Rio Olympic golf course
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Rio Olympic golf course
Architect Gil Hanse built the Olympic golf course in Rio specifically for the 2016 Olympic Games. Matt Stockman/Getty Images.
Images
TPC Sawgrass - Players Stadium golf course - 18th
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TPC Sawgrass - Players Stadium golf course - 18th
Thanks to the PGA Tour's new schedule, the grass on the Players Stadium Course at TPC Sawgrass will be green all year round Chris Condon/Getty Images
Celtic Manor - Twenty Ten golf course - 14th
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Celtic Manor - Twenty Ten golf course - 14th
Using elements of an existing course along with brand new holes, the Twenty Ten Course at Celtic Manor in Wales was designed specifically for the 2010 Ryder Cup. Courtesy of Celtic Manor Resort
Tiger Woods at Augusta National
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Tiger Woods at Augusta National
Bobby Jones hired Alister MacKenzie to design the Augusta National Golf Club to host tournaments. Now The Masters is arguably the most popular golf event in the world. Getty Images
Chambers Bay golf course - hole 3
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Chambers Bay golf course - hole 3
Chambers Bay, a Robert Trent Jones Jr. design, was built by Pierce County, Washington to host major tournaments, such as the 2010 U.S. Amateur and 2015 U.S. Open. David Cannon/Getty Images
Valhalla Golf Club - 13th hole
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Valhalla Golf Club - 13th hole
The PGA of America considers Valhalla Golf Club one of its go-to venues for its premier events, such as the Ryder Cup Matches and PGA Championship. Getty Images
Tiger Woods - Muirfield Village G.C. - hole 16
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Tiger Woods - Muirfield Village G.C. - hole 16
Jack Nicklaus designed Muirfield Village and has tinkered with it over the years to keep it relevant for The Memorial, his PGA Tour event in Dublin, Ohio. Chris Condon/Getty Images
Harbour Town Golf Links at Sea Pines
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Harbour Town Golf Links at Sea Pines
The Sea Pines Resort's Harbour Town Golf Links is one of the longest running venues on the PGA Tour. The famous Jack Nicklaus/Pete Dye design began hosting the tournament as soon as it opened in 1969. Courtesy of Sea Pines Resort
TPC Scottsdale - Stadium golf course - hole 2
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TPC Scottsdale - Stadium golf course - hole 2
Built by the city of Scottsdale, Ariz. in collaboration with the PGA Tour, the Stadium Course at TPC Scottsdale became the permanent home of the Waste Management Phoenix Open shortly after opening in 1987. Courtesy of TPC Scottsdale
AT&T Oaks at TPC San Antonio - No. 13
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AT&T Oaks at TPC San Antonio - No. 13
The TPC San Antonio's AT&T Oaks Course has become the permanent host of the Valero Texas Open on the PGA Tour since opening in 2011. Courtesy of TPC San Antonio
Ocean Course at Kiawah Island Golf Resort
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Ocean Course at Kiawah Island Golf Resort
Ian Woosnam hits a bunker shot on the Ocean Course at Kiawah Island Golf Resort during the 1991 Ryder Cup Matches known as the "War by the Shore." The Pete Dye design was built specifically for the event. Getty Images

From the Masters to Olympics: Golf courses built specifically to host marquee events

Building golf courses specifically to host tournaments seems to be a modern phenomenon, courtesy of the TPC network of clubs, but it's not.

It all started with that little course in rural Georgia we see on TV every spring -- Augusta National Golf Club. Bobby Jones hired Alister MacKenzie to co-design a course where the famous amateur made his competitive return to golf in 1934 after a three-year hiatus. The Masters was born.

Augusta National remains the most famous of all the courses built specifically to host major events. It's hardly the only big name.

There are nearly a dozen from Ryder Cup venues, such as the Twenty Ten Course at Celtic Manor in Wales and the Ocean Course at Kiawah Island Golf Resort off the coast of South Carolina, to regular PGA Tour stops like the PLAYERS Stadium Course at TPC Sawgrass, the Stadium Course at TPC Scottsdale, Muirfield Village Golf Club, TPC San Antonio, and even Harbour Town Golf Links. Both Chambers Bay in Washington state and Erin Hills in Wisconsin were created with input from the USGA, which effectively won bids to host U.S. Opens in 2015 and 2017, respectively, in states that don't traditionally host America's national championship.

The latest venue is perhaps the most controversial: the Olympic golf course in Rio. Getting the Gil Hanse design ready for the 2016 Olympic Games was a monumental task. So many questions need answers now that the Games are upon us. What does it look like? How will it play? How much will it test the pros? How enjoyable will it be for amateurs once the hype of the Olympics disappear?

Let the Games begin.

Jason Scott Deegan has reviewed more than 700 courses and golf destinations for some of the industry's biggest publications. His work has been honored by the Golf Writer's Association of America and the Michigan Press Association. Follow him on Twitter at @WorldGolfer.
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From the Masters to Olympics: Golf courses built specifically to host marquee events
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