The most memorable golf hole I played this year? I couldn’t see it

alan bastable playing streamsong blue in a dense fog

The par-3 7th at Streamsong Blue — as best we can tell.

Connor Federico

On visits to Scotland and Oregon, I’ve played golf in fog so thick that it was difficult to make out the outlines of the holes. But the fog that greeted three of my colleagues and I at Streamsong Resort, in central Florida, earlier this year was on another level. Actually, it made us feel like we were playing on another planet. So soupy was the condensation in the air during three early-morning rounds in March that we couldn’t see much more than about 20 yards in front of us for the first half of each round.

We were in Florida, but if you had told us this was Frankfurt or Florence, we’d have been inclined to believe you. The fairways, the greens, the bunkers, the sandy sprawls, the towering dunes that define this wondrous piece of property — we could see none of it. Streamsong was Streamgone.

Sadly, after two mornings of fog-fighting, it quickly became clear to us that our third and final morning would offer no reprieve. When we hiked up to the first tee at the Tom Doak-designed Blue course, we spotted an arrow that one of our caddies had playfully drawn on the tee box dew.

“Hit it that way,” he said, taking some measure of glee in our mystified states.

The fairway’s out there somewhere. Alan Bastable

That way could have been 180 degrees from the correct line, but we had little choice but to trust our looper’s advice and blindly bang our balls into the great unknown. After hitting our drives, we strolled down the fairway and — if memory serves — found three of our four balls, which felt like a win. And so it went for the first six holes: caddie conference, swing, walk, find, repeat. It wasn’t all bad. Sure, we missed out on the Blue course’s considerable eye candy but not seeing any trouble areas helped block out negative swing thoughts. The fog was surprisingly freeing.

Given this was my first time on the Blue, I didn’t know what I was missing — that is, until we arrived on the tee at the par-3 7th. If you’ve browsed any Streamsong marketing materials or read even just a little bit about the resort — which is home to two other regulation courses, the Red, by Bill Coore and Ben Crenshaw, and the Black, by Gil Hanse and Jim Wagner, along with an inventive new Coore and Crenshaw short course called The Chain — chances are you’ve seen the 7th hole, which is not only among the most photogenic par-3s in Florida but also in all of golf.

From 200 yards from the tips, the tee shot plays downhill and over water to a sprawling green that sits snugly at the bottom of a dune like a ski village might at the base of a mountain. It’s one of those greens that is so natural in its setting that it feels like it’s been there forever — and one of those holes that if you make only one good swing all round, you want it to come on this tee.

Yet when we clambered up to the tee on this magnificent one-shotter, we saw…nothing. I mean, nothing. No water, no footbridge that connects tee to green and most assuredly no green. With no visibility, it’s one thing to rip driver toward the expanse of a fairway, but quite another to hit such an exacting iron shot over a forced carry. Not that you could tell by my playing partners, all three of whom fearlessly stepped in and hit their balls to where their caddies had directed them: to the right side of a green that pitches hard right to left. Three swings, three nods of approval.

My turn.


Streamsong Blue’s 7th hole in good conditions… Larry Lambrecht
…and the author’s view of it. Connor Federico

“Another good one, right?” said my colleague, Josh.

The phrase was delivered much more as a question than a statement.

“Maybe a little right,” my caddie said, “but it should kick right.”

Right?! I thought. I was convinced I had tugged the ball left of the green.

“Left,” I said, slightly miffed that my caddie’s read could be so far off.

“Left,” another of my colleagues, Darren, corroborated.

“Yeah, but it started right,” Josh shot back.

“Started left, went left,” I said about a shot that I had tracked for all of one second before it disappeared into the abyss.  

“We’ll see,” one of the caddies said.

If you’re going to stop for a foursome photo on the Blue course, on most days the 7th tee is the spot to do so. This was not most days, so we handed our irons back to our caddies and trotted down the slope, over the water and up to green. It didn’t take me long to spot my ball — on the back right of the green. I was stunned. My caddie was not.

Fair to say my ensuing three-putt also came as no surprise to him.

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