She’ll belong to the swamps and jungles again soon, my friend. It’s only a matter of time. The heralded return of Olympic golf this summer, came with a plum job for one lucky designer and his team: craft a new championship caliber course out of Rio de Janiero’s swampy exurbs.
The course is now on the brink of going belly up. All of four months removed from hosting the games. Did anyone expect anything less from the most corrupt and wasteful sports organization on earth, the IOC? And poor Brazil. The people didn’t want this thing. Nobody plays golf. Nobody can afford it.
But they were forced to buy it, and now it’s heading back to it’s original state. Minus the $19 million it cost to build it. Pity. This AFP article has enough chortle-inducing quotes to spill a gallon of milk through your nose. They say they can get another management company to run it, even though they haven’t paid the current one for more than two months! They say this was the plan all along, to execute a “soft opening” until all the plans come to fruition! We’ll have a restaurant, soon! Just give us…. uh… four months! Marketing!
All of the highest profile golf course designers wanted the job badly. Somehow, the little guy Gil Hanse got the gig. He even moved his family to Brazil for several years while he oversaw the construction process. A process that was delayed with headaches, environmental lawsuits, and run of the mill Brazilian dysfunction.
I watched an entire Golf Channel special on the whole bid process! I am such a LOSER! But it was fascinating, if not a bit pathetic. Here were likes of Jack Nicklaus, Gary Player, Greg Norman and others all just BEGGING the IOC for the gig. And yeah, I know that times are rough in the golf course design and construction biz. The US is shedding more layouts now every year, than building new ones. And it’s a necessary market correction to the ill-advised boom of the early 2000’s. (The Tiger Woods over-reaction!)
So Gil Hanse got the gig, he built the course, it didn’t suck, he got paid, and he’ll always be able to SAY he built the first Olympic golf course in over 100 years!
So what if he won’t be able to play it ever again? Right? Not his monkey, not his circus. Right? He’s designed many other layouts, will get more work because of this assignment, and maybe didn’t even like this one very much in the first place.
“We are bitterly disappointed if this is the outcome for all of our efforts in creating the Olympic Course,” Gil Hanse, architect of the Rio Olympic Course, said to Golf World. “We witnessed this type of brinksmanship during the construction of the course, and we are hopeful that this is another example of having to hit a low point before things get better.”
Yeah, sure Gil. Believe what you like.
If I designed the place, and dragged my family down there for 3 years, I’d be pretty pissed that it’s likely to not last a year. I would feel like I wasted my time and efforts. I would not want to be associated with an abject failure. I would not want to be part of such utter waste. A black eye for the game.
At least I THINK I would feel that way. Unless even the seemingly super-nice, soft-spoken designers like Hanse are cold-eyed realists once the bulldozers stop rolling. Get paid. Booyah!
“So you want me to build you a golf course, with government money, that is going to go to seed in less than a year? Alrighty. How ‘bout we start with a gentle dogleg right…. then maybe a par-3.”