Construction of the Tom Doak course at the new Streamsong resort in central Florida is close to being finished.
Doak and his team completed the shaping work for all eighteen holes in early June, and the first six holes have been sprigged. The remainder will be grassed in July and August.
Streamsong’s other course, being designed by the firm of Bill Coore and Ben Crenshaw, is a little further away from completion.
“I'm no longer talking about the potential of the course to be excellent – I’m talking about what the finished product is going to be, and I'm more excited about that than ever,” Doak said.
The two courses at Streamsong occupy only a small part of the former phosphate mining site owned by the Mosaic Company, the world's leading producer and marketer of phosphate-based crop nutrients. Mosaic is developing the resort, located in a rural part of Polk County, between Tampa and Orlando, itself
“This is such a good piece of land for golf,” Doak said. “The variety of contours created by the mining process is unique for a project in Florida, or anywhere in the Southeast. I have been friends with Bill and Ben for many years, and it has been fun to be working right alongside them. I think it has brought out the best work in each of us.”
Doak said he’s particularly pleased with how the stretch of holes from the tenth to the thirteenth have turned out. Those holes occupy the flattest part of the property, and the designer found different solutions for each hole.
“The tenth was almost a completely featureless green site which just tilted a bit from left to right, and that presented a problem, because the other par three holes all have a left-to-right bias,” Doak said. “So our challenge was to build a hole for a right-to-left long iron shot without building anything obviously artificial.”
Doak's shapers, Eric Iverson and Mike McCartin, dug a very deep bunker at the left front of the green, so the approach feeds back into it like a whirlpool, and by angling the green away to the left so that a faded shot runs the danger of running across the green and off the back right side.
By contrast, the 300 yard thirteenth hole had the problem of too much sand – it plays along the side of a large lake to the left. The mining operation had left a very steep sandy bank more than 20 feet high running down to the lake, so that golfers wouldn't see the hazard coming, and would have no chance of recovery. A skinny green was built up at the existing grade, but 20 feet of sand was cut along the left side of the fairway up to the front of the green, so players who try to drive to the front of the putting surface must now risk a 20 foot deep bunker at the front left.
“Bill and Ben have told us it's now the coolest hole on the course, which is amazing to me, knowing what else we had to work with on the others,” Doak said.
Read about GCA's visit to Streamsong earlier this year.