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Impact of Rosewood Mayakoba Educational Center visit felt by both children, PGA TOUR players

November 8, 2018

By Doug Milne, PGA TOUR Staff

At this week’s Mayakoba Golf Classic, it would be very easy for PGA TOUR players and their families to arrive on site and not leave again until the conclusion of their week.

The accommodations are five-star quality, dining experiences are exquisite and the immaculately-manicured grounds have run of the place.

Minutes away, though, life is a far cry from pampered. While the community on the outskirts of Playa del Carmen may not have a lot, they do now have a school.

On Wednesday at Mayakoba, Martin Laird, Cameron Davis, Anirban Lahiri, Sebastian Munoz, Patrick Rodgers and John Huh spent the morning at K’iin Beh’s Rosewood Mayakoba’s Educational Center. With the intent of helping create special memories for the 208 students, the script was flipped and those who left impacted most were the TOUR players.

The TOUR members spent the first part of the morning in the classrooms with the students, teaching them about their native homelands. Golf lessons for the students outside ensued, the clear highlight of the morning.

The Rosewood Mayakoba Educational Center is comprised of 208 local children and children of the resort’s employees, from kindergarten through the sixth grade, and is funded entirely by the Rosewood Mayakoba. With so many families struggling to make ends meet in the K’iin Beh community, the school features a scholarship, or “pay-what-you-can” program. The Rosewood Mayakoba makes up for the difference.

“When we were looking for a non-profit three years ago, K’iin Beh was losing their land,” said Daniel Scott, Managing Director of Rosewood Mayakoba and President of the foundation which makes the scholarships to K’iin Beh available. “We decided to invest and promise to build them a new school of the highest quality. We now have seven classrooms, so kids have that pride when they come to school each day.”

Half of the students’ day is spent learning in Spanish, while the other half is taught in English. Not only does the Rosewood Mayakoba Educational Center provide a solid, bilingual education, but the staff also work to instill virtues and good values.

“This is the most rewarding thing I have done all year,” Patrick Rodgers said. “This is incredible. At the end of the day, this is what our job is about. We’re not making a difference by going out and playing golf. But, to be able to be a part of something like this, and hopefully make a small difference in peoples’ lives, that makes me love what I do.”

“This is the best time away from the job, so to speak, that I have ever spent on the PGA TOUR,” said Anirban Lahiri. “I don’t think we connect with children in the communities enough. And, educating kids is something very close to my heart. In India, we have a similar situation, where there is not enough educating going on and we have kids who need it. So, be able to come here, be a part of this and communicate with the kids took me back to my childhood.”

Even with luxury destinations located all over the world, Scott explains that Rosewood’s heart is sustained by the local communities. His assurance to the people of Playa del Carmen is that, as significant as the hotel guests are, most importantly to Rosewood is extending that same premiere service to everyone in their surrounding communities.

“Quite often, we’re in our little bubble when we go to tournaments and we don’t get to see the impact the tournaments make on the communities,” said Scotland’s Martin Laird. “To get to come here and see 200 smiling kids’ faces, you realize there is so much more to it than just the golf part. Nothing beats seeing a bunch of kids smiling and having a good time. It really gives you an idea of how special life can be.”

“I don’t usually have a chance to hang out with kids from a younger generation, so this is a great experience for me,” said John Huh. “Too often, we take advantage of what we have and what we do for a living. So, this is very special for me. Seeing all these kids smile does my heart a lot of good.”

The Rosewood Mayakoba Educational Center opened earlier this year. The hope is that by next year’s Mayakoba Golf Classic, a separate building for the kindergarten classes will have been completed.

“It just makes me feel really good about what we do,” Lahiri said. “It’s very easy to lose perspective by how we play on the course, but when you come here and see the difference we can all make, it makes everything very special for me.”

“It was a very humbling experience, because it puts right in front of you the basic needs so many people lack,” said Sebastian Munoz. “It gives real perspective to what matters in life. Missing those short putts is no battle at all compared to what so many people are up against. So, it was really special to hopefully bring some joy and fun to someone else’s life.”

“I cannot express how appreciative we are for the support of the PGA TOUR,” said Scott. “It’s an organization that has so many great people, because you can just look at them today and see the good in its players. Something like this will make such a positive difference in the lives of these kids. To be connected with TOUR players from other parts of the world, learn about their cultures and how they became successful is just something that will last with K’iin Beh students on their own journey to become successful.”

In the Mayan language, “K’iin Beh” translates fittingly to “Towards the sun.”

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