"When life gives you the opportunity to check off a thing on the bucket list, you have to check them." - Singer/Songwriter Ryan Tedder
Unlike most Florida courses, the Streamsong topography has many ups and downs.
I have played many spectacular courses such as Cypress Point, Fishers Island, Pinehurst No. 2, Mountain Lake, Newport, Misquamicut, The Olympic Club (Lake), Winged Foot, Old Sandwich, Crystal Downs, The Broadmoor, St. Andrews Old Course, Royal Aberdeen and Carnoustie.
On the other hand, my list of would-love-to-play courses and resorts is much, much longer. However, given that everyone has a limited amount of time, I have tried to keep my bucket list relatively doable. Currently it includes:
Royal Dornoch (Dornoch, Sutherland, Scotland); The Country Club (Chestnut Hill, MA / Clyde course designed by Willie Campbell in 1895; Squirrel by Alex Campbell in 1902); Sand Hills (Mullen, NE /1994 Bill Coore & Ben Crenshaw design), and all five of the courses at Bandon Dunes (Bandon, OR) Bandon Dunes (1999 David McLay Kidd); Pacific Dunes (2001 Tom Doak); Bandon Trails (2005 Coore/Crenshaw); Old Macdonald (2010 Tom Doak/Jim Urbina); the 13-hole, par 3 Bandon Preserve (2012 Coore/Crenshaw).
(Pictured left to right: Ted Greene, John Moffitt, Ben Stark & Ralph Lewis.)
Until the other day, I thought that list was sufficient. That is until my brother, Ben Stark, and his friend, Ted Greene, reported in about their recent eight-man buddies’ trip to Streamsong Resort, which is about 48 miles southeast of Tampa, FL in Bowling Green.
Here are the basic facts and numbers about the resort and the three courses:
Resort Background: Streamsong is a former phosphate mine. The mining company, The Mosaic Company, is the owner and developer of the resort (http://www.streamsongresort.com/).
Red Course: Currently Ranked No. 17 on Golf Digest’s 2017-18 list of America’s 100 Greatest Public Courses; Bill Coore & Ben Crenshaw design; opened in December 2012; 7,148 Yards, Par 72; four sets of tees ranging from 122 to 130 slope.
Blue Course: Currently Ranked No. 22 on Golf Digest’s 2017-18 list of America’s 100 Greatest Public Courses; Tom Doak design; opened in December 2012; 7,176 Yards, Par 72; four sets of tees ranging from 122 to 131 slope.
Black Course: Golf Magazine’s 2017 Best New Course Of The Year; Gil Hanse design; opened Fall 2017; 7,331 Yards, Par 73; four sets of tees ranging from 119 to 135 slope.
Here are Ben’s thoughts and observations
Logistics are great. Three days of golf over 3 ½ days because of good non-stop flights from Kansas City to Tampa. We flew to Tampa late Wednesday afternoon. The drive via a van service took 75 minutes. We were checked in by 8:30 p.m. and then had drinks and dinner. Stay on the campus because there is zero to do in the area except for a McDonald’s about 25 minutes away.
It is virtually a treeless topography. Much more up and down than one would expect for a Florida course. The courses are walkable, but not easy. Lots of dramatic visuals, including two-story high bunkers and deep lakes.
Golf is challenging from all tee boxes. The lies are tight on the Bermuda fairways and be prepared to deal with undulating greens.
Property turns wild at night with panthers, pigs, deer, alligators and tanless guys from colder climates.
On Thursday, we played Hanse’s Black Course. The views of the vast landscape are spectacular. At this time of year, it is walking-only, unless you have a doctor’s letter. We took caddies. We played 27 holes – a formal 18, plus an emergency 9. They charged us for the extra 9. (FYI: While there were various individual bets, four men were on the Red team and four were the Blue team the entire trip.) That night we had dinner at Red/Blue clubhouse.
It was Tom Doak’s Blue Course on Friday. We all took caddies. I broke 90! Dinner at the Black Course steakhouse.
Saturday was the Coore/Crenshaw Red Course. We had 8:30 tee times and again took caddies. Our 5:30 non-stop flight to KC arrived at 7:30 p.m. in time for dinner.
I’ve been to Bandon Dunes and Whistling Straits with the same group. I would rank Streamsong up there with them as a pure-golf destination. However, I consider this to be a buddies-only trip. There is nothing in the area to do for non-playing spouses except for the resort spa. From Kansas City, the logistics are much better than Bandon and better than Whistling Straits.
Here is Ted Green’s take
Overall I thought it was a great experience.
Golf -- I thought the golf was very fun. It really did remind me of Bandon Dunes. The topography is similar except there are no ocean views. With that said, the terrain is varied with many great views. Walking only and it was a pretty hard walk. The caddies were pretty good. The lies around the green are very tight. I often putted when I was within 30 feet of the greens. Fairways are wide and forgiving.
Hotel – The hotel was very nice. You can get a room called the “sunrise suite.” It is a room with a sitting area and an extra king bedroom. Good for two guys. This room type is cheaper (a little) and good for separating snoring middle-aged men.
Cost -- About $500 to $550 per man, per night, including room, golf and breakfast. Can be more if you get “single rooms” or less if you put two guys in a double queen hotel room.
Transportation (ground) – You don’t need a car. The resort recommended a van service that picked us up at the airport. They were great.
Reservations (Key Point) call or email Kristin Eldridge in reservations. She knows the program, rates, lodging and will help you get what you want. They have an offsite reservation system that is poor at best.
Food – The restaurants were good. They permit corkage, so you can take your own wine.
Final Word -- I would go to Streamsong instead of Bandon because of the ease of getting there.
It’s Rating Time for Ben
On a 1 to 10 scale with 10 being “world class,” rate your golf experience at Streamsong. 7.5
On a 1 to 10 scale, rate each of the three courses (Blue, Red & Black).
Blue: 8 Red: 7 Black: 7.5
Without considering the degree of difficulty in getting there, which resort do you prefer golf-wise? Bandon or Streamsong? “Nothing can match the views of the Pacific that Bandon offers. And the golf matches the views.”
It’s Rating Time for Ted
On a 1 to 10 scale with 10 being “world class,” rate your golf experience at Streamsong. 8+
On a 1 to 10 scale, rate each of the three courses (Blue, Red & Black). (Special note: I am currently a 15.4 index and have no right to evaluate these courses for others, but, OK.)
Blue: 9 (Enjoyed & played well.) Red: 8. (Enjoyed but played poorly). Black: 7. (The hardest of the three for me). Shot 102.
Without considering the degree of difficulty in getting there, which resort do you prefer golf-wise? Bandon or Streamsong? “I liked the set up at Streamsong better -- rooms, transfers, service, etc. The golf, to me, was somewhat equal, except for ocean views. Believe it or not I am going back on March 10 to play them all again. I will update you then.”
(7th Hole at Streamsong’s Blue course - 203-yard par 3 - Photo credit: Streamsong Resort)
If you have been to Streamsong, how would you rate the golf specifically and the overall experience?