published Monday, April 30th, 2012

Gil Hanse designs at Olympic level

Gil Hanse is learning to handle becoming a super-star in his industry of golf course design.

He's also going to be learning how to speak Portugese this summer from the Rosetta-Stone language learning system with his wife and children.

They'll need it because they're moving to Brazil.

The Hanse golf course design firm landed the most important contract of the modern era in March when it was selected to design the golf course for the 2016 Olympics which will re-introduce golf to the games for the first time since 1904.

"We just to try not to have this change who we are and what we do," said Hanse before the American Society of Golf Course Architects formal dinner on Sunday at the Chattanooga Golf & Country Club. "My goal is to keep us doing what we've done to get to this point."

Hanse and his crew topped firms from seven other finalists including golf legends Jack Nicklaus, Annika Sorenstam, Greg Norman, Gary Player -- who all have a hand in golf course design.

"We've been successful for a reason and we can't deviate from that model or do something different," Hanse said. "We can't let that responsibility deviate us from what we do."

Hanse also has the task of balancing projects including the renovation of Sewanee Golf Club atop Monteagle Mountain.

"We're blowing up all nine hole and re-doing the features, but the routing is the same, and routing was very good," Hanse said. "We've stretched and pulled a few holes so the course will be more challenging and more visually interesting."

Hanse's next biggest challenge is learning to speak a new language.

Building a golf course is his job.

about David Uchiyama...

David Uchiyama is a sports writer at the Chattanooga Times Free Press who began his tenure here in May 2001. His primary beats are UTC athletics — specifically men’s basketball and athletic department administration — and golf, which includes coverage from the PGA Tour to youth events. He also covers other high school sports, outdoor adventures, and contributes to other sections of the newspaper when necessary. David grew up in Salinas, Calif., and began working ...

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