January 27, 2017 By: Bradley S. Klein – BOWLING GREEN, Fla. – Even at Streamsong Resort, which rests on a massive, 25-square-mile mining site, the newest addition is noteworthy for its vast scale.
Architect Gil Hanse’s Black Course, the resort’s third track, fills up a 300-acre stretch that wraps around the south side of the property. The land here is more foreseeable in one big vista, stretching two miles from west to east and transitioning elegantly through three distinct landscape rooms that Hanse describes as “valley, sand ridge and glove.”
By “glove,” he refers to a central stretch of open, low-lying terrain (holes 1-2, 7-11) with a steady uplift on the western side to dramatic, billowy sand ridges (holes 4-6) and a fascinating little formation nearly sunken in effect – think Tobacco Road in its complexity – at the far eastern end (holes 13-17). The drama of these large-scale landscape rooms is enhanced by the ease with which holes 3, 12 and 18 transition in and out of them.
Streamsong Black is bigger than the resort’s Red and Blue courses in par (73), back-tee yardage (7,566 yards), fairway acreage (86) and overall maintained turf (97 acres). It also looks and feels bigger, in large measure because the Black Course occupies one contiguous, uninterrupted space, broken up only by deep, Sand Belt-style bunkering inspired by Alister Mackenzie’s work in Melbourne, Australia.
“We were given a large-scale canvas to work on, and we tried to have the features and the scale of the golf course match the dimensions of the property,” Hanse said in an email. “Even with the large scale of the course, we have tried to build any number of strategies and subtleties into the design that may not be readily apparent to the eye. The contrast between bold features and small-scale nuance is something that we hope will make Streamsong Black appealing to the eye but also thoughtful on a level that will ask the golfer to make some compelling choices.”
Based on a recent tour, the Black’s grow-in has come along well, with its Miniverde greens and its Celebration Bermudagrass fairways and tees maturing nicely. The course won’t open until September, by which time the approach roads will be done, as will plantings in the roughs and the modernist, cube-like 12,000-square-foot clubhouse of overlapping steel and glass rectangles.
Streamsong Black includes a full practice range, something the resort badly needs.
There’s also a clever six-hole short course Hanse completed and a Himalayas-style putting course. It all makes for a major enhancement of a resort that already had established itself on the golf map.