My initial impression of a soon-to-open, 36-hole golf resort in central Florida:
With a name like Streamsong, it better be good.
Considering the parties involved, it almost certainly will be. In fact, advance word indicates Streamsong Resort may fly way past good and land on the upslope of greatness.
Details in a moment. First, I gotta weigh in on that name. Streamsong? Seriously? Was Unicorn Valley taken? Talk about new-agey. Talk about touchy-feely. Streamsong sounds more like a rehab joint than a golf resort. In fact, I hear Lindsay Lohan claimed one of the first tee times.
Admittedly, the name does carry a certain ethereal lilt. And at least they didn’t capitalize the second “s.” Besides, “Reclaimed-Phosphate-Mine-in-the-Middle-of-Nowhere Resort” would’ve made for one awkward URL.
But I digress.
Streamsong is generating the kind of buzz that greeted two other recent openings, Trump International Golf Links in Scotland and Cabot Links in Nova Scotia, but it’s already got them both beat in the all-important Proximity-to-Me category.
I suppose most people will focus more on the men chosen to design its twin courses: Tom Doak and the team of Bill Coore and Ben Crenshaw. Tied atop many lists of the game’s preeminent architects, Doak and Coore/Crenshaw can do pretty much no wrong these days. Doak’s credits include Pacific Dunes and Old Macdonald, both at Bandon Dunes Resort, while Coore-Crenshaw ushered in the age of minimalism with Nebraska’s epic Sand Hills.
At Streamsong, the designers worked familiar turf, if not familiar territory. Heretofore, their greatest glories have featured sandy soil and rugged terrain – not necessarily what you expect in rural Polk County, Fla. Ah, but this is phosphate country, and the land upon which the golf courses sit was once tossed and churned in a massive mining operation. What remains is a porous underbelly perfectly suited to the fast-running, links-like conditions favored by both firms.
One of many interesting things about Streamsong is how the property was divvied up for use by the two architectural teams – it wasn’t. Doak and Coore/Crenshaw worked simultaneously on the layouts – Doak on his Blue Course, C&C on their Red – which are interwoven across the same plot.
Good thing these guys aren’t territorial. Especially given the sheer scope of incredible raw material.
The property is littered with massive “dunes” which, while they’re not natural, have been in place so long they might as well be. Coore spoke for the trio when he told Global Golf Post, “Tom and Ben and I have all struggled to properly describe this site… You have to see it, be in it and experience it.”
“There are parts of it that remind you of Ireland, there are parts that remind you of Scotland, there are parts that, as you look out across, remind you of the sandhills of Nebraska,” Coore continued. “And yet in none of those places do you see dunes and giant ridges, and lakes.”
And there you have it – the element that may ultimately differentiate Streamsong from its sandy brethren. Several holes are bordered by large, craggy-shored lakes, crystalline remnants of the abandoned mining operation. The water features not only make the site unique, they add a twist not often seen on courses designed by these particular crews.
The resort is set for a “soft-opening” in December, with a thoroughly modern 216-room inn scheduled for a 2013 unveiling. Parent company Mosaic, a Minnesota-based mining firm, clearly has big expectations, having poured a reported $70-80 million into the development.
No word on how much of that went to the marketing firm tasked with concocting the resort’s moniker, but I promise you this: I’ll be checking in for rehab ASAP.
Daniel Mitchell is a golf writer and Golf-Newz.com contributor who lives in Jupiter, Fla., a few miles from Tiger Woods as the crow flies but worlds away in every other respect. An avid golfer since age 12, Mitchell carries a (shaky) single-digit handicap, investing far more time in his dogs than his swing.
You can read his regular musings at a-gamegolfblog.blogspot.com