Brazilian junior golf receives funding boost

The most extensive junior programme in the history of Brazilian golf will launch in the New Year thanks to support from The R&A.

The Brazilian Golf Confederation (CBG) will receive £50,000 towards a scheme that will introduce thousands of youngsters aged between seven and 14 to the game.

The first stage of the programme will take the game into schools by providing training and funding for golf lessons led by trained PE teachers during sports classes. Those who show interest and ability will then go onto more advanced coaching sessions at local clubs with golf professionals.

Brazil is currently home to around 100 courses and 14,000 golfers although the potential for the sport’s growth is huge given the country’s rapid economic development and golf’s re-introduction at the Rio 2016 Olympics.

Duncan Weir, The R&A’s Director of Golf Development, said: “Golf’s popularity is growing steadily in the country and by targeting this programme at youngsters I am sure we will see many more Brazilians develop a lifelong love of the game.

“The increased quality and profile of golf throughout South America was clear to see during the recent Copa los Andes at Rio’s Gavea Golf Club. I’m sure this programme will produce players who will one day compete in the Copa themselves.”

The first phase of the programme will see more than 600 youngsters, who otherwise would not have the opportunity, get the chance to try the sport between now and 2015.

The programme will start next year in the cities of Brasilia and Curitiba before being rolled out across the country.

John Byers, Director of Rules and International Affairs at the Brazilian Golf Confederation, welcomed The R&A’s support.

The two-time Open Championship referee said: “The programme has been designed to provide guidance, knowledge, training and funding that will secure lasting and meaningful growth of the sport in Brazil.

“Along with the technical aspects, the programme will teach the important values that we all learn from playing golf such as integrity and fair play.

“Thanks to financial backing from The R&A we can now take the game to the next generation of golfers and help prove that golf is an accessible and relevant sport.”

The CBG programme complements R&A-supported junior golf development already taking place in the country, including the ground-breaking Japeri project on the outskirts of Rio de Janeiro.

The community facility and programmes run there, which are now entering their second decade, use the sport and its values to improve the lives of youngsters in one of the city’s poorest districts.