An Overview: Located in desolate central Florida, Streamsong Resort opened in 2012 on an old reclaimed phosphate mine. There are currently three courses on the property (Streamsong Red, Streamsong Blue, and Streamsong Black) with plans for additional courses in the works. Streamsong Resort is arguably the hottest golf resort in America during the winter months, and all three courses rank highly on national public course rankings.
Getting There: Much has been made about Streamsong’s location in the middle of nowhere and this is true to some degree. Once you leave Tampa’s city limits, you immediately find yourself in a vast wasteland that appears more akin to Kansas than Florida. Streamsong’s isolation is certainly a detractor for some, but I will say that Streamsong is actually much more accessible than other golf resorts (Bandon especially). We flew into Tampa, which is about an hour west of the Resort. Another option is to fly into Orlando, about an hour and a half north. For those of us on the East Coast, Streamsong is undoubtedly one of the easier golf resorts to access.
Lodging: The majority of golfers stay on-site at the Resort, a beautiful modern design that opened in 2013. The 216 rooms are spacious with beautiful views of the surrounding swamps from every window. As far as amenities go, the Resort has a beautiful pool, secluded grotto-styled spa, and fitness center. For those that don’t golf, skeet-shooting, fishing, and nature trails are enticing options.
I must say this – golf is the main focus at Streamsong Resort. For families with only one golfer or little kids, Streamsong probably isn’t the best option. My sister and mom drove an hour to the beach because they had already gone to the pool twice.
Food & Drink: The closest gas station/supermarket to Streamsong is about 30 minutes away, so you’re almost forced to eat and drink on campus. This isn’t at all a bad thing, as the five restaurants at Streamsong are fantastic. At the Black Course, the Bone Valley Tavern is a gastropub with views overlooking the course and its Gauntlet putting green. The Red/Blue Courses have Restaurant Fifty-Nine, another solid dining option great for post-golf. At the Resort itself, you have two restaurants – P2O5, a humorous name for another solid spot, and Sottoterra, the fanciest restaurant on property. I am especially fond of Fragmentary Blue, a bar on the roof of the Resort that offers some spectacular views of the courses and surrounding phosphate mines.
Course Impressions: Without going into too much detail, I was extremely impressed by the three courses at Streamsong. All three are designed in a minimalist fashion, with sandy mounds dictating the style of hole. Streamsong Red is considered the best course at the resort and I agree – the hole variety and drama it presents is world-class. The Black Course is my least favorite of the three simply because the huge greens are too tricked out for my liking.
Most importantly, Streamsong’s courses are defined by fun. Compared to the exceedingly challenging Wisconsin golf trip, Streamsong’s courses have wide fairways, very few actual hazards, and plenty of opportunities for birdies. I believe it was Gil Hanse who said something to the extent of, “The game of golf needs more fun in it. These courses are for the rusty Northeastern golfer to come down in the winter and have fun.” In a time where golf architecture is trending towards making courses as long and hard as possible, Streamsong is a refreshing change of pace.
Final Verdict: The buzz surrounding Streamsong Resort is there for good reason; with three unique, championship courses and a stunning modern resort, Streamsong is indeed the Bandon Dunes of the South. Streamsong is arguably the best winter golf getaway in America, and every golfer should try to make it here at least once. For non-golfers, however, Streamsong’s isolation might be an issue.
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