Review: Streamsong Resort – Blue Course

Course Name: Streamsong Resort – Blue Course

Designer: Tom Doak (2012)

Location: Streamsong, Florida

History: Streamsong Resort is the brainchild of Mosaic Company, the world’s largest phosphate producer. Following in the footsteps of Kohler, Bandon Dunes, and other successful new golf resorts, Mosaic decided to build Streamsong on 16,000 acres of reclaimed phosphate mines in Central Florida. The Tom Doak designed Blue Course opened alongside the Red Course in 2012 after years of great anticipation. Interestingly, the Red and Blue courses were named based on the color pen Doak and Coore/Crenshaw used. In 2017, the Gil Hanse designed Black Course opened down the road, and I wouldn’t be surprised if more courses open in the near future. Of note, Streamsong Blue is the only course at the resort to host a national championship – The 2016 U.S. Women’s Amateur Four-Ball. Accolades for Streamsong Blue are lengthy and include:

  • #124 Best Course in America – Golf Digest (2017-2018)
  • #64 Best Course in America – Golf Magazine (2017-2018)
  • #55 Best Modern Course in America – Golfweek (2017-2018)
  • #22 Best Public Course in America – Golf Digest (2017-2018)
  • #14 Best Public Course in America – Golf Magazine (2017-2018)
  • #5 Best Course in Florida – Golf Digest (2017-2018)
  • #3 Best Public Course in Florida – Golf Magazine (2016-2017)
  • #3 Best Public Course in Florida – Golfweek (2017-2018)

Conditions: 9/10, The overall conditioning at Streamsong Resort is impeccable and the Blue Course is no different. This course features wide, well-manicured fairways surrounded by sandy waste areas instead of rough. The Bermuda greens here roll true and fast at about a 12 on the stimpmeter.

Value: 6/10, The resort itself is expensive but daily fees at the courses are actually quite reasonable given the quality. Peak prices in the Winter season run at $255 for public golfers and $200 for Resort guests. Floridians also receive further discounts. Caddie fees are $90 per bag, and there are stay-and-play packages available as well.

Scorecard:

Tee                                 Par         Yardage         Rating          Slope

Green                            72           7176               74.0              134

Black                             72           6698               71.8              130

Combo                          72           6474               70.7              129

Silver                            72           6285               69.5              127

Gold                              72           5531               71.6              122

Best Score: 80 (Combo Tees), 12/20/2017 with Dad and two others

Front 9 Best: 41 (Combo Tees), 12/20/2017 with Dad and two others

Back 9 Best: 39 (Combo Tees), 12/20/2017 with Dad and two others

Hole Descriptions: Streamsong Blue is my first Tom Doak course, and also the first course we played at Streamsong Resort. After playing this gem, I couldn’t be more excited to try my hand at more Doak courses in the future and the next few days at Streamsong Red and Black. The Red Course winds around the outside of the Blue Course and is similar in many ways. Both courses were built in the same time period and you could easily trade holes between courses and not lose any flow.

When you think of Florida golf, you think of palm trees, alligators, and tight, water-lined holes. These features aren’t for everyone, and unsurprisingly, very few of the thousands of Florida courses earn national recognition. Streamsong is NOT your typical Florida golf. While you’ll still be accompanied by alligators, these courses are designed in a minimalist fashion, with natural mounds and bunkers seemingly rising out of the ground like volcanoes. The terrain is incredibly unique, and plays somewhat like a cross between Australian Sandbelt golf and Sand Hills/Ballyneal.

It’s almost impossible not to compare the courses at Streamsong, so here’s my take. The Blue Course is the easiest of the three courses, and my second favorite overall. While it lacks the dramatic features of the phenomenal Red Course, the Blue Course is fantastic in its own right and arguably features the best hole on the property in the par 3 7th. While the Blue Course is longer than the Red, its fairways are more generous and give the golfer ample room to rip driver on almost every hole. The Blue’s greatest defense is its greens, which while trickier than the Red, are nothing compared to the Black.

All three courses at Streamsong do a fantastic job with hole variety and this is evident on the opening hole at the Blue, a short 330 yard par 4. Standing on a 75 foot high sand mound, the 1st tee provides one of the best views at Streamsong. This drive is straight downhill to a wide fairway lined by sandy wasteland on both sides. At about 260 yards, bunkers creep in to narrow the fairway, but most golfers can hit driver with no apprehension here. This large, relatively flat green is guarded short right by a humungous bunker which obscures a view of the flag from the right side of the fairway. My dad and I both drained bombs for birdie here for a great start.

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Pictures don’t do the dramatic elevated teeshot on the 1st justice
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Walking down the 1st fairway you can already tell the terrain is unlike anything else

In keeping with the minimalist philosophy, the 2nd teebox is directly to the right of the 1st green in the middle of the fairway. I’m used to well-marked teeboxes adorned by rough, but appreciated this design and think it helps the flow of the course. At Streamsong, you don’t feel like you’re playing 18 different holes, but rather one cohesive course. The 2nd hole is a 530 yard par 5 with another generous fairway. A large bunker and fescue creep on the right side, so there’s little reason not to rip one down the wide fairway on the left. Your lay-up and approach are a bit trickier, as the fairway tightens for the final 170 yards with a long waste bunker on the left and water to the right. This circular green is surrounded by 5 bunkers.

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Aim to the left on the par 5 2nd
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The 2nd hole gives players options and danger on the lay-up

The 3rd hole plays 359 yards and features one of the scarier teeshots on the Blue Course. With a forced carry of 120 yards and swampland hugging the entire left side of the fairway, losing your ball a realistic possibility here. There is, however, plenty of room on the right for those who bail out. This elevated green runs hard back-to-front with a nasty false front that leaves challenging up-and-downs.

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The intimidating par 4 3rd from the tee

The 4th hole is the anomaly on an otherwise easy stretch of holes 1-6. At 369 yards from the Combo Tees, this par 4 plays a beastly 442 yards uphill from the Tips. This fairway is a bit narrower than most and features sandy wastelands on either side. The real difficulty here comes on the approach to a severely elevated green with devastating, deep bunkers short on both sides. Given the holes length, I imagine these bunkers are a common destination and most golfers will leave with the ball in their pocket.

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The intimidating par 4 4th from the tee
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Just look at these bunkers!

At only 121 yards, the 5th is the shortest hole on the course but that doesn’t necessarily mean it’s easy. This green is long and narrow and surrounded by bunkers. Furthermore, the right third of this green is scooped out, leading to some very difficult pin positions. We had the misfortune of getting one of those pins and literally had to aim 40 feet right just to keep it on the green from the top tier. A bit tricked up, but a fun short par 3.

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The 5th teebox sets you up at an awkward angle
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The tricky 5th green gives you a taste of Streamsong Black – look at his aim!

The finale of a gentle 6 hole stretch, the 6th hole is yet another drivable par 4 at 317 yards. With a series of bunkers lining the right side and a cross-bunker at 160 yards on the left, I actually recommend golfers take danger out of play and hit driver. Everything on this hole, including the green slopes right, and this green is almost entirely unprotected. Anything worse than a par here will hurt the scorecard.

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The short par 4 6th is framed beautifully by the sandhills

This is it, I thought as I stepped onto the 7th teebox – the hole that I came here for. Arguably the most photogenic hole at any of Streamsong’s three courses, the 176 yard 7th is a spectacular and dramatic par 3. Playing downhill with a forced carry over an alligator-infested pond, this fantastic hole is enhanced further by a picturesque bridge and mounds of fescue that surround and frame this green. Deep bunkers guard front left and behind on both sides of this back-to-front sloped green.

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The 7th at Streamsong Blue is one of the finest one-shotters in the world

After the glory of the 7th, golfers will be snapped back into reality by the difficult and confusing 414 yard 8th. This hole features a bunker in the middle of the fairway about 170 yards from the tee and water on both sides at about 220 yards. The smart play here is to take the water out of play by laying back with a 200 yard shot. Full disclosure, I hit my 4-iron into the water, and I wasn’t a huge fan of this hole; its target golf design clashed with the rest of the course. This green runs back-to-front with numerous bunkers short.

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The par 4 8th is a better hole from the Tips

The 9th is another par 5 at 510 yards. This teeshot is completely blind, so take your caddie’s advice and aim just left of the massive bunkers on the right side of the hill. Drives too far the left will find snake-filled dunes. The lay-up here is rather straightforward to generous fairway on the right but those going for the green in two will need to shape their ball to avoid two trees in front of the green. This wide yet shallow green is guarded by bunkers on every side but the left.

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Aim just left of the bunkers on the blind 9th
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Rare trees obscure the left side of the 9th green

Each of the three courses at Streamsong has their own food stand at the turn, with the Blue Course having delicious tacos. After refueling, you’re faced with a rather mellow 161 yard par 3. Bunkers surround this large green, but there’s really not too much to say about this hole.

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The par 3 10th from the tee

The 11th is the number 1 handicap hole if only for its length at 427 yards. This is another rather bland straightaway hole featuring a bunker in the middle of the fairway at 230 yards and another on the left side at 240 yards. You can’t tell from the tee, but there’s more room on the right than it looks. There’s no danger on your approach here, and the front of this green allows runners to reach. Not an amazing hole, but draining a 95 foot bomb here for birdie was one of my favorite golf moments of 2017.

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A expansive fairway makes up for the 11th’s prodigious length

At 390 yards, the 12th is one of the more difficult holes at Streamsong Blue with lots going on. First, you must carry your drive at least 100 yards over swamp to reach this fairway. Bunkers line either side of the fairway and a ball here all but ensures a lay-up. Water creeps in on the right side of the fairway about 90 yards short of this green and necessitates another carry. This green is surrounded by bunkers and features two tiers with a giant slope in the middle. While the greens at the Blue Course are tricky, this is the only one that verges on unfair.

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The par 4 12th requires a forced carry
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The intimidating approach on the par 4 12th

On a course with numerous short par fours, the 13th is the shortest at only 293 yards. Unlike the previous holes, however, I don’t recommend going for this green with driver as the risk outweighs the reward. For starters, this fairway is extremely generous up until about 230 yards, when bunkers encroach on both sides. Although wide, the right side of the fairway offers a more level approach. The green itself is guarded by a bunker and water on the left and shaved down areas on all the other sides. I can’t imagine many drivers holding this green.

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Tom Doak did an excellent job hiding parts of the fairway on the tempting par 4 13th

The 14th is the penultimate par 5 and my choice for best three-shotter on the course. At 510 yards, this dramatic uphill hole provides the most intimidating teeshot of the day with a massive forced carry over water. The golfer can choose how much he wants to chew off, as the further right you go the longer the carry. With plenty of fairway to the left, I don’t see why you’d even bring the water into play. Like the 2nd, this approach is difficult as the fairway tightens with vast bunkers on the left and trees to the right. Only the longest of golfers will be able to reach this green in two.

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The dramatic teeshot on the par 5 14th

Running back downhill parallel to 14, the 15th is a strong 398 yard par 4. Trees and sandy dunes line the right side the entire way, but the left is completely open in the form of the 14th fairway. About 60 yards short of this green awaits a mound of deep bunkers that shouldn’t be in play but act as an intimidation factor. This green runs left-to-right and features two tiers.

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Walking down the par 4 15th

As easy as the Blue Course begins, it finishes equally as difficult with a tremendous closing set of holes. This begins with the difficult 205 yard par 3 16th. Playing uphill and into the wind, this reverse redan requires a well-struck wood from most golfers. With little danger up by the green, this is an easy bogey but a difficult par.

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The brutal uphill par 3 16th

Epic! That’s all I have to say about the 525 yard 17th that plays close to 600 yards from the Tips. This uphill monster is grand is every sense of the word and reminds me of the fantastic 4th hole at Bethpage Black with its bunkering. While the fairway is generous, any miss is sure to find bunkers that line both sides. A gravel cart path bisects this fairway about 240 yards from the green and the hole plays uphill after this point. A series of four bunkers obstruct the fairway about 100 yards short of the green, forcing the golfer to decide whether to lay-up behind or ahead of them. In similar fashion to the 15th, this green has two tiers.

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Three accurate shots are needed to avoid the sand on 17
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Your final approach on the 17th

At 439 yards, the 18th is a superb finishing hole. This teeshot is blind, but know that bunkers line the entire right side of the hole. At about 250 yards from the tee, this fairway narrows and forms a speed slot, giving longer hitters a significant advantage on this lengthy par 4. Behind this green, the clubhouse is squeezed between two giant sand mounds.

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The approach on 18 with the clubhouse framed by mounds in the background

NOTE: I’d be remiss if I didn’t mention the 19th “Bye Hole” next to the clubhouse. Playing anywhere between 75 and 120 yards, this is a great hole in its own right requiring a carry over water and a bunker to reach the green. This hole is ideal for settling bets or challenging your caddie to a closest-to-the-pin. On a course defined by fun, this is a fitting ending.

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Best Par 3: 7th Hole, 176 yards, 12th handicap. Phenomenal. As beautiful as the picturesque 7th is, it’s equally as good of a design. The forced carry over water and a deep bunker entice golfers to go long here, but a back-to-front tiered green makes two-putting from the back of the green a difficult task. In addition, you’ll also have to account for the downhill effect.

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For many, this will be the most memorable hole at Streamsong

Best Par 4: 18th Hole, 439 yards, 3rd handicap. I’m a sucker for great finishing holes, and that’s exactly what you get at Streamsong Blue. As the longest par 4 on the course, golfers will get one more chance to rip it on this driver-friendly course. A speed slot rewards longer hitters by giving them a wedge in vs. a long iron.

Best Par 5: 14th Hole, 510 yards, 9th handicap. With the scariest teeshot of the day, the monstrous 14th plays uphill over water to a fairway that bends right. The golfer will be challenged the entire length of this hole, which yields anything from eagle to triple.

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The tricky lay-up on the par 5 14th

General Comments: The Blue Course shares its practice facilities, clubhouse, and a restaurant (Restaurant Fifty-Nine) with the sister Red Course. Over breakfast one day, we heard someone complaining about the driving range. While not the best range I’ve ever used, it is absolutely sufficient and what you’d expect from a course like this. You have unlimited NXT Tours and enough space to rip driver, so I really don’t see what that person was talking about. The short game facilities are also fantastic, with a full chipping/sand facility next to the range and a large putting green near the clubhouse.

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The range at Streamsong Red and Blue

We played the week before Christmas and the resort was rather empty so pace of play was strong (4:15 hours) considering the course is expansive and walking only. I would say the Blue Course is the most difficult walk of the three courses at Streamsong given its hilly terrain and I imagine pace of play slows down in peak season. Caddies are optional, but I recommend taking one, especially on your first round at each course. I would’ve been lost without you, Craig!

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Like the resort, the clubhouse at Streamsong Red/Blue is a modern design

Verdict: The Blue Course is my second favorite course at Streamsong, but would be the best course at the vast majority of golf resorts. This minimalist Tom Doak design is exceedingly fair and displays incredible hole variety, seamlessly intermixing both long and short holes. This is easily one of the best public courses in America and alone worth a trip to the incredible Streamsong Resort.


3 thoughts on “Review: Streamsong Resort – Blue Course

  1. Another detailed and accurate review. I agree that your 95 foot bomb putt birdie was the best shot I saw all year. A great resort! Dad

    Like

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