My latest Sympatico column, about Gil Hanse and his selection to design the course for the Olympics, is now live:
It is surprising to see how little talk there is of golf courses when it comes to the professional game. Unlike baseball or football, golf’s playing field is always changing, always different every week. A great golf course elevates a championship. After all, what is The Masters without Augusta or the British Open without the Old Course or the U.S. Open without
All of which made the announcement of the designer for the course to be built to hold the 2016 Olympics in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, the first time golf makes an appearance in more than a century, even more significant. And though even the most ardent golf fans likely won’t have recognized the name Gil Hanse, the designer picked for the job, in many ways it suggests something that I didn’t think possible for the Olympics – they looked past politics, power and the names of legendary golf pros and selected the best person for the job.
With that in mind it still seemed incongruous to see Hanse, a Philadelphia architect best known for his passion for classic golf courses, standing in front of a throng of journalists talking about golf architecture last week after the announcement. As unlikely as it was, it was nice to see Hanse, a classy designer noted for his ability to thoughtfully articulate his plans, discussing his vision for what he plans to create in Rio.
“All we are doing is providing a stage for those guys [and girls] to display their talent on,” Hanse said. “If somehow that stage allows there to be a dramatic finish or allows there to be excitement, then that’s a good thing. But I’d much rather people talk about how the competition was carried out.”