For the first time in 112 years, golf will be an Olympic sport in 2016. The last time it was part of this event was in St. Louis in 1904. So to understand what to expect during golf’s re-entry to the Olympic Games, here is our guide to the Rio 2016 Olympic golf course.
This summer will see both men and women compete individually on a new Olympic golf course in Reserva de Marapendi – a coastal nature reserve in Rio which spans some 665 hectares.
This par 71 course has been built on reclaimed swampland and has been designed by renowned golf course architect Gil Hanse. Hanse’s impressive CV also includes renovation work on Donald Trump’s Doral course in Miami and The Country Club in Massachusetts, which will host the 2022 US Open.
Sixty players will complete over 72 holes of stroke play in both the men’s and women’s events in Rio. The total length of the men’s competition is 6522m, and the women’s competition is 5944m long.
Miriam Nagl, a Brazilian professional golfer who lives in Germany, gave her thoughts on the course to the BBC: “I would say it’s equal to a good course like the Doral in Miami. Apart from the bunkers, which have too much sand, I have to say the course is in great shape. It suits a player using mid and long irons to approach the greens. The second shot will matter.”
Construction began on the course in March 2013 and was supposed to be ready by 2014. However, land ownership and environmental issues meant that the project faced a number of delays.
Despite this being golf’s first appearance in the Olympics for over a century, top male golfers such as Jordan Spieth, Rory McIlroy and Jason Day amongst others have declined to play due to the threat caused by the Zika virus. Only one woman has pulled out of the tournament at the time of writing.
As the course is built on swampland near the coast, mosquitoes, which have been largely responsible for spreading the Zika virus, have been seen as a problem and this has been cited as a reason for top golfers pulling out of the event.
After the 2016 Olympic Games, the course will be used as a public facility to help develop golf in Brazil.
If this summer’s golfing bonanza inspires you to spend more time on the course, make sure you take out golf insurance with Golf Care. Get a quote today.