April 2 - Tanedo, the company responsible for managing and funding construction of the Rio 2016 Olympic golf course, have claimed it will completely change the sport in Brazil following the conclusion of the Games.
Rio 2016 will see the return of golf to the Olympics after a 112-year absence and the construction of the venue has now started following several delays, although there remain serious concerns over whether it will be ready in time for the scheduled test event a year before the Games open.
Following the conclusion of Rio 2016, the venue is due to become the city's first official golf course with 18 holes that is open to the public and Tanedo executive director Paulo Goulart claimed it provides the opportunity to create a huge legacy for the sport in Brazil.
"We will introduce a Golf Academy that will be the main tool in offering conditions for the people's first contact with the sport," said Goulart.
"We will offer an unlimited access concerning participants' age and length of play.
"This way, we ensure not only the implementation of an excellent Olympic arena but a prominent leisure option to the city of Rio de Janeiro with a service of exceptional value aimed at being something the general public can also experience.
"It is not restricted to high income segments, which has been the case until now."
The new course is being built on the site at Reserva de Marapendi in Barra da Tijuca, although there was originally debate about whether to host the Rio 2016 Olympic golf tournament in one of Rio's two existing private clubs: Gávea or Itanhangá, which has hosted a European Tour event and a Ladies Professional Golf Association (LPGA) event
However, Goulart feels the two golf courses would not be up to the standard required at the Olympics and added that neither would leave a real legacy to the people of the city as they are private clubs rather than public clubs.
"The golf courses [Gávea and Itanhangá] don't have the technical quality required by competitions of this magnitude," he said.
"They don't have the necessary space for the overlay and temporary buildings and they wouldn't cope with the flow of people, traffic, security systems and the like.
"In the end, they wouldn't leave any legacy to the city because they are private and they also cannot be closed to members for two or three years for renovation."
The construction of the course was due to start in October but it only began last month after delays were caused by a legal dispute over the ownership of the land between Italian developer, Mauro Pasquale, and Elmway Participacoes, who have claimed unsuccessfully that they are the rightful owners.
The course, which was designed by American course architect Gil Hanse - who was chosen for the job just over a year ago - boasts a number of sand and water features, including a large lake surrounded by several holes on the left side of the layout.
The golf course, including a club house, is expected to occupy approximately 45 per cent of the site with the rest being a nature reserve.
It is set to be completed by August 2015 so that a professional tournament can be staged as a test event, although the International Golf Federation (IGF) has warned that the deadlines are tight.
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