A little more than an hour and change south of Tampa and Orlando, Streamsong Resort was once one of the world’s leading potash (fertilizer) mines. The 50 years’ worth of displaced sand has created a natural setting that’s both beautiful and unreal—it almost feels like a lunar landscape.
The golf is about as unique as you’ll find outside of Bandon Dunes and Whistling Straits. Last year, we previewed both courses: Streamsong Red, designed by Bill Coore and Ben Crenshaw; and Streamsong Blue, designed by Tom Doak. Not surprisingly, in their first year of operation, they were ranked the 12th and 14th best resort courses, respectively, in the country by Golfweek.com.
The amazing thing about each course is how you don’t feel like you’re in Florida. The surreal, serene environment makes this place special. The morning we played the Blue course, it was so foggy that our caddy had to draw a line in the tee box dew to give us an idea of where to aim. The remoteness of this place makes it stand out.
Streamsong Blue is a par-72, 7,176-yard course with a surprising 131 slope. (It feels harder than that, especially with the trickiness of the greens.). Look out for multiple elevation changes, deep-water ponds, huge bunkers (the caddies earn their money raking these babies) and even the occasional crocodile. Every hole feels like a signature hole, although No. 7 earns that nod, as undoubtedly the most photographed hole on the course. The 188-yard par 3 is all carry over a pond. And if you’re skilled enough to hit the green, hold on for dear life. A severely undulating green complex will have you baffled—even with the caddie’s advice. A four-putt is not out of the question.
Blue may be considered the more scenic course, but Red is often cited as the bigger challenge in some ways, despite a lower slope rating of 130 (7,148 yards, par 72), and it certainly proved that as we took our turn on the sister course. Defined by decades-old sand dunes, lakes, natural bunkers and open expanses, Red is every bit the looker. The signature hole here—which shares the same lake as Blue’s No. 7—is the 200-yard par-3 16th. Once again, your tee shot needs to carry a wide portion of lake to a Biarritz green. If it finds the wrong part of the deep, natural swale in the green, it could all be for naught. Par here is a great score.
Golf aside, the biggest new addition to the resort is the 216-room Streamsong Lodge, making it a true destination with all the trappings of a luxury getaway.
Stay-and-play rates starting at $575. 1000 Streamsong Drive, Bowling Green, Fla., (863) 428-1000, www.streamsongresort.com.