Black Course (Gil Hanse design)

Streamsong has become an annual pilgrimage as part of my PGA show experience.  It is actually the highlight of my trip every year.  This year was no different.  The highly anticipated Black Course which opened late fall 2017 didn’t disappoint.  Gil Hanse designed a bigger, bolder, and better course on the Streamsong property.  It plays and looks similar to the other courses, but has a different feel from start to finish.  Streamsong was already the best pure golf destination in Florida, and the addition of the Black course made it even better.
1. Bigger
You immediately recognize the volume of land that Streamsong Black covers.  It sprawls in almost every direction with huge fairways, giant greens and wide expanses that can be seen from the clubhouse.  Once you get out on the course you often get glimpses of multiple hole which really makes this course feel big.  This course is not about hitting fairways or hitting greens as much as it is being in the right spots on the fairways or greens.  You have to go pretty crooked to miss these massive fairways, but avoiding the bunkers or certain sides of the fairways is key.  Finding the green in regulation is no guarantee of par.  3 putts come into play on most greens because of their size and undulation.

2. Bolder
Everything at Streamsong Black felt bold.  There were numerous risk/rewards, there are holes with multiple green and fairways, there are crazy bunkers everywhere, there are putting surfaces like you’ve never seen before, there are forced carries, there are blind approaches, and for much of the round it just felt like they were using ALL CAPS on the course design.

3. Better
Rating all three course reminds me of trying to rate the courses at Bandon Dunes; everyone likes something different so there are many different opinions.  You can’t go wrong with any course on property since it really is the best golf in FL, but I think Black became my new favorite at Streamsong.  I liked the greens the best of the 3 courses and thought that the design is the most unique of the 3.  I think I’d go Black, Red, Blue.   I think Red is the most difficult, Blue has the wildest greens and hole 7, while black is the best overall golf experience.

4. Windmill
It isn’t one of those massive wind turbines that dot the landscapes for generating power, but a simple antique windmill that basically became the course logo and visual reference on holes 1-11.  It just makes the course feel “old” even if it just opened.  You play close to it on hole 2, 7 and 9.

5. The Tin Can
Food stops on the course are getting more attention than they did in the past.  Grabbing a hot dog at the turn at the clubhouse bar is becoming a thing of the past.  New courses especially are realizing that there are more design options if you don’t return to the clubhouse mid round.  But for most golfers, 4+ hours is going to require some refueling, especially at Streamsong since you’ll be walking.  The Tin Can offers great tasting and unique Empanadas at a fair price.  You don’t need a full meal, just some quality food to get you through the rest of the round.

6. New Clubhouse
Streamsong Black isn’t that far away from Streamsong Red/Blue courses, ( you can actually see the other courses) but the start and finish of the Black course demanded a new clubhouse and practice facility.  The new clubhouse is an awesome design, similar to the original one at the Red/Blue course.  It also works well to spread out the traffic of the 3 courses.  It just wasn’t going to work to have all golfers on property to play out of one clubhouse.

7. Gauntlet, Roundabout and Practice Area
Don’t overlook the fun additions near the Black course called the Gauntlet and Roundabout.  The Gauntlet is an 18 hole putting course that can be played before or after you round or even just as a stand alone family experience.  Grab a beer from the bar(just a few steps away) and enjoy a fun putting experience.   The Roundabout is a free flowing 7 hole practice area.  If time allows I’d start here if you haven’t played “links” style golf like Streamsong.  It will prepare you nicely for hitting off the turf and navigating the greens.  There also is an expansive “traditional” practice area with a wide range, huge chipping green and large putting area.

8. The Experience
Streamsong is a golf experience.  It can be done with a quick in-and-out from Orlando or Tampa, but if you have the time spending more than 1 day at the resort will enhance the experience.  The lodging, spa, fishing and restaurants all offer a relaxing vacation in the middle of nowhere FL.  Playing 36 holes in a day, taking caddies, relaxing around the fire, sitting on the chairs overlooking 18 and hitting shots on the betting hole will all part of great experience.  Firm, fast and fun golf is part of playing at Streamsong.  Playing with my friends from @PluggedInGolf made the day even better.

9. Streamsong Red and Blue
We all like a great 18 hole course, but 54 holes of awesome golf is even better.  Considering the travel needed to get to Streamsong, it is ideal when you can play more than just 18 holes.  The Red is awesome and the Blue is a wild ride with many picturesque holes.  So don’t just plan a few hours for Streamsong, plan a couple days to really take in all the great golf they are offering.

If you live in the north and see snow for multiple months out of the year, Streamsong is the perfect winter getaway for you and your golf buddies.  54 holes of awesome “links” golf.  You can pick your favorite after playing them all, but I prefer the new Black course.

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