The Mexican architect Agustin Piza commissions modernization and resumes original tracing the layout of the Itanhanga Golf Club.

Maintaining a golf course

Maintaining a golf course is hard, specific and a daily work. Such as running a business and with great difficulty, depending on nature and its adversities. The management must be professional so that the golf course and its 9, 18 or 27 holes are always perfect and ready to use. Therefore to manage the jobs of a complete renovation of an entire turn and closing nine holes for months. This was the biggest challenge this year at Itanhanga Golf Course in Rio de Janeiro. The club, founded on May 16, 1933, has just turned 85, is one of the oldest in Brazil. Occupying more than a million square feet, its first nine holes were completed in July 1935, designed and built by Stanley Thompson from Canada. Today the Itanhanga golf course has 27 holes, 18 on the main course, and a beautiful drive range. As well as polo fields, tennis courts, swimming pools, a restaurant and six bars.

Mexican architect Agustin Piza

For the general reform in the second nine holes of the 18 holes Championship golf course, the board hired the Mexican architect Agustin Piza. He is the only Latin American member of the European Institute of Architects of Golf Courses. Piza is working more than 17 years of design and development of golf courses in the USA, Europe, and Latin America. He always concerns environmental in his projects. Because of this, he has been chosen among the “25 most sustainable architects” in the world by Green Planet Architects.

Speaking to Golf & Tourism, Piza said that, at the end of the works, Itanhanga will be a modern golf course. The members and golfers will be immensely proud of their course. “In some holes, it was a small change, in others a medium modification and in others a total transformation,” he said.

Some holes have altered orders

Some holes have had their orders altered, precisely from holes 11 through 16. Stalls and greens have been modified to help new golfers and also be challenging for the more experienced. The most curious thing is that the new circuit, with the modernization, carried out, brought back the original layout designed by Stanley Thompson. The greens took special care of the team of Pro Golf, the company responsible for the works, led by Antonio Carlos Miranda. He also made the Olympic Golf Course in Rio de Janeiro. They will be PGA greens, as in the best golf courses in the world.

Piza also says that his philosophy is to respect nature. Because the science of designing a golf course is the balance between the challenges of the game and nature. He says, “The holes have to be a functional work of art”. For the revitalization of Itanhanga, there was a respect for the integration and beauty of the region with little movement of the land. Hole 18, the signature hole of the course is very challenging for the waters on the way, will remain difficult, but fair, according to Piza.

The Itanhanga golf course inauguration will be in October or November

The works of the Itanhanga golf course began in January and are ready by the end of June. Then the grass takes 90 days to grow. The inauguration is scheduled for October or November. Because the club decided to change fairways to Zoyzia Zeon and greens will be the Tif Eagle, said Antonio Lins. Lins is the head coach of the Itanhanga Golf Club. “The changes have been many, especially in the greens and in the stands. The biggest change was in the old hole 11, now the 13, which went from par 5 to par 4, “adds Lins.

For the Mexican architect, the course will be more modern and more interesting for the game and also more beautiful. “I like to think that the beauty of the golf course will be for the eyes of everyone. Because sometimes the girlfriend has to go there and enjoy the countryside, the sunset, the mountains around the Itanhanga Golf Club, and smile like a golfer.”

Original in Portuguese from the Brazilian golf magazine Golf & Turismo, edition August 2018.