Golf hasn't been an Olympic sport since the 1904 Summer Olympics in St. Louis. Golf Digest states Glen Echo Country Club hosted the event in September 1904. George Lyon of Toronto, Canada, won the gold medal.
The 2016 Olympics will bring golf back to the forefront of Olympic competition. An entirely new course will be designed by Gil Hanse. Unfortunately, news out of Rio de Janeiro claims the land for the golf course is facing a legal dispute as of April 20.
Once the area gets designed, here are five things I'd love to see on the brand new course to showcase to the world:
Waterfalls are rare on golf courses. I would love to see Hanse put a multi-level hole involving a waterfall as part of the of the play. Video of the Meadows Farms Golf Course in Fredericksburg, Va., has a green that rests on the top part of a gorgeous waterfall. The water spills into a pool near another hole. A three-dimensional water hazard would be world class at the Olympics.
Homage to Sports
The passion of Brazilian sport revolves around soccer. A gold medal for the Brazilians on their home turf would be unthinkable. Yet a golf course is a great way to pay homage to other sports being played in Rio. Imagine a green that is perfectly round like a soccer ball or volleyball. A bunker can be shaped like a horse for equestrian events. Sand traps can feature multicolored sand to go along with the Olympic flag.
In addition to other sports, designs can feature things native to Brazil. Think of a green shaped like a Brazil nut or a tropical frog. Bunkers can be shaped like native birds, wildcats and trees. Designing the greenery of the course can also revolve around Brazilian species of flora that thrive in the host country. Having live animals like parrots and toucans would be a great touch.
Glen Echo Course
The original Glen Echo course was extremely modern for its day. It included a lighted 9-hole putting course. Putting and long drive contests were held. The course was very basic by modern standards yet had mature trees, water hazards and a meandering creek. Glen Echo is the oldest golf course west of the Mississippi and deserves at least one hole in the design of the Olympic course.
The golf course should have green and sustainable practices. In addition, there should be several innovations that show off the sport. Automated golf ball dispensers, automated tee systems, and huge jumbotron scoreboards can all be a part of the modern Olympic golf experience. The design of the course will wow golfers and leave fans of the game wanting more of the same at their home courses.
Now is the time to bring golf into the 21st century while at the same time honoring the time-honored tradition.
William Browning has covered sports for the Yahoo! Contributor Network including golf and local golf courses in southwest Missouri. He currently resides in Branson, Mo.