Olympic Preview: The Olympic Golf Course

The newly-created Olympic Golf Course, Barra da Tijuca, in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil will host golf's return to the Olympic Games, beginning August 11.

Released on 8/2/2016

Credits

Director of Photography: Christian Iooss
Producer: Ben Walton

Transcript

00:00
(serene piano music)
00:12
I was blown away by the golf course.
00:15
Both by how it looks
00:16
and by what went into making it look the way it does.
00:20
Just on its own merits,
00:21
it's a beautiful piece of land.
00:23
It's a beautiful design with a lot of clever touches,
00:27
but the superintendent also had to hire workers
00:30
and train them from scratch to build this place,
00:33
and when you think about what was there,
00:35
you know, this was a dump site essentially.
00:37
You had tires and rebar and alligators
00:40
that were all over the property.
00:42
They built this amazing place
00:44
with labor they trained from nothing.
00:46
It's a fascinating, a fascinating place
00:49
and I think it's gonna look great on TV.
00:52
When I went out on the course,
00:53
it just looked fantastic (laughs).
00:57
It looked like as well groomed
01:00
and well maintained a golf course as you can imagine,
01:03
I mean, the bunker faces are just like razor cut,
01:07
and just one of the most gorgeous things I've ever seen.
01:11
The process to select the Olympic course architect
01:14
was a closed door process.
01:16
Golf Digest architecture editor Ron Whitten
01:19
did a lot of dogged reporting talking to every source
01:22
and checking it over and over again
01:24
to find out the real story
01:26
of how Gil Hanse was selected,
01:28
and what really emerges is that
01:30
he was kind of a compromise pick between the judges.
01:34
Gil's just a very good architect
01:35
who the players will, I think, end up
01:38
appreciating the course, speak highly of it.
01:41
The quality of the play will be reflected
01:43
because it will test the best players
01:45
and reward the best players.
01:46
Neil Cleverly is the only man who can claim
01:49
the title of Superintendent Olympic Golf Course.
01:53
He had an impossible task of taking
01:57
a hundred acres and turning Gil Hanse's design
02:02
into a world class golf course.
02:05
In addition to just the challenges with labor,
02:08
land, terrible sand,
02:11
everything, they also had to deal with protesters
02:13
on an almost constant basis
02:16
during the first few months of construction.
02:17
So, it's a triumph that this thing got built.
02:21
The Olympic golf course,
02:22
I think is gonna be a big success.
02:23
It might be sort of the sleeper element
02:26
in why the Olympics
02:29
will end up welcoming golf.
02:31
(triumphant music)
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