In an exciting and ground-breaking new initiative, the International Olympic Academy (IOA), the Hellenic Olympic Committee (HOC) and Costa Navarino in Greece, have announced the world’s first International Olympic Academy Golf Course. The name of the new course, which is located at Costa Navarino’s Navarino Hills symbolises the links between golf and Olympism, as it is the nearest golf development to Ancient Olympia, birthplace of the Olympic Games.
The announcement comes at a time when golf’s popularity continues to soar and is expected to be one of the main attractions in Tokyo, 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. The course is one of two 18-hole signature courses at Navarino Hills, which have been designed by two-time Masters champion José María Olazábal and will fully open in spring 2022.
Spyros Capralos, President of the Hellenic Olympic Committee and IOC Member, said: “It is with great pleasure that we announce the cooperation between the Hellenic Olympic Committee, the International Olympic Academy and Costa Navarino, for the world’s first International Olympic Academy Golf Course. We are therefore given the opportunity, through golf, which is a sport without age limits, to call on all citizens to participate in sports activities and to integrate exercise into daily life.”
Isidoros Kouvelos, President of the International Olympic Academy, added: “The outcome of this cooperation will affirm the fact that Olympic Education, through which the Youth approaches Olympism, is not limited to traditional means but also extents itself to new methods which lead to innovative paths for further development.”
On behalf of the Hellenic Golf Federation, President Thomas Tokas, said: “The reintroduction of golf at the Olympic Games was a very important milestone for the sport which is played in 207 countries around the world. The International Olympic Academy Golf Course will further boost the sport’s development and will attract younger generations, and I would like to congratulate the IOA and Costa Navarino for this innovative partnership”.
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.”
Suzann Pettersen added: “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.”
Named as the ‘World’s Best New Golf Development’ at the 2020 World Golf Awards, Navarino Hills is one of Europe’s most eagerly awaited golf developments. Situated over 125 hectares overlooking the historic Bay of Navarino and the Ionian Sea, the International Olympic Academy Golf Course will measure 6,366m in length and will open exclusively for the 5th Messinia Pro-Am which will take place from the 24th to the 27th of November.
When both Navarino Hills courses open to all visitors in spring 2022, Costa Navarino will offer its guests four signature golf courses to enjoy within a maximum distance of 13km from each other, further enhancing its status as one of Europe’s unrivalled golf destinations.