Golf fans go back to the future

Britain's Justin Rose plays out of bunker at Olympics. Picture: David Davies/PA Wire

Britain's Justin Rose plays out of bunker at Olympics. Picture: David Davies/PA Wire

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SCOTTISH golf fans hoping to catch some of the first fairway action at the Olympics in over 100 years could be forgiven for thinking one of the holes looks a little familiar.

A ball has not been hit as part of the games since 1904 but was due to make a long-awaited return after the International Olympic Committee voted to readmit the sport to the lineup for Brazil.

A field of 60 players were due to tee off for the four-day tournament at the purpose built 18 hole ‘Campo Olímpico de Golfe’ just along the coast from Rio de Janeiro.

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American designer Kyle Franz was one of a team of golfers called in by the Rio 2016 organisers to help design the fairways and greens at the Marapendi Natural Reserve.

And in helping craft the course he took inspiration from one of his favourite set-ups - the 13th at the links course at Fraserburgh on the Aberdeenshire coast.

Mr Franz played the north-east course over the winter and enjoyed it so much that he based his design for Brazil’s 369-yard, par 4 ninth hole on the same layout.

Mr Franz said: “I always wanted to build the 13th at Fraserburgh with a slightly softer back stoop- but it had to be more precise.

“Instead of the front mounds being maintained as rough, we made them fairway.

“That was the concept I thought could be incredible - the hope that players could consider bouncing a shot off the mounds to reach pins on the opposite side of the green.

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“Just like the original hole green, our hole in Rio is flanked back left - by a bunker as well.”

Fraserburgh club captain Gerry Chalmers said he was hopeful that the Olympic tie-in might inspire a few players to make the trip to the north-east.

He said: “It’s a great privilege to have one of Fraserburgh Golf Club’s holes replicated on the Olympic course in Rio.

“We hope golfers come visit and see why the original was worth replicating.”

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