Olgiata Golf Club in northern Rome – host venue for last week’s Roma Golf Open on the European Challenge Tour – has been selected by the Italian National Olympic Committee (CONI) to host the 2020 Olympic Games golf tournament, should the country’s capital win its bid to host the summer Games in nine years’ time.
While the host city for 2020 will not be selected until September 2013, the Members and Officials of the Olgiata Golf Club have almost completed a €1 million redesign project that will ensure the best possible venue for the Olympic tournament.
Redesigned by the famous architect Tom Fazio and his family business, a total of 15 holes have been altered at Olgiata Golf Club, with complete re-turfing of every fairway and green to allow the course to be presented in the best possible condition ahead of the International Olympic Committee’s (IOC) decision on which city will host the 2020 Games.
“If the Olympics comes to Rome then Olgiata will be the venue for golf,” said Club President Andrea Pischiatta. “It has been a long process for us, but as soon as we knew Rome was bidding to host the Games in 2020, we made that our target.
“We believe Rome has a good chance of winning the bid, because 80 per cent of the venues required to stage the Olympic Games are already here – including the golf course here at Olgiata.
“To have 80 per cent of venues already in place is a big advantage with the IOC. If you look at Rio in 2016, they have had to start building almost every venue from the beginning, and we hope that the Committee will see that Rome is fantastic venue for the Games.
“We have changed 15 holes here and everything will be completed by next year. Tom Fazio has been here to oversee the redesign, and we have also had many of his family members working in the course. They are an Italian family, originally from Sicily, and we have a very good relationship with them.
“Their expertise is outstanding and the redesign work, the shaping of the new layout and re-turfing of the course are of the highest quality. If Rome wins the 2020 bid and we can prepare the required infrastructure around the club – updating roads, parking etc. – we believe that Olgiata will be an excellent venue for the Olympics.”
Eventual champion Sam Little of England was fulsome in his praise of the condition of the greens, whilst the man he pipped to the title, Sweden’s Pelle Edberg, was equally effusive about the design changes which have been made to the layout.
Edberg said: “The golf course here is excellent. I’ve been coming out to Rome for quite a few years, as we used to have training camps with the Swedish national team here. The changes that they’ve made to the course are absolutely outstanding, and when the new course is finished and all the changes have taken effect, it will definitely be one of the very best courses in the whole of Italy.”
Hosting international tournaments such as the Roma Golf Open will do Olgiata no harm. The Club, some 15 miles north of the Eternal City, is one of the Challenge Tour’s very best venues with a forward-thinking Membership who appreciate the need to show the world that they can host as prestigious an event as the Olympic Games.
“Hosting tournaments such as the Roma Golf Open help us show that we can handle big competitions. The administration of Rome and the region of Lazio, where we are located, want to host as many international competitions as they can in all sports because it shows the IOC that we can host big events. This is very important for us.
“The Rome administration is also trying to improve sports tourism in the region, and we want to show that there are other points of interest to the city and surrounding areas – not just the architectural, cultural and religious side of things that people naturally associate the city with.
“We have spent around €1 million on the redesign and that money has come from the club, from the Members. They were very happy to make the changes that we needed to, and it is a very exciting time for us. To have the Olympic Games coming to Olgiata would be fantastic for everyone involved in the Club.”