Appeared in Winter 2013 LINKS
If you've heard any early reports on Streamsong—the two-track resort that just opened in central Florida—they’re probably high praise for the Tom Doak and Coore/Crenshaw designs, mixed with awe at the rugged, dune-dappled topography.
This just in: Streamsong is better than its advance notices. That’s right—better!
The explanation starts with the land, an old phosphate mine—located roughly halfway between Orlando and Tampa—that is now an exotic playground of giant sand dunes, brilliant-blue lakes, and wild vegetation that conjures up Scotland on steroids. All credit is due The Mosaic Company, which once their mining operations ceased earmarked the 16,000-acre property for development and hired three of golf’s most innovative designers.
The courses are masterpieces of minimalism (or what-ever we’re calling the “less is more” philosophy these days), as well as a highly unusual act of creative collaboration. The layouts aren’t just side-by-side, they intertwine, crossing paths and fairways, with a few holes—the architects won’t tell us which ones—products of their collective thinking.
Traversing the same landscape, the two 18s are similar yet not. Both feature expansive waste areas, dramatic elevation changes (including some thrilling dune-top tee boxes), and brilliant green complexes.
Doak’s Blue is a little wider and more forgiving (beneficial in the wind, which can be brisk), as well as more neatly trimmed, particularly around bunkers. Coore/Crenshaw’s Red is rougher-edged and tighter off the tee, and its hole designs are slightly more strategic. That will likely make it favored by better players.
Which isn’t to say that one is superior to the other, more that they are different enough to keep all comers impressed, inspired, and intoxicated from first hole to 36th.
Serving both courses is an ultra-modern clubhouse (with guest rooms, steakhouse, and pro shop), with a luxurious lodge (216 rooms, restaurants, spa, meeting space, and so on) on track to debut by the fall. In time, the resort also will offer fishing, shooting, tennis, hiking, and other outdoor activities.
My advice is to get there soon, before this incredible facility turns up on everyone’s radar. You’ll be singing the praises of Streamsong, too, because it is that good.
No, wait. Better.