A luxurious way of life for wealthy Venezuelan golfers is under threat, with President Hugo Chavez deriding the game as lazy, bourgeois and the antithesis of his Bolivarian Revolution.

Chavez launched his attack on the sport on his weekly TV show, "Hello Mr. President," branding players selfish elitists who annexed acres of prime land while the poor suffered in slums.

"Golf is a bourgeois sport," he spat, citing the use of golf carts as evidence of the laziness of the "little Yankees."

Officials have moved to seize two of Venezuela's prime courses, at Caraballeda and Maracay. However, the move has divided Chavez's local supporters, with many warning of a detrimental impact on surrounding communities.

Gian Carlos Perez, the manager of the Caraballeda course, said the club had the support of the area's communal councils — set up by Chavez.

"They agree it should not be expropriated because it is a very important source of work and supports tourism," he told the Times of London.

The expropriations would bring to nine the number of courses closed in the past three years — part of a drive to eradicate activities deemed contrary to the principles of Chavez's socialist revolution.

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