I have been in contact with the construction of this golf course since the very beginning as the Construction Superintendet worked with me at Punta Blanca in Dominican Republic. Neil Cleverly from England is maybe the best paspalum grass grower in the world, he knows exactly how to treat it and how it is going to react to every product he puts in the ground. Why I start with this? Because it was rumored that the course was not being taken care and if for some months there was lack of care, it doesn't show it today. The paspalum grass all over the course is healthy and pure, with no weeds and despite the greens been aerified some days before, they rolled perfectly, just a little bit slower than usually as paspalum recover very quickly from this process.
We were staying at the Grand Hyatt close to the course and the very first nice touch was that we were taken to the course by boat! It was a fun 15mins navigation and a 5 minutes walk to the practice range. We were a group of 16 TTOOs being showed Rio de Janiero as a destination and the visit to the Olympic Course was one of the highlights of the trip, it was really worth the wait.
Club House is sort of a modern building, construction in the style of Nordelta in Argentina and kept just simple, it bends perfectly well with the geography and the setting on the course.
One of the good news was that a couple of days before 30 Club Car Precedent carts had arrived what will for sure will give older players a better chance to enjoy the course. It is located near the ocean although there are no views of it, it is a wide open place with almost no trees so in hot days heat can be a real problem for older people and those phisically handicapped.
And it was an extreme windy day, so tough that on 17th I had 119yds to pin, hit a perfect 9 iron and was left 20yds short of the pin with a fried egg lie on the short bunker. It is one of the great holes, a very short par 3 where wind can make it easily a bogey hole.
The only thing I didn't like about ddesign was those 3 consecutive long tough par 4s (11-12-13), playing 11 and 13 in the same direction and 12 180 degrees opposite to it. From the white tees all of them were over 430yds, I feel it won't be funny for 15 handicappers although you can just play for bogey.
Both short drivable par 4s are awesome: 3rd with water on the left plus bunkers and bushes on the right will make you face a tight tee shot while 16 usually playing downwind is maybe easier but that small green similar to 10th at Riviera will for sure give you extra work to get your birdie.
The par 5s play 3 in one direction (downwind for me) 1-5-10 while 18th played totally into the wind and from the back tee would have been extremely difficult.
I found tough 2nd one of the best holes, where the tee shot doesn't solve the problem, second shot to a green protected by bunker on the right and water on the left into the wind was one of the toughest shots I faced.
7th was my favourite on the front 9, a green complex with some of Alister Mackenzie's style with a false front and 430yds into the wind it was fun and one of the best pars of the day.
10th has an extremely tough tee shot as the fairway is quite narrow in the landing area, but once you get there the chances of birdie are high.
This course has a legacy, it was the first one to welcome back golf to Olympic Games and that is a trademark that any other course will have. They have to use this as a strong promotion tool and make golfers from all over the world to go play it. It is worth the game, it is a nice challenge and for those used to play in the wind and fast conditions, it will be familiar.
Think in Rio de Janeiro as a destination, combine it with Buenos Aires to play Jockey Club, Olivos and Buenos Aires GC. You will find one of your best golf holidays ever.
Date: December 01, 2017