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The Rio 2016 Olympic Golf Course in Barra da Tijuca is looking greener every day. With 59% of construction now completed, grass has been sown on five of the eighteen holes, with irrigation reaching more than two-thirds of the course.
“After this stage comes the ‘bedding-in’ period, during which we monitor the growth of this 'live' process. As soon as it is planted, the grass needs to be watered, then we have to manually control weeds and regularly cut the grass to make sure that it grows evenly over the whole course,” said Gustavo Nascimento, General Manager of the Brazilian Olympic Committee’s Venue Management Planning department.
The grass is expected to take around eleven months to grow, and, as Nascimento explains, the species that was selected had to be very region-specific, based on a number of variables.
“The grass we chose needed to meet the demands of the sport and the specific intricacies of the location. The course sits on top of sandy earth and the soil is highly permeable, so we had to choose a species that was well-adapted to this type of soil. The coastal vegetation is highly sensitive and, since the course is situated inside a nature reserve, we needed to choose a turf that requires little fertilizer but that is also highly resistant,” he said.
The irrigation system covers 400,000 square metres of sandy ground and is one of the most modern in the world, with all of the pumps, pipes and 3,000 sprinklers imported from the United States.
Construction of the course, expected to be among the biggest legacies from the Rio 2016 Games, began in April 2013. Following the competition it will become the first public golf course in the city, helping to popularise a sport that returns to the Olympic Programme after a 112-year absence.
“Over the next two months we will finish the maintenance facilities and begin building the clubhouse to ensure the finished course will be ready for handover at the end of September 2015,” said Alexandre Techima, the Rio 2016 Olympic Committee’s Director of Infrastructure Integration.