The Rio Olympic golf course will open to the public on Oct. 1. (Getty Images) A view of the 18th hole of the Rio Olympic Course during the final round of the 2016 tournament.  (Jay Coffin/Golf Advisor) Architect Gil Hanse built the Olympic golf course in Rio specifically for the 2016 Olympic Games. (Matt Stockman/Getty Images) Klaus Kaiser has been running golf tours in Brazil since 2003. (Courtesy of Klaus Kaiser )

Brazil aims to attract golfers after the 2016 Olympic Games in Rio

With the 2016 Olympics in the rearview mirror, the Rio Olympic Course in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, turns to its next chapter.

As the golf course prepares to open to the public on Oct. 1, there are plenty of questions regarding its future: Will it help grow the game in Brazil? Will it transform Rio into an international golf destination? Skeptics wonder how will it survive surrounded by a culture that isn't into golf?

Klaus Kaiser, a Brazilian-based tour operator, is banking on a bright future. Kaiser owns Teamtours Brasil, which specializes in organizing golf trips throughout the country. He hasn't seen too many bookings yet but inquiries have increased.

"The region Barra (da Tijuca) in Rio de Janeiro is really a new golf destination," Kaiser said, noting most of his past golf trips to Rio have been combined with other regions in Brazil.

"The new hotels are only 15 (to) 30 minutes driving distance to three championships golf courses."

He recommends an itinerary staying seven days, playing rounds at the Olympic course, Gavea Golf and Country Club and Itanhanga Golf Club, with two days sightseeing in the city and a day trip in the mountains to the historical city of Petropolis. He estimates this package will cost between $1,500-$2,500 depending on the cost of the accommodations.

"For sightseeing a must is the Corcovado (mountain) with a great view and the Christ (the Redeemer) statue, the historical center, the Sugarloaf (Mountain) and -- brand new -- the Olympic Boulevard at the harbor and the Museum do Amanha," he said.

One look at the cost of golf in Rio explains why so few play the game. Virtually all of the courses are private and expensive for locals.

Itanhanga -- a 27-hole facility with the original nine designed by Canadian legend Stanley Thompson -- costs roughly $100 weekdays and $145 on weekends for hotel guests and $51-$62 for the guest of a member. Green fees on the Olympic course will range from $150 to $225 for foreigners, depending on the day. The $75 rate for Brazilians will be cheaper, but not necessarily more affordable, for locals.

The Brazilian Golf Federation, the keeper of the course, should be launching a Web site where golfers can book tee times. Check for updates. For more information about Kaiser's company, visit

Sep 28, 2016

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Jason Scott Deegan

Senior Staff Writer

Jason Scott Deegan has reviewed more than 700 courses and golf destinations for some of the industry's biggest publications. His work has been honored by the Golf Writer's Association of America and the Michigan Press Association. Follow him on Twitter at @WorldGolfer.