The world’s first International Olympic Academy Golf Course was announced today, International Olympic Day, with sustainability at the heart of the new course at Costa Navarino in Greece.
Sustainable Golf Champion Suzann Pettersen, a 2016 Olympic athlete, joined the Navarino Hills course designer José María Olazábal, the two-time Masters Champion, in launching the new initiative between the International Olympic Academy (IOA), the Hellenic Olympic Committee (HOC) and Costa Navarino.
The new course at Navarino Hills is the nearest golf development to Ancient Olympia, the birthplace of the Olympic Games, and symbolises the links between golf and Olympism. Two new 18-hole signature golf courses are being constructed and will open in spring 2022.
The two existing courses at Costa Navarino – Navarino Dunes and Navarino Bay – are both participating in the GEO Foundation OnCourse programme working towards GEO Certification.
Suzann Pettersen said: “My experience of competing at the Olympics in 2016 was inspirational and the development of the first International Olympic Academy Golf Course is a great moment for golf, as it strives to deliver a bright and sustainable outlook for future generations.”
“It is fantastic to see how Costa Navarino have tried to run this course in a more environmental and community-oriented way,” she added. “My local golf club in Norway, Oslo Golf Club, is GEO certified and I also see more tournaments being GEO Certified and run in a more environmentally sustainable way.
"If golf courses around every country can bring the topic to life, that is important. I definitely see a shift and it makes me really happy to see new courses, new resorts being built that take sustainable action in their planning and hard work in becoming a great arena.”
Course designer José María Olazábal, said: “It is a great honour to have designed the first International Olympic Academy Golf Course at Navarino Hills. The development of the game is very close to my heart and I am proud that future generations of golfers will have the opportunity to be educated in the Olympic values at this wonderful new facility.”
Today’s announcement – on the occasion when the International Olympic Day is celebrated across the world – comes at a time when golf’s popularity continues to soar and is expected to be one of the main attractions in Tokyo this summer, following its spectacular return to the Olympics at Rio in 2016.
The new partnership between the IOA and Costa Navarino, with the significant contribution of the HOC, is guided by the principles and values of Olympism and aims to promote Olympic Education through a variety of activities in both Costa Navarino and the IOA premises, and will play a key role in helping to promote golf to an expanding worldwide audience. The naming of the new International Olympic Academy Golf Course reflects the IOA, HOC and Costa Navarino’s shared values of sustainability, personal welfare, education, and growth.