Don’t believe everything you read. That’s what golf course architect Gil Hanse says regarding the Olympic golf course in Rio he designed for the sport’s return to the 2016 Games.
In an interview with GOLF Magazine’s Joe Passov, Hanse set the record straight when it comes to the conflicting reports on the current condition of the course.
“I’m hearing good things from locals,” Hanse said. “Back in March, one of the international news agencies put out something about the state of the Rio facilities—the terrible state the pools are in, the Olympic Park with a chain link fence around it. And they ran an aerial photo of the ‘degraded’ Olympic golf course. I looked at it and I’m like, ‘You can see the mower stripes on the greens. You can see all the bunkers are raked. You can see the fairways are mowed. How is that degraded?’ It was definitely a fake news story. Very frustrating.”
Hanse’s account was recently supported, too, as Rex Hoggard reported on Aug. 21 for Golfchannel.com that the course has a unique ability to “defy the odds.”
“The visions of an Olympic course that was going to be overgrown and left to waste didn’t occur,” Mark Lawrie, the R&A’s director for Latin America and the Caribbean, told Hoggard. “There seems to be a genuine desire to create white elephants when the Olympics are over.”
According to Hoggard’s article, the Olympic course averages about 700 rounds a month and hopes to double that number by the end of the year. Tourists make up about 15% of play.
Passov’s entire interview can be found in the October 2017 edition of GOLF Magazine.