“And that’s the result of a push to make golf accessible to everybody, not only to those who have a lot of money.”
Golf already has captivated World Cup winners Ronaldo and Kaka, Formula One driver Rubens Barrichello and three-time French Open champion Gustavo Kuerten.
Today, most of Brazil’s 105 courses can be played by anybody, even nonmembers, and often at reasonable prices.
A weekend round on some courses can be played for $21, and a bucket of about 50 practice balls at one of the country’s 15 driving ranges usually costs $4 or less.
The average price for a round, however, is about $34 ― still high in a country where the minimum wage is just $127 a month.
At the country’s first public golf complex, the FPG Golf Center in Sao Paulo, free golf clinics are offered for children. More than 300 children and teenagers have joined the program since 2001, said Joao Batista Rodrigues, the teaching pro who runs the clinics.