When golf returns to the Olympic Games in 2016, the competitors will be playing for a gold medal on a new course designed specifically for the Olympics in Rio de Janeiro. Rio 2016, the organizing committee, will host presentations by the eight finalists this week before selecting the winning design on Friday. The course is to be built at Barra da Tijuca, on the southwestern outskirts of Rio de Janeiro.
Here is a quick overview of the eight finalists, one of whom will design the course that will host the first golf competition in the Olympics since 1904.
Hanse Golf Course Design
Gil Hanse is not widely known, but architecture cognoscenti have been raving about his original designs and faithful restorations for years. His Pennsylvania-based firm designed the 16,000-square-foot Pynes Putting Course located behind the USGA Museum.
USGA championship courses: The Los Angeles Country Club (restoration), 2017 Walker Cup
Tournament courses: Castle Stuart Golf Links, TPC Boston (redesign)
Taking over a firm founded by his grandfather in 1912, Martin Hawtree has worked with The R&A to tweak several recent British Open venues.
British Open courses: Carnoustie Golf Links (redesign), Muirfield (redesign), Royal Birkdale Golf Club (redesign), Royal Liverpool Golf Club (redesign)
Robert Trent Jones II with Mario Gonzalez
The firm led by Robert Trent Jones Jr. has an extensive international portfolio, with courses in 39 countries. Jones has teamed with Mario Gonzalez, a retired Brazilian professional golfer, for their Olympics design bid.
USGA championship courses: CordeValle, 2013 USGA Senior Women’s Amateur; Chambers Bay, 2010 U.S. Amateur, 2015 U.S. Open
Tournament courses: Celtic Manor Resort, Rock Barn Golf & Spa
Nicklaus Design with Annika Sorenstam
Two of the greatest champions in golf history have teamed up for a bid. Annika Sorenstam is the latest design collaborator for Jack Nicklaus, who has partnered with Pete Dye, Arnold Palmer and Tom Doak in addition to designing more than 300 courses on his own.
USGA championship courses: Muirfield Village Golf Club, 1992 U.S. Amateur; Sebonack Golf Club (with Renaissance Golf Design), 2013 U.S. Women’s Open
Tournament courses: Harbour Town Golf Links, PGA West
Greg Norman Golf Course Design with Lorena Ochoa
A pair of superstars – Greg Norman of Australia and Mexico’s Lorena Ochoa – provide plenty of international appeal. The recently retired Ochoa is just getting into the design business, while Norman has dozens of design credits around the world.
Tournament courses: El Cameleon, Jumeirah Golf Estates, TPC San Antonio
Gary Player Design
A native of South Africa, Gary Player was golf’s first truly international player, winning 165 tournaments around the world. As an architect, Player has been just as much a globetrotter, with more than 300 design credits on five continents.
Tournament courses: Links at Fancourt, TPC Jasna Polana
Renaissance Golf Design
Tom Doak’s firm is renowned for shaping strategic, natural-looking courses from rugged sites. Prior to becoming an architect, Doak spent a year in Scotland and England, studying the great courses in those countries.
USGA championship courses: Old Macdonald Golf Links, 2011 U.S. Amateur Public Links and 2011 U.S. Women’s Amateur Public Links; Pacific Dunes, 2006 Curtis Cup; Sebonack Golf Club (with Nicklaus Design), 2013 U.S. Women’s Open
Thomson Perrett Golf Course Architects with Karrie Webb
Following an impressive playing career, five-time British Open champion Peter Thomson has added to his legacy, with dozens of design credits around the world. For the Olympics bid, Thomson has collaborated with fellow Australian Karrie Webb, a two-time winner of the U.S. Women’s Open.
Tournament courses: Moonah Links, The Royal Sydney Golf Club