I received in the mail today a Christmas card sent annually by Tom Doak at Renaissance Golf Design.
No Santa or wreaths or reindeer on the cover of this year’s card. There’s a picture instead of the famous statue of Christ the Redeemer in Rio de Janeiro. Why? Because Renaissance Golf is one of eight firms competing to design the golf course for the Rio 2016 Olympic Games. “We are busily at work over the holidays this year, trying to design the ideal championship course,” reads the card. “The jury’s decision is expected in February.”
To its credit, the Olympic review committee has come up with eclectic list of finalists for the design commission. In addition to Doak, there’s Gil Hanse, Martin Hawtree, Robert Trent Jones II and Gary Player, plus the design teams of Jack Nicklaus and Annika Sorenstam; Greg Norman and Lorena Ochoa; and Peter Thomson, Ross Perrett and Karrie Webb.
The site for the course is reportedly as flat as the fee–$300,000, small potatoes in the lucrative golf design business. But that hasn’t stopped some of the biggest names in the industry from throwing their hats in the ring.
It’s too soon to handicap a winner, but look for a political insider who knows how to move people as easily as he does earth to secure this coveted plum in the New Year.