Activities Sports & Athletics The Olympic Golf Course in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil Meet the Course Built for the 2016 Summer Olympics Share PINTEREST Email Print An aerial view of the Olympic Golf Course and its surroundings in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. Matthew Stockman/Getty Images Sports & Athletics Golf Golf Courses Basics History Gear Famous Golfers Golf Tournaments Baseball Basketball Bicycling Billiards Bodybuilding Bowling Boxing Car Racing Cheerleading Cricket Extreme Sports Football Gymnastics Ice Hockey Martial Arts Professional Wrestling Skateboarding Skating Paintball Soccer Swimming & Diving Table Tennis Tennis Track & Field Volleyball Other Activities Learn More By Brent Kelley Brent Kelley is an award-winning sports journalist and golf expert with over 30 years in print and online journalism. our editorial process Brent Kelley Updated August 29, 2018 In the years leading up to 2016, Rio de Janeiro was awarded the 2016 Summer Olympics, and those Olympic Games were chosen as the occasion of golf's return to the Olympics following a more-than-100-year absence. One problem: There was only one golf course in Rio and it wasn't considered suitable for pro golfers. So the Rio Olympic Organizing Committee built a new golf course. That's the Olympic Golf Course. 01 of 07 Official Name of the Olympic Golf Course A general view of the first hole on the Olympic Golf Course in Rio. Matthew Stockman/Getty Images Early on, there were some references to the course under the name of "Reserva Marapendi Golf Course," after its location. Presumably, someone quickly decided that having "Olympic" in the name was a good idea, and it has been called "Olympic Golf Course" ever since. 02 of 07 Where It's Located Hole No. 3 at Olympic Golf Course includes deep bunkers and sandy waste areas, as well as thick vegetation framing the hole. Matthew Stockman/Getty Images The Olympic Golf Course is located in a part of Rio de Janeiro known as the Barra da Tijuca zone. That zone is west of some of Rio's most famous areas, such as Copacabana and Ipanema. The golf course is within the Reserva de Marapendi, a nature reserve, and built next to the Marapendi Lagoon. The lagoon and a narrow strip of land on its other side separate the golf course from the South Atlantic Ocean. The course is approximately 22 miles from the Rio airport. 03 of 07 Designer of the Olympic Golf Course The Olympic Golf Course during the Rio Test Event prior to the 2016 Summer Games. Buda Mendes/Getty Images When golf's return to the Olympics was announced, the Rio Olympic Organizing Committee set up a bid process for companies wanting to design and build the Olympic Golf Course. The golf course design company chosen was United States-based Gil Hanse Golf Course Design. The firm's namesake, Hanse, along with design consultant (and World Golf Hall of Fame member) Amy Alcott, was the chief architect.Gil Hanse Golf Course Design is based in Pennsylvania and was founded in 1993. Hanse was named golf's "Architect of the Year" in 2009 by Golf Magazine. Some of Hanse's other, best-known designs include Rustic Canyon Golf Course in California, The Vineyard Club on Martha's Vineyard in Massachusetts, and Castle Stuart Golf Links in Inverness, Scotland. Hanse was also in charge of renovations of the Blue Monster course at Doral and of TPC Boston. Hanse and his company were selected in early 2012 after a bid process in which most major golf course architects around the world participated. 04 of 07 The Golf Course's Look and Feel The 9th hole on the Olympic Golf Course in Rio. Matthew Stockman/Getty Images Construction on the Olympic Golf Course was completed in January 2015, and at that time Golfweek magazine wrote that it "has a wide-open, linksy feel to it."Built on wetlands next to a lagoon and the ocean, it reminds some of a sandbelt course.The course is very open with no trees in the playing corridors, and water views on many holes. It has wide fairways and winds off the Atlantic should provide its best defenses. Some holes are also bounded by thick vegetation and gorse-like bushes. Former head of the European Tour Peter Dawson has compared the Olympic Course's playing characteristics to those of St. Andrews' Old Course - assuming the course, still very close to brand new, firms up in time for the 2016 Summer Games.Ian Baker-Finch described the course this way: "It has a little links style, an open look to the course, some wetlands and lovely-looking bunkering." 05 of 07 Olympic Golf Course Par and Yards This giant bunker is on Hole No. 3 of the Olympic Golf Course. Matthew Stockman/Getty Images For the 2016 Summer Olympics, Rio's Olympic Golf Course sported a par of 71. For the men, the course played 7,132 yards, and for the women it was set up at 6,500 yards. But at its longest, the course can play 7,350 yards. 06 of 07 Tournaments at the Olympic Golf Course The 16th hole of the Olympic Golf Course in Rio. Matthew Stockman/Getty Images Did the Olympic Golf Course host any golf tournaments prior to its Olympic debut?Sort of. In March 2016 the Aquece Rio Golf Challenge—what was commonly referred to as the "Rio test event"—was played on the Olympic Golf Course.Nine Brazilian golfers (four women and five men) played the 1-day exhibition. The lowest score by any of the men was 68; the lowest by any of the women 67. Then, of course, came the Olympic Games themselves. In the men's tournaments, the medalists were Justin Rose (gold), Henrik Stenson (silver) and Matt Kuchar (bronze). In the women's tournament, the medalists were Inbee Park (gold), Lydia Ko (bronze) and Shanshan Feng (bronze). No pro tour events have returned to the Olympic Golf Course since 2016. 07 of 07 What Happened to the Course Following the Olympics? Looking up the 18th hole of the Olympic Golf Course a few months prior to the 2016 Olympics, construction projects behind. Matthew Stockman/Getty Images The 2016 Paralympic Games immediately followed the 2016 Summer Olympics, and the golf course was the site of a tournament for the Paralympics, too.And after that, the golf course was opened to the public. It remains open to the public today (and developers gave city officials a pledge to leave it open to the public for at least 20 years), but is rarely played: There are only an estimated 1,500 golfers in Rio, a city of six million people.