Despite national recognition, and being one of the oldest sports around, golf has also failed to receive the national recognition it deserves – at least that’s what enthusiasts have been saying for decades. And despite being a popular pastime across the globe, the sport has been absent from the Olympic games for the past 108 years. This upcoming summer games, however, golf will once again be introduced into the tradition that comes around only once every four years.
While their relationship may be old news and short-lived, golf is no stranger to the Olympics. Having made its debut in 1900 in Paris, France, golf was played only twice in Olympic competition, seeing its last enclosure in 1904 in St. Louis, Missouri. Now after years of pleading and consideration, the sport will once again be competed in an Olympic setting, when athletes from all over will join in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil in 2016. After a lengthy 112-year absence, golf enthusiasts are more than thrilled to hear that their sport will soon be awarded by way of gold, silver, and bronze metals, respectively.
While not much has been said as to why the International Olympic Committee (IOC) decided to re-include the sport, it’s safe to say the addition was long overdue. However, many records show that the sport was removed due to minimal country activity. In 1900, only athletes from France, Great Britain, Greece, and United States competed for a total of 22 golfers, while just Canada and the United States entered in 1904. Further, the tournaments were considered highly unorganized, with many participants being unaware that they were even competing in an Olympic event.
Upcoming showings should have no such issues, though. In fact, Brazilian officials are already working on the upcoming course design, which will be built in the borough of Barra da Tijuca. Players will have to qualify by earning a top 15 spot, before golfing a 72-hole course, and abiding by standard golfing rules created by the USGA.
While it’s still four years away, it’s safe to say that the excitement to see Olympic golf competitions is higher than ever.
Be on the lookout for IOC announcements on upcoming course designs and qualifications.
Guest post by Bethaney Wallace, a freelance writer for SpecialtyGolfBalls.com.