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 during a virtual event, the world’s first International Olympic Academy Golf Course. The name of the new course, which is located at Costa Navarino’s Navarino Hills symbolizes the links between golf and Olympism, as it is the nearest golf development to Ancient Olympia, birthplace of the Olympic Games.
Today’s announcement -on the occasion of the International Olympic Day 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. 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.
During today’s event, moderated by Sky Sports’ David Jones, the General Manager of Costa Navarino Golf, Nuno Sepulveda, joined live from Navarino Hills, together with members from Costa Navarino’s Junior Golf Academy, representing the sport’s future bright stars. Representatives from the HOC, the IOA, the Hellenic Golf Federation and Costa Navarino spoke at the event, while its special guests were the course designer José María Olazábal and GEO Sustainable Golf Champion, Suzann Pettersen (former Olympian at Rio 2016 and 15-time winner on the LPGA Tour).
Spyros Capralos, President of the Hellenic Olympic Committee and IOC Member, said: “It is with great pleasure that we announce today, during the Olympic day, 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”.
Tomas Nemec, Chairman of Consillium SA (co-founders at Navarino Hills), said: “Through the IOA Golf Course, we are happy to contribute to the essence of the Olympic Spirit for all generations of golfers. Our vision for Navarino Hills was to create the perfect environment for golf in this incredible location in the Messinian land, and introduce a unique development which reflects Costa Navarino’s commitment to sustainable development.”
Achilles V. Constantakopoulos, Chairman of TEMES – Developers of Costa Navarino, said: “We are very honoured that the new course will contribute to building a strong alliance between sport and education and conveying the principles of the Olympic Movement. Through Costa Navarino’s growth, we aim to continue having a positive impact in the areas where we operate – and to establish an upscale golf and sports destination that appeals to the global community.”
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.