You can probably count on one hand the number of noteworthy new golf courses to open in the U.S. this year, but don’t let that detract from what’s happening on Friday:
That is, the opening of two of these standout courses at the same place: Florida’s Streamsong Resort.
Even amid more competition, I think the interesting, semi-natural terrain in the hands of Tom Doak (the Blue Course) and the Bill Coore/Ben Crenshaw team (the Red Course) would have still landed both 18s on Golf Magazine’s list of, “Best New U.S. Courses You Can Play.”
And the fact that you can do exactly that, at the same resort, makes it easier to justify a trip to this remote part of central Florida (Bandon, anyone?)
If you want to go, here are five things you need to know:
1. Streamsong Resort is only 50 miles from Tampa and 80 miles from Orlando, but its location has been described as “isolated.” That’s important because…
2. Currently, on-site lodging consists of 12 rooms in the clubhouse (a lodge is planned for fall 2013). Aside from that, your lodging options consist of mainly of independent hotels clustered around Bowling Green (12 miles southeast) or chain hotels in Lakeland (30 miles north). The Hilton Garden Inn in Lakeland is one that seems to get good reviews.
3. If you’re flying in, here are the best airports to consider based on drive time to Streamsong Resort:
Tampa: 1 hour, 20 minutes
Sarasota/Bradenton: 1 hour, 25 minutes
Orlando: 1 hour, 45 minutes
Southwest Florida: 2 hours, 15 minutes
West Palm Beach: 3 hours
Fort Lauderdale-Hollywood: 3 hours, 30 minutes
Miami: 4 hours
4. If it matters, Golf Magazine rated the Red Course ahead of the Blue Course, “by an eyelash.” In describing the main point of contrast, Golf Odyssey wrote, “of the two routings, the Blue has more natural landforms and is more conducive to minimalism. The Red Course is more dramatic.”
5. What the architects think makes Streamsong special:
Tom Doak: “This site, with its dunes and elevation changes and lakes, is just so varied and well suited for golf. It’s unlike anything around, and though mining was done here, it seems like a great natural space.”
Bill Coore: “The first question you might ask is, “Why would anybody build two courses in this remote area of Florida in this economy?” But once you come here and look at the site, you’ll see how unusual and dramatic and beautiful it is in a rugged sort of way. The two courses are really good and they’re going to be very enjoyable to play.”
What’s your take on Streamsong and are you putting it on your travel list?
Please share your thoughts or read what others are saying below.