Gil Hanse launches tee shot 
Video: Architect Gil Hanse on Olympics golf course

By Joe Logan
Published April 28, 2013

Malvern-based Gil Hanse is one of the best and busiest golf course architects in the business.  These days, Hanse is temporarily living Rio de Janeiro, where he is designing the golf course for the 2016 Olympics.


To win the contract, Hanse beat out a handful of the most successful and celebrated architects in the world, including Gary Player, Greg Norman, Jack Nicklaus and Tom Doak.


Hanse will be the first one to tell you that much of his sales pitch to potential clients is his "hands-on" approach.  When you hire Hanse, you get Hanse on a bulldozer, not an architect who turns most of the work over to underlings, then jets in on occasional to check on the project.  In the case of the Olympics course, Hanse promised to move to Rio to personally oversee construction.


Ground-breaking on the project was delayed for months while the course’s developer sought to get permits to work in environmentally protected areas.  For a time, there was also considerable debate about who had the rights to develop the parcel where the course is being built.   For Hanse, much of that has been inconvenient background noise, as we went about turning his vision into a reality.


I was lucky enough to play a round of golf with Hanse on Saturday at the GC at Glen Mills, an annual rite of spring for us.  He was back home to prepare for a presentation at Winged Foot on Sunday, before flying to Scotland on Monday to give a speech to the R&A.


Joining us for our round were golf writer Jeff Silverman, Dr. Eric Stake and, accompanying us sans golf clubs, Tom Paul, a friend of Hanse’s and a golf course design aficionado.   When traffic backed up on one tee, I grabbed my video camera and put a few questions to Hanse about the Olympics project.


Background stories here, here, here and here:


Here’s the video:










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