Gil Hanse Golf Course Design was the surprise selection to design the golf course for the 2016 Olympics to be held in Brazil, besting submissions from Jack Nicklaus, Greg Norman, Gary Player and his former boss, Tom Doak.
The Rio 2016™ Organising Committee for the Olympic and Paralympic Games has selected US based Hanse Golf Course Design to design the golf course in Rio de Janeiro for the Olympic Games in 2016, when golf returns to the programme after an absence of 112 years.
Hanse Golf Course Design was selected from eight finalists as the candidate that most aptly met the selection criteria that were issued by Rio 2016™. The proposal was cited for its design characteristics, including accentuation of the natural dune formations and retention of the natural contours of the land.
The design effectively addresses the planning of temporary overlay structures and internal flow systems for the venue and contains a strong legacy component with the prioritising of a golf academy as an essential tool for the development of golf in Brazil. The design also considers the location of permanent buildings and the experience of players and spectators.
Hanse Golf Course Design has teamed up with LPGA and World Golf Hall of Fame member, Amy Alcott, for the project. Alcott amassed 29 professional victories on the LPGA Tour including five major championship victories. They will work closely with environmental and sustainability engineering firms in the final design process and advocate the use of native vegetation and a minimum of land movement. Hanse has committed to relocating to Rio while the golf course is under construction.
In 2009, Hanse was elected “Architect of the Year” by Golf Magazine, and in the same year his Castle Stuart golf course in Scotland was considered to be “the Best New International Course.”
To take part in the selection process, companies were required to provide evidence of golf course design experience, compliant with Rio 2016™ international rules and to furnish proof of the qualifications necessary to develop the project.
The eight contest finalists included: Gary Player Design, Greg Norman Golf Course Design, Hanse Golf Course Design, Hawtree Ltd., Nicklaus Design, Renaissance Golf Design, Robert Trent Jones II and Thomson Perrett.
Candidates’ proposals were examined by a selection panel formed by Peter Dawson, President of the International Golf Federation; Carlos Arthur Nuzman, President of Rio 2016™; Augusto Ivan, Adviser to the President of the Municipal Olympic Company; and Arminio Fraga, member of the Rio 2016™ Golf Advisory Committee.
The golf course will be built at Reserva de Marapendi in Barra da Tijuca, the district that will contain the largest number of Rio 2016™ Olympic Games venues. It will be a unique Olympic Games venue, located approximately five kilometres from the Athletes’ Village and seven kilometres from the Main Press Centre (MPC) and the International Broadcast Centre (IBC), South of Avenida das Americas and North of Lagoa de Marapendi. After the 2016 Olympic Games, the course will be used as a public facility with the chief purpose of promoting golf in Brazil and the globe, representing one of the most important Olympic Games legacies for sport development in the country.