Adam Lawrence reports from the opening event of an exciting new venue in central Florida.
The new Streamsong resort, located half way between Orlando and Tampa in central Florida, has officially opened.
The resort's two courses, knows as the Red and Blue, have been created by Coore and Crenshaw and Renaissance Golf Design respectively. Mining and fertiliser giant Mosaic is the developer.
The Streamsong site, as GCA has reported in the past, is far from the stereotype of pancake flat Florida. "On my first sight of the property, someone asked me what I thought," Blue course designer Tom Doak told a press conference at the opening. "I said, 'Well, I think Florida would have been about the 47th state I would have guessed I was in'."
Over many years, over 100 million tonnes of phosphate rock were extracted from the property, equivalent to more than 60 million tonnes of fertiliser. The mining, which was carried out with huge draglines, separated the phosphate from the sand, and then dumped the latter in huge piles. Weathering over a period of time turned the sand piles into dramatic dune-like formations, some more than 50 feet high.
Mosaic's Rich Mack, who originally conceived the project, said the key aim was to show the company's commitment to the sites and communities that had supported it. "At Mosaic, we reclaim after we mine, into uplands, wetlands and forested areas, but Streamsong is about making a statement," he said. "It's about economic vitality. It's about job creation and it's about showing the world, our neighbours, our local communities, the state of Florida and beyond what an organisation can do if it put its mind to it."
Uniquely, Doak and Coore had to route the courses jointly, as the amount of dramatic land available was only just big enough for 36 holes. This meant that each architect had some holes he had identified on the other's course. The two firms also built the courses concurrently, and Doak admitted both crews had sneaked peeks at what the other was doing. "We've learned that our styles weren't quite as similar as everybody thought," he said.
Streamsong's clubhouse includes a small number of guest rooms, but the resort's main accommodation, a lodge with 216 rooms, will open in November. Mack said the company wanted the resort to be a pure golf experience, though it will also feature spa and conferencing facilities. "We are working to ensure we have the right culture of golf at Streamsong - that means authentic, hard and fast playing conditions, a strong caddy programme, and not an over-commercialised property," he stressed.