Olympic Golf – A preview to the Rio Olympics course – Part 3

The custom built Gil Hasse designed course at the Barra da Tijuca is the spectacular golf stage in the Rio Olympics

Barra da Tijuca Golf Course

Anand Datla

Anirban Lahiri, and SSP Chawrasia will be teeing off this Thursday at the Barra da Tijuca, hunting for some metal. The golf event at the Rio Olympics will be played on a 7128 yard course for men, moderated to 6245 yards for women. The course will play to par at 71 with four par-5 holes – the first, fifth, tenth and the eighteenth. There are five par-3 holes – the third, sixth, eighth, fourteenth and seventeenth.

Gil Hanse designed the course, drawing inspiration from the Castle Stuart in Scotland. The course does not feature any rough or trees. The runoff from the fairway has native grass and sand, which should make it relatively easy for the golfers to deal with. There are 79 bunkers protecting the fairways and greens. There isn’t much water either, with only four holes protected by it.

Here is a quick summary of the course – Hole 13 through Hole 18

Hole 13 – This hole is past the forest, but there is mature vegetation on the either side of the hole. The largest tree on the course is also on the playing line on this hole. Vegetation on both sides means that the tee shot needs to be accurate here to avoid immediate complications. The players will look to play over the tree, on the inside corner of the dogleg right. The green here is the most undulating, the only real form of protection are its many contours.

Hole 14 – The players are bound to reach here breathing heavy, but the longest par-3 on the course marks the end of a tough stretch on the course. There is plenty of sand between the tee and the green is protected by a diagonal run of bunkers to the right of the hole. A ridge at the front of the green can be used as an ally to try and steer clear of the sand.

Hole 15 – The fifteenth is characterized by a bunker in the middle of the fairway. The sand appears slightly right, but there is plenty of space to the right of it. It will be interesting to see if the players just opt to fly short of the bunker and navigate from there instead of pulling out an aggressive drive. The bunker is guaranteed to extract a penalty, so it is important to stay clear.

Hole 16 – After heavy lifting through the 14th and some intelligence at the 15th, the players finally arrive at the last three holes scenting opportunities to get back at the course. The fairway undulations are an interesting aspect on this hole, with a cluster of bunkers down the right. The green is an hourglass that needs careful use of angles.

Hole 17 – After a sigh of relief at the shortest par-4 comes the shortest par-3. At 133 yards, this is a deceptive test of skill. The green has an eccentric, not clearly visible from the tee, so the golfers will have to memorise the placement here. There are bunkers guarding the green on the left, with one of those cutting sharply into the green.

Hole 18 – The 571 yard home hole protected by some native sand as well as a heavily bunkered landing area, making accuracy a great leveler at this hole. The front right of the green rises sharply from a deep valley, reminding golfers of the valley of sin at The Old Course in St Andrews. The green is small with pronounced contours, needing careful planning to finish on a high.

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