Work Underway on Rio's Olympic Course

After resolving legal issues related to land ownership, the organizing committee for the Rio de Janeiro Games announced on Wednesday that site prep has begun on the new golf course for the 2016 Rio Summer Olympics.

In February, a legal dispute - which had been rumored since the project's inception - developed the International Olympic Committee was notified of the situation, in which two different companies claimed ownership of the property in the Barra da Tijuca neighborhood. The area will contain most of the Olympic venues and is three miles from the athletes' village.

One of the landowners announced plans to build a housing complex on the property. But that roadblock was removed and clearing work began to eradicate ''non-native vegetation'' after a permit was issued by Rio de Janeiro officials.

Construction of the course was slated to have begun six months ago, but organizers have said the delay was not related to the legal case.

''We are delighted that work has begun on the golf venue and we remain on track to deliver the golf course for a test event in 2015 as scheduled,'' said Carlos Nuzman, head of the organizing committee.

Nuzman added that the course, designed by American architect Gil Hanse, would be completed by its original target date of 2015, thus allowing a "test" event for the layout.

''We are very excited and pleased to have begun the initial clearing of the site,'' said Hanse. ''It is the start of a long process to transform this property into a beautiful golf course, and we are happy to get started.''

The 2016 Games will be the first time golf has been an Olympic sport since 1904 in St. Louis.