The Takeaway: While many people may call it a photo finish between the Red and Blue courses, the Red course comfortably crosses the finish line a couple of lengths ahead of the Blue in my book. With superior terrain, visuals, creativity, and variety, the Red course edges out the Blue course in virtually every design category. Coupled together, Streamsong is a must-visit destination and worthy of building an entire golf trip around. Grade A
Designer: Bill Coore and Ben Crenshaw in 2012
Cost: $125.00 - $260.00 (Walking caddie $90-$100/player plus gratuity, group caddie $25-$40/player plus gratuity) Click for current rates
Phone Number: (863) 428-1000
Course Website: Official Website - Visit Streamsong Resort (Red)'s official website by clicking on the link provided.
Directions: Get here! - 3000 Dunes Pass, Streamsong, Florida 33834
Accolades: Ranked 2nd in Florida on Golf Course Gurus' Best in State list.
What to Expect: Opened at the end of 2012, the owners of Streamsong hired two of the hottest course designers (Coore/Crenshaw and Tom Doak) in the game to tackle this remote property located in central Florida an hour southeast of Tampa. Bill Coore and Ben Crenshaw were given the property that became the Red course and designed one of the finest inland links courses in the country. Characterized by visually impressive terrain, demanding tee shots, and ridiculously creative greens, the Red course oozes with the kind of individuality that is rare to find in modern day design. The course comes to a climax at the 16th hole with the best Biarritz design I've seen since visiting the Course at Yale. The majority of patrons walk and are given the option of whether to utilize the services of a caddie or not. Groups that elect to take a cart are required to take a forecaddie with them for the day. In comparison to the Blue course, the Red course boasts more impressive water features, requires a more accurate driver, hosts more ingenious bunkering, and more creative use of yardage. Streamsong Red is truly a creative masterpiece and some of Coore and Crenshaw's finest work.
By the Numbers
Individual Hole Analysis
Signature Hole: 16th Hole – 208 Yard Par 3 – One of my favorite holes ever! I love Biarritz par threes and this one is an absolute show stopper. Featuring a gorgeous setting with a large sand dune on the right, water across the front, and attractive bunkering surrounding the perfectly shaped green; the 16th had me giddy the entire time I played it. The putting surface is huge (25 yards wide by 72 yards deep) and almost guarantees a 3-putt if you get on the wrong tier of the green and a difficult 2-putt when located in the Biarritz swell. The two modern designs I've played most recently with Biarritz holes are at Old Macdonald and here at Streamsong. In comparing the two it isn't even close; Coore and Crenshaw blow out Doak and Urbina's effort as the best Biarritz design in the modern era.
Best Par 3: 8th Hole – 147 Yards – Boasting perhaps the most creative green on the property, the reverse 'S' shaped putting surface is over 62 yards deep and just 8 yards wide when playing from one of the left teeing areas. From the right the green sits at a 45 degree angle and offers a much wider landing area through the middle of the putting surface and then small targets in the front left and back right portions. The tightest pin is located in the very front of the green where a sliver of an opening is provided while bunkers protect the right and water on the left. The short yardage, hazards, and creative green shaping make the 8th hole a ton of fun to play.
Best Par 4: 4th Hole – 330 Yards – Coore and Crenshaw's creativity comes through again on the short 4th hole where a 50 yards long, but narrow, bunker runs in the middle of the fairway and the mirrored green is bent around a pair of bunkers in the front. 265 yards of carry down the left-to-right sloping fairway will clear the center bunker from the back tees; a bunker that reminded me of a Jim Engh muscle bunker. In front of the green is a Principal's Nose style bunker that wedges well into the middle of the green and creates two distinct halves that are similarly shaped. The rear of the green is a large dune that provides some wind protection and an attractive backdrop. It is a great half par hole which will yield plenty of birdies.
Best Par 5: 7th Hole – 527 Yards – One of my favorite holes at Streamsong Resort and clearly the best par five on property, the 7th hole at the Red course features water up the entire left side of the hole and no less than a dozen bunkers to contend with. Hitting from an elevated tee to a fairway that gently moves downhill to the left makes it possible to hit the green in two, particularly if you can hit a draw with your drive. One of the most interesting thing about the hole is the green that is protected on the right by a substantial hill that blocks half the putting surface and becomes a menace to players that take the safe route down the right side of the fairway. Players willing to challenge the left side of the hole will open up the angle in the green a ton and offer 60 yards of depth to play with which is more than double the depth coming from the right. This is simply a great hole and shows Coore and Crenshaw's creativity and ability to not fall into the habit of designing the same hole course after course.
Birdie Time: 9th Hole – 312 Yard Par 4 – Birdies will be common on the 9th hole and anything worse than a par should be devastating. At just over 300 yards from the tips and a more than generous fairway, players can grip it and rip it with little fear of the consequences. A trio of bunkers front the green and the hole's greatest defense becomes the pin placement. The left side of the green is twice as deep as the right and should give all players the green light to go at the pin. Pins on the right feature much less putting surface to work with and slopes steeply off the back to a chipping area. As long as you carry the waste bunker that creeps in from the right, birdies here should come in flocks.
Bogey Beware: 12th Hole – 500 Yard Par 4 – This long par four features a generous fairway and plays slightly downhill as the fairway gently doglegs to the left late into the hole. A tee shot up the left side will help and take advantage of whatever roll is available in the fairway. A series of bunkers run up the right side of the fairway starting 60 yards out and continue along the green. These bunkers primarily are there as a last ditch effort to catch wayward approach shots before the head into the water that sits just beyond the fairway. With 500 yards of distance to cover, waste bunkering up the left side, and water to contend with on the approach, you'll definitely see more bogies than pars here.