Gil Hanse

Golf Architect

Philadelphia

Gil Hanse is the founder, president and lead designer of Hanse Golf Course Design. As a student at Cornell University, Hanse interned at Hawtree in Great Britain, the longest continuously practicing golf course architectural firm in the world. While there, he formed his philosophy for golf design based on historic courses. Since founding his boutique firm in 1993, Hanse has worked on projects ranging from Castle Stuart Golf Links in Inverness, Scotland, and the Tokyo Golf Club to renovating the Blue Monster at Doral Golf Resort & Spa. In 2012, Hanse won the highly competitive selection process to design the 2016 Olympic golf course in Rio de Janeiro. He will partner with Hall of Fame player Amy Alcott to build the first Olympic golf course since the 1904 St. Louis Games.

  • On March 15, 2013
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  • On November 26, 2012
    Gil Hanse answered the question: Gil Hanse

    What will Gil Hanse do to Doral Golf Resort & Spa’s golf course?

    Doral is a very exciting project. Whenever you get an opportunity to work on a venue that has a great history and has hosted numerous championships, it is great. Every year it’s been open, it has hosted a PGA Tour event. Most golfers know the name Blue Monster; they understand it. They know what that looks like, what that feels like. What Donald [Trump] wants to do is elevate and restore a lot of the elegance and beauty that was always associated with Doral. I think over a period of years the place has been on a downward slide. Everyone’s excited about the commitment that the Trump organization is making to revitalizing and restoring that cachet and that glamour to the resort.
     
    One of the nice things, from our standpoint, is we’ve been able to convince [Donald Trump] that the historical perspective of the resort is an important part of the story. The tradition and the history is not something that we should just wipe away. Dick Wilson, the original designer of the golf course, had some merit, and some of the things he did we should pay attention to.
     
    I’m excited about that opportunity because whenever we get a chance to work on historic properties, we love more the restorative aspect as opposed to the renovation aspect. This is not going to be a pure restoration. There’s no way I can fake it and say that’s going to be the case. But we’ll be able to keep a lot of the historic elements that we think are important. We’ll upgrade it to be a great test for the finest players in the world.
  • On November 26, 2012
    Gil Hanse answered the question: Gil Hanse

    What excites Gil Hanse about designing the 2016 Olympic golf course?

    I think it’s a chance for us — and when I say us, I mean Jim Wagner, who’s my design partner; we’ve been working together for almost 20 years — to present a model of what golf might appear to be because so many people will watch golf in the Olympics who have never watched golf before in their lives.
     
    For our casual golf fans, it’s an opportunity for us to present what we believe the face of golf should be. It’s not necessarily always perfectly green and manicured with perfect white sand and bunkers; it’s much more a natural sort of landscape that ties into the surroundings and feels like it’s a part of the existing landscape.
     
    It’s exciting for us that we’re being given the opportunity to present the face of the game to a lot of people. We want to create a course that provides drama and excitement. But I’ve said this before: At the end of the day, the Olympics are all about competition. It’s about the athletes. It’s about who does what, and hopefully the golf course isn’t a big part of the story. It’s obviously visually a big part of the story, but hopefully it’s more about the play, excitement and drama. That’s really the most exciting aspect of it. It’s an amazing opportunity to really represent the game of golf.
  • On November 26, 2012
    Gil Hanse answered the question: Gil Hanse

    What will Gil Hanse's 2016 Olympic golf course look like?

    There’s a grouping of golf courses in Australia around Melbourne called the Sand Belt. There are some great golf courses down there. All the photographs of those courses look very similar to what we’re going to try to produce, at least in some way, shape or form. So Jim Wagner and I are headed down to Australia to spend a week researching and looking around, learning, understanding. What we glean from that visit will help us with the design and the construction of the course in Rio. People always say “links.” That’s kind of an easy term for people who say, “I know what a ‘links’ golf course looks like.” It’s probably going to be a combination of a links course — very open, sandy, Scottish — and then melding that with the Sand Belt landscape around Melbourne.