“I can’t believe we’re in Florida.”
You will say it. At some point during your stay at the Streamsong you will say these six words. Is that a compliment to the property? Certainly. Is it a knock on the rest of Florida? No comment! Most importantly, it underlines the point that once you drove into Streamsong, you escaped into a completely different world.
After the recent WGC concession, Sean Zak and I made the pilgrimage to Florida’s premier public golf destination. For the uninitiated, Streamsong is part of a new wave in high-end golf resorts that focus on great golf and getting the simple things right.
This is how we planned our trip:
Day 0: arrival
I had been in Bradenton, Florida all week covering the WGC concession, so I was already there. But I picked up Sean at Tampa Airport and from there we drove the 75 minutes to Streamsong. Dead easy.
Tampa International Airport is a 75-minute drive from Streamsong. Orlandos Airport is 90 minutes away. And access from the east coast of the state – West Palm, Ft. Lauderdale or Miami – means just a three hour road trip. It’s hard to believe that a place that feels so remote can be so easy to get to.
Day 1: the blue
Golfing: The first tee in the stream song Blue gives you the first and perhaps best opportunity to realize that you can’t believe you are in Florida. The 360-degree view from No. 1 shows some things that you would hardly expect from a golf course in the middle of the flattest state in America: differences in altitude, huge dunes and dramatic views. Tom Doak’s design begins on a 25 meter high dune that sets the tone for the upcoming course – and that’s a good thing.
The fun: Perch fishing. You can’t possibly be a worse perch fisherman than me, and even I had a catch to write home about (and a photo with it!). The pick-up directly at the reception and the departure at the lake is the perfect balance for a golf-heavy weekend.
The food: First, head to the rooftop bar to watch the sun go down with an aperitif cocktail in hand. Then take a shuttle back to the Red and Blue Course clubhouse, which is home to the Fifty-Nine restaurant. Get a juicy steak. You need some protein for the golf to come after all.
Day 2: the black
Golfing: Before you tee off at Streamsong Black, take a lap around the seven-hole roundabout, a short course 65 to 150 in length. It’s the perfect way to prepare for the big one too. The black itself is a design by Gil Hanse that feels transplanted from the Aussie Sandbelt. While the height differences are not as serious as with the blue, the tumbling landscape encourages a clever game of ground and rewards creativity. The black also offers ample birdie opportunities en route into play as the second nine have three par-5s, the wheeled par-4 14th and a pint-size par-3 15th.
The fun: After you finish at 18, you should settle any outstanding bets with one more trip to the roundabout. Then grab a cocktail and a putter and head to the gauntlet, the putting course right in front of the clubhouse.
The food: Once you’ve stretched your heart out, it’s time to dine at the Bone Valley Tavern. When you’re feeling hearty, take a dip in the Hummer Mac ‘n’ Cheese. If that’s not your jam, indulge in the mussels or fresh fish.
Day 3: the red one
The golf: Once you’ve seen the blue and black, it makes sense to finish off the red, which interweaves design elements from the other two. Bill Coore and Ben Crenshaw designed the Red, which works its way around the perimeter of the Blue. The red was my favorite of the three courses; it’s big, but it’s also smart and intimate.
After lunch in the clubhouse, we made our way to the airport, where we easily caught flights that brought us home in the evening. We suggest you stay longer, of course, if you can swing it. But it’s great to know that you can wrap up a full golf trip in just two or three nights, which makes Streamsong the easiest way to escape a world.
An important epilogue: A crucial element of the Streamsong experience is actually being centered on food, golf, and fun. Every course comes with half a snack and a craft beer: The Blue has the tacos and the Double Coast Lager from Tampa Bay Brewing. At Black you get a lobster roll and a gator lager. At Red, wash down a BBQ sandwich with a Sea Dog Bluepaw.
You will go and want more.
Dylan Dethier is Senior Writer for GOLF Magazine / GOLF.com. A native of Williamstown, Mass. joined GOLF in 2017 after fiddling around on the mini tours for two years. A graduate of Williams College in 2014 where he majored in English, Dethier is the author of 18 in America describing the year he lived off his car when he was 18 and in each state played a round of golf.