Hanse selected to design course for Rio Olympics, beating out big names

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PGA.com news services

Series: Industry News

The Rio 2016 Organising Committee for the Olympic and Paralympic Games has selected U.S.-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 program 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 prioritizing 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.

Gilbert S. Hanse, 48, the founder and president, boasts a portfolio of internationally renowned courses recognized by elite and amateur golfers alike.

“As it marks the return of golf to the Olympic Games after over a century of absence, this course represents the beginning of a new chapter in the history of the sport. It will enable Rio to host important events in the international calendar and it will be an example of sustainability and preservation of an environmentally protected area,” said Rio 2016 President Carlos Arthur Nuzman. “This course will be an excellent facility for the practice and development of golf and will inspire millions of youth across Brazil and the globe. We look forward to welcoming the athletes and spectators to the course in 2016.”

Peter Dawson, President of the International Golf Federation, said, “The IGF would like to thank all of the architects who worked so hard on their bids and whose presentations demonstrated great vision.  The selection process adopted by Rio 2016 was extremely thorough and reflected the importance of the project. I am delighted Hanse Golf Course Design has been appointed to design the Olympic golf course which promises to provide an outstanding venue for the Games and a tremendous legacy for our sport in Brazil.”

Hanse Golf Course Design tackled the challenge of designing a course for use by both elite and amateur athletes; one of the main legacy objectives. It addressed the environmental sustainability directives for the Games and efficiently conformed to the building restrictions on the land. Hanse Golf Course Design also effectively integrated native vegetation to the design, reducing the areas where frequent maintenance will be required.

Hanse Golf Course Design was formed in 1993 by Gil Hanse and joined in 1995 by his partner and Vice-President, Jim Wagner. With headquarters in Malvern, Pa., the firm has dedicated its professional practice to the hands-on creation and restoration of some of the finest golf facilities in the world by creating golf courses which are fun and interesting to both professional and recreational golfers.

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.