Streamsong Resort…Florida’s New Golfing Destination
Story by: Ed & Fran Stone
Photography by: Streamsong Resort and Ed & Fran Stone
In 2013, Polk County, Florida was blessed with a unique golfing destination. Streamsong Resort opened two 18-hole golf courses, a 216-room lodge near Lakeland, along with other amenities. The Red Course was designed by Bill Coore and Ben Crenshaw (winner of the Masters Golf Tournament in 1984 and 1995). Tom Doak of Renaissance Golf Design was responsible for designing and building the Blue Course. Both design teams have credentials to place them clearly in the top 10 best golf course architects in the business. Since opening, Streamsong has garnered glowing accolades from just about every golf and resort ratings.
The Streamsong Resort Lodge, AcquaPietra Spa, along with state-of-the-art conference facilities is an ultra-modern “Frank Lloyd Wright looking” design. Adding to the uniqueness of this full-fledged resort, it also offers bass fishing, sporting clays, archery and nature trail. We’ll say more about the Lodge later in this story.
Looking at the background of the why and how this new property came to exist is a story within itself. Why build more golf courses when the industry is suffering from slow-growth and especially in such a remote area where the closest airport (Tampa) is one hour away and a 90-minute drive from the Orlando airport? The closest large city is Lakeland, a 45 minute drive.
The Mosaic Company headquartered in Plymouth, Minnesota is the developer of this property. They specialize in fertilizer and produce and market concentrated phosphate and potash. Their customer base includes wholesalers, retail dealers and individual growers in more than 40 countries. Mosaic employs approximately 9,000 people in eight countries. In 2004, IMC Global merged with Cargill, Inc.'s crop nutrition division to form The Mosaic Company. Mosaic owns more than 280,000 acres in Central Florida, including the 16,000 acre footprint on which Streamsong is built.
This company is very sensitive to land use and returning the land back for recreational and other uses, once the phosphate and/or potash has been mined. So, with an ideal landscape for golf courses, bass fishing and other outdoor sports, Streamsong has become Mosaic’s first entry into the resort/land development business.
Let’s look at the two golf courses.
The Red Course stretches to some 7,148 yards from the tips and seems to be a bit easier than The Blue Course. The signature hole has to be #16 which is almost adjacent to the probable signature hole for the Blue Course, hole #7. They both play across the same small lake extending to the Clubhouse where golfers can overlook the “bye” hole (designed by Doak and used in case of a playoff in tournaments).
The 18-hole Tom Doak designed Blue Course stretches from the tips to 7,176 yards making it no than 28 yards longer than the Red Course. We noticed this course has a few more contours and elevations on the greens. When comparing the Blue to the Red, we found the bunkers and greens appear to be somewhat larger and a little more intimidating.
Both courses play to a par 72. The driving range is a cart ride from the Clubhouse and was part of the Coore and Crenshaw design. Grasses for the tees and fairways are 419 Bermuda while the greens are MiniVerde, a hybrid Bermuda, both able to withstand the summer heat of Central Florida. Surrounding the courses are various grasses that can be as detrimental to errant shots as gorse can be to Scottish courses. Very few large trees are around the course, but you’ll see pin oaks, pine, bay and willows that help to breakup and enhance the landscape. In some of the underbrush there are occasional muscadine vines. All kinds of water fowl, songbirds and alligators can be seen during a round of golf. Portions of the hotel are viewed from several holes of both golf courses.
When asked about walking either of the courses, we were told that walking is very much encouraged as pull carts are made available. Streamsong also offers electric carts, caddies and forecaddies. We selected an electric cart with a forecaddie named Ryan. He was excellent and most helpful…especially taking us from one hole to the next without going to the wrong hole or course. We should note that the Blue Course and the Red Course have intersecting layouts…another good reason to use a forecaddie.
We enjoyed playing these two courses and hope to return in late 2017 to play a new course we saw being built…Streamsong Black. Yes, a third course is underway. The Mosaic Company has hired Gil Hanse, the architect of The Olympic Golf Course in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. A couple of other notable courses Hanse Golf Course Design has created are Trump International Golf Club (opening in 2017) in Dubai, UAE, Los Angeles Country Club’s South Course, Rustic Canyon Golf Course in Moorpark, California and Boston Golf Club in Hingham.
Observations about the two courses would include the following:
- The cost for staying and playing golf at Streamsong is worth the added cost as compared to other places one can do the same. However, this is close to experiencing Whistling Straits or Bandon Dunes. You just don’t have the amount of lake or ocean views. Rates differ from season to season as winter is higher than summer.
- From the Lodge to the Golf Clubhouse is approximately two miles. Transportation is provided both ways. Complimentary valet parking is provided at the hotel and Golf Clubhouse.
- A full service restaurant is at the Golf Clubhouse serving three meals a day.
- There are 12 rooms at the Golf Clubhouse with room service being offered.
Streamsong Resort and Golf courses awards and recognitions:
To state the number of honors and awards received by Streamsong since opening in 2013, would occupy more space than we have to offer. Just to name a few that are most impressive for only 2015 & 2016, they are:
- Trip Advisor 2016: Certificate of Excellence – Streamsong Resort and Streamsong Golf Clubhouse
- Premier Golf Resorts 2016-2017: Platinum Award, Streamsong® Resort
- Golf Magazine (2016): Best Resort Courses, Streamsong Red #12, Streamsong Blue #15
- Golfweek (2016): Silver Magellan Award Winner in the Hospitality Golf Resort/Hotel Category
- TripAdvisor (2015): Top 100 Courses in the US – Streamsong Red ranked #47 and Streamsong Blue ranked #56
- GOLF MAGAZINE (September 2015): Best Courses You Can Play – Streamsong Red #2 and Streamsong Blue #3
- USA Today (2015): America’s 100 Greatest Public Courses – Streamsong Red ranked #18 and Streamsong Blue #24
- Golf Digest (2015): Best State-by-State Courses You Can Play: Florida – Streamsong Red #2 and Streamsong Blue #3
- Golfweek (March 2015): Best Public Golf Courses in Florida – Streamsong Red ranked #1 – Streamsong Blue ranked #3
- Golf Digest (February 2015): America’s 100 Greatest Golf Courses – Streamsong Red ranked #100
To view all accolades listed on the Streamsong website, Click Here.
Meanwhile, exploring the Lodge and other amenities:
Architecturally, the hotel or Lodge as it is referred is very modern in every aspect. The Mosaic Company selected the Tampa (Ybor City) architectural firm of Alfonso Architects. The firm was founded in 1988 by Cuban born, Alberto Alfonso and his brother, Carlos along with partner Angel del Monte. Keeping with the environmentally friendly commitment, there are no live plants or cut flowers in the Lodge. The rooms are spacious and accommodating to the needs of guests. One side of the Lodge offers rooms facing a large lake toward the pool section of the property. The other side offers beautiful views of a small lake and portions of the golf courses. Window treatments are large vertical wooden blinds folding in 18 inch portions. Two large screen televisions provide entertainment for either the bedroom or the sitting/workspace side of the room. The bathroom area is spacious with dual sinks and blending very nicely with the bedroom and sitting area.
Meeting and conference space totals to some 25,000 square feet with another 40,000 square feet of useable outdoor space, including the rooftop terrace, perfect for enjoying gorgeous sunsets and stargazing. As we toured the facility, a group of Florida Safety Engineers was meeting in the 7,600 square foot ballroom that accommodates up to 500 conferees. This large room allows for nine breakout rooms and is close to a beautiful Board Room.
|Meeting and conference space totals to some 25,000 square feet with another 40,000 square feet of useable outdoor space.
We also noticed a separate entrance from the Lodge portion of the hotel to the meeting space and areas providing access to the outdoor terrace and pool deck. Making use of the natural settings surrounding the hotel has been taken full advantage, i.e., there is one banquet room and a private dining room providing stunning views of the lake and golf courses. Today’s high-end technology is built into this property with Wi-Fi available throughout the hotel and meeting areas.
|The grotto-style Spa is located near the fully-equipped fitness center.
Time just didn’t allow us to experience the 7,000 square foot AcquaPietra Spa. However, in taking a quick tour, we would certainly recommend a visit where guests can relax with therapeutic water treatments, including unique pool experiences, a relaxation water treatment and an arctic cascade. There are nine treatment rooms with tailored services aimed to renew both body and mind. The grotto-style Spa is located near the fully-equipped fitness center offering yoga, Pilates and more.
Dining at Streamsong is a culinary experience. The resort offers four casual and fine dining culinary experiences.
Restaurant Fifty-Nine: Offering steak and seafood, this restaurant serves breakfast, lunch and dinner with relaxing and delightful views of both the Red and Blue courses at Streamsong.
|The resort offers four casual and fine dining culinary experiences.
- Sotto Terra: This is one of our favorites at Streamsong. Sotto Terra provides full-service and is considered fine dining, although you have to remember when golfing groups dine, the noise levels increase. The food is outstanding as we enjoyed some delicious contemporary Italian cuisine. Superb service and highly recommended.
- P205: This café-style restaurant is open all day and presents outstanding Southern and Floridian cuisine. The menu offers the famous and delicious Apalachicola oysters, conch chowder and key lime pie. We chose to enjoy breakfast at P205 and found the food and service excellent.
- Fragmentary Blue: For orientating yourself to the resort, we suggest one of your first stops is to check out the Fragmentary Blue roof-top lounge and bar. Here you find sweeping views of the property allowing you to get a feel for where most all of the activities are located. Fitting in with the contemporary design of the hotel, this beautiful lounge also offers indoor and outdoor dining of small plates with American pub cuisine.
In addition to golfing in the great outdoors, Streamsong offers guest the opportunity to enjoy some of the other natural opportunities, such as bass fishing in one of several lakes on the property. There’s also archery, sporting clays and tennis available to those wanting a bit more exercise and sporting adventure. If you’re up for some hiking, this is a great place to stretch your body and mind and get in bird watching, too. We saw dozens of water fowl and song birds that added to the wonderful experience of visiting Streamsong Resort.
|Other amenities at Streamsong include archery, bass fishing, sporting clays and tennis those wanting a bit more exercise and sporting adventure.
We look forward to a return visit to enjoy all these amenities and the new Streamsong Black golf course in late 2017. We’ll be giving you a full report then!
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