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José María Olazábal

As Designer


The beauty of the landscape and the natural richness of golf courses, on which he has played for his entire career and continues to travel to, have always fascinated José María Olazábal. This fascination has little by little transformed into a new passion—golf course design. Today he leads a busy international career as both a player and an architect of golf. 



Nature before all else



A golf course is defined by the nature which surrounds it. We choose the location for its beauty, it’s diverse landscape, and the natural resources that it possesses… It’s then necessary to tame that nature, to learn how to play without distorting it. If the course is situated by the sea, at the heart of the plains of Ireland or near the mountains in Spain, It will not be designed in the same way. A successful golf course is like an extension of the environment in which it operates. 



Olazábal’s Style



José María Olazábal is not only demanding of himself, but also of the players who use his courses. Most are famous for their difficulty and their high standard. The difficulty comes from the precision that they necessitate. The greens are very isolated, the fairways narrow, and natural obstacles and bunkers are numerous, so it is necessary to have patience and perseverance.



Mission Hills Golf Course



In 2003 José María Olazábal conceived and designed on of the twelve golf courses at Mission Hills; in Shenzn, China.  Situated near the delta of the Pearl River, it welcomed the World Cup of golf in 2009.  The course that Olazábal constructed around the water is one of the most beautiful areas in the complex, with majestic views of the jungle and natural streams running through the course itself.  But it is also one of the most difficult with 156 bunkers!



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