The organising committee for the 2016 Olympic Games in Rio de Janeiro today announced that all necessary permits have been issued in order for construction work to finally begin on the golf course, putting an end to months of debate over the sport's involvement at the games.
Rio 2016 had come in for scrutiny because work on the course at Reserva de Marapendi had been repeatedly delayed, to the growing frustration of the International Golf Federation and course designer Gil Hanse, who was appointed last year.
Carlos Nuzman, president of Rio 2016, said today: "We are very pleased to take another important step forward in the golf course project. We will continue to work very closely with course designer Gil Hanse and the International Golf Federation to ensure we deliver an excellent course for the world’s finest golfers to enjoy at the 2016 games."
Following the Olympics, the course will become the first publicly-accessible golf course in the city.
The course was due to break ground in October, but was delayed because of a dispute regarding ownership of the land. That was seemingly resolved in March, when clearing work at the Reserva de Marapendi site started after the necessary permit for the removal of the non-native vegetation was issued by the city.
But Hanse and his team have had to wait for the final paper work to be rubber-stamped before actual construction work could begin.
Private company Tanedo will be responsible for the construction.
Leonardo Gryner, the organising committee’s chief operating officer, told Sportcal last month that there had been three issues that had held up the golf project: legislation needed to build a course in Barra da Tijuca’s Reserva de Marapendi, a natural park and reserve; the granting of two environmental licences; and a land dispute.
Rio 2016 remains confident that construction of the golf course will completed by April 2014, which is essential as it can take two years for the vegetation and grass to mature.
It is planning to run two test events at the course, and, although the final dates have not been fixed, these are expected to take place in the first half and the second half of 2015.
Golf is returning to the Olympics in 2016 for the first time since the 1904 Games in the US city of St Louis.