'Critical' Juncture for Rio Course

According to the golf architect selected to design and oversee development of the new course for the 2016 Rio Olympics, Pennsylvanian Gil Hanse, a "critical juncture" in construction will take place between now and March.

The project has been plagued by delays throughout the development process, starting out with a troublesome legal dispute between the Olympic organizers and local landowners that, until its resolution, slowed the project for months.

Other problems continue: Hanse still hasn't received the course's irrigation system, thus preventing grassing of the holes that have been shaped and prepped.

In an interview with CNN's Shane O'Donoghue, Hanse says he "feel[s] good right now that we're gonna hit [a June 2015]" opening date, just in time for a test event in August, exactly one year ahead of the Olympic Golf Tournament. If the issues impeding progress have yet to be resolved in a few months' time, however, "then my tone might be a little more pessimistic."

Hanse believed the land situation was all set before taking on the job. "None of us were led to understand how actively involved the land ownership would be in the process and how the decision-making processes have sometimes not gone the way we would have liked to see them go," he said.

"The way it's gone is really, I don't think, the way it was depicted to any of the eight of us who were initially vying for the position," Hanse told O'Donoghue. "From that standpoint, it's been a little bit more difficult than we thought."

Some 200 workers are currently on the site. Clearing, rough-shaping, transplanting and earth-moving are all underway. Twelve holes have been completely shaped, another four underway and the final two should begin in February.