Rio Olympic golf course based on Scottish links

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BRAZIL’S brand new Olympic 2016 golf course has been modelled on one of Scotland’s most renowned links.

Castle Stuart Golf Links near Inverness has already achieved worldwide acclaim and hosted three Scottish Opens since opening in 2009.

But now the award-winning designer responsible for the course has revealed that he used Highland course as a model when designing the brand new Rio de Janeiro course.

Located on the outskirts of Rio’s Olympic Village the new par 71 course has no rough and fairways lead into native Brazilian sand.

A plan of the Rio course
A plan of the Rio course

High bunkers similar to those at Castle Stuart have been created to deal with issues that both Brazil and Scotland have in common.

And wide playing corridors for the tee shot and short grass recovery shots with humps and hollows have also been added to “keep golfers engaged”.

The new course marks a significant year for golfing as the sport returns to the Olympics for the first time in 112 years.

Course designer Gil Hanse said: “The wide fairways are a comparable feature and the bunkering in Rio is very dramatic and innovative, I feel the same way about the bunker work at Castle Stuart.

Castle Stuart Golf Links near Inverness has already achieved worldwide acclaim and hosted three Scottish Opens since opening in 2009
Castle Stuart Golf Links near Inverness has already achieved worldwide acclaim and hosted three Scottish Opens since opening in 2009

“We worked very hard on the pace and flow of the routing in Rio, which was very much the philosophy at Castle Stuart where the routing also has a very natural flow to it, from low to high, from coast to bluff, and back again.”

The new Rio course is a brand new venue for this year’s Olympics built with the area’s Marapendi Nature Reserve.

But Hanse said that wind unpredictability provides a major challenge to golfers on both courses.

He added: “We witnessed this at the Scottish Open, where the scoring average fluctuated dramatically depending on the wind conditions. I believe the same will be true in Rio.

“The lack of rough will allow balls to move faster towards these areas which provide a more difficult challenge to the players.

“The bunker work really stands out as the most dramatic feature on the course, our team worked hard to create a look and feel like the bunkering at Castle Stuart, it paints a picture of golf we are very proud of.”

“We believe this style and design has worked at Castle Stuart and has been a great model for us on the Olympic course.”

Hanse is now looking forward to what this year’s Olympics will bring for the golfing community.

Hanse said: “We always hope we get a great champion on our courses – that certainly held true the last time the Scottish Open was held at Castle Stuart in 2013, with Phil Mickelson winning and going on to lift the Claret Jug the next week.”

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