
There's really no population to take advantage of this.
00:40
Now because of the economic disaster
00:42
and the corruption in government,
00:44
right now it's a troubled spot.
00:46
But I believe sort of caught up in the exuberance
00:49
of being one of vaunted brick countries
00:52
and leading world economy, the Olympics decided
00:57
it deserved its own golf course.
01:00
I think if your tried to find the average
01:02
Brazilian golfer, there are about four or five
01:05
golf courses you could go to in the country
01:08
and find all of them.
01:10
It's really not a well established sport.
01:12
I think the main knock on growing golf globally
01:14
is you think of it as this sport where
01:16
you need huge financial resources.
01:19
Golf can't really exist in places
01:22
that are still trying to sort of get
01:25
their head above water economically.
01:28
The cradle of golf in Rio is this beautiful
01:29
little golf course called Gavea Golf and Country Club.
01:33
It is majestic.
01:34
It's right up against these volcanic mountains.
01:38
It's got elevation changes of 150 feet.
01:41
You see hang gliders taking off from this perch
01:45
way up on top of one of the mountains.
01:47
It's extraordinary.
01:49
When I was at Gavea, I met a woman named Vicky White
01:52
who is the first female South American member of the RNA
01:57
and a member of Gavea.
01:59
15 years ago she helped found the first public golf course
02:03
in the entire country of Brazil.
02:07
It's kind of amazing.
02:08
She founded it not just to build a golf course
02:10
but to become a golf academy and to give
02:13
children in one of the poorest communities in Brazil,
02:17
one of the poorest and most violent communities in Brazil,
02:19
a chance, a chance to get an education,
02:21
a chance to get some health care,
02:24
a chance to learn a game through which they might
02:27
learn some discipline and get a measure
02:32
of hope in the future.
02:34
It's about 70 minutes from Rio by car,
02:35
takes 130 children every year.
02:39
Each of them attends three days a week.
02:41
They learn golf.
02:42
They have tutoring.
02:45
They have medical visits.
02:46
They have some food provided.
02:49
It's become not just a place where children
02:54
can learn to succeed but it's employed
02:56
15 or 20 people, most of whom were former caddies
02:59
at Gavea and become a real bastion of hope
03:05
in kind of a hopeless part of the world.
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