Rio’s Course Design Request Draws Big Names
By Stephanie Wei under Architecture

Golf returns to the 2016 Olympics in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, but there’s one tiny problem — the city doesn’t have a course that can host the competition…yet. Organizers are asking architects interested in designing the golf course for the Games to submit proposals by the end of this month, with a winner to be decided by Christmas, according to the AP:

Applicants must have prior course design experience, and the project will have to meet several specifications put in place by organizers and the International Golf Federation.

The committee said Monday that the course will have to leave a legacy to Rio and become “an important tool for youth transformation through sport.” It must also be capable of hosting tests events and competitions after the games.

Some of the sport’s top names have expressed interest in designing the course, including Jack Nicklaus, Arnold Palmer, Greg Norman, Gary Player, Robert Trent Jones Jr. and Nick Faldo.

The proposals will be examined by a jury made up of members of the IGF, the 2016 Olympic committee and the city of Rio.

The committee said the winner will be paid $300,000 for the design.

Any international company bidding for the design must have an office legally established in Rio

Well, that sounds like a democratic way to pick an architect as well as promote business in the city.

The two duos that seem to be the favorites so far are Annika Sorenstam-Jack Nicklaus and Greg Norman-Lorena Ochoa:

Nicklaus and Annika Sorenstam, among those who helped persuade the International Olympic Committee to bring golf back to the Olympics, said in May 2010 they were interested in building the golf course. They offered to do it for free. Norman is working with retired Mexican star Lorena Ochoa.

“Because of how the Olympics are regarded and respected, I see this as a tremendous opportunity to introduce and grow the sport of golf in new and emerging markets,” Nicklaus said Monday. “I would very much like to further that objective by collaborating with Annika on the design of the Olympic venue in Rio.”

So, what happens to the course post-Olympics?

The committee said that after the games, the course will be managed by a “private operator with the chief purpose of promoting golf in Brazil and in South America, representing one of the most important games’ legacies for sport development in the country.”

Hmm…let’s hope it doesn’t get in the wrong hands!