Local businessmen propping up Olympic Course, IGF chief says

February 9, 2017

The Olympic Golf Course in Rio is on life support.

According to Peter Dawson, the former chief executive of the R&A and current president of the International Golf Federation, a group of Brazilian businessmen have provided the necessary funds to keep the embattled track operational — for now.

“Things are looking a little better, there’s a group of people who have come together that have a relationship with the land owner there, and they’ve re-engaged enough of the greens staff to keep the maintenance going,” Dawson told Golf Channel. “The greens staff are now being paid, which they weren’t.”

The course was designed to host golf’s return to the Olympics at the 2016 Rio Games and converted into Brazil’s first 18-hole public course at the conclusion of the competition but it has since struggled to gain a foothold in a nation that boasts only about 20,000 golfers.

According to Agence France-Presse, the course has been all but empty as a dispute between the Brazilian Golf Confederation and its maintenance company Progolf left the upkeep of the course in doubt.

With emergency funding in place, however, Dawson remains cautiously optimistic.

“I’m really hopeful it’s going to make a go of it, whereas maybe two months ago I had a lot of doubts,” Dawson said.