“I can’t believe we’re in Florida.”
You’re gonna say it. At some point during your Streamsong stay, you will say those six words. Is that a compliment to the property? Definitely. Is it a knock on the rest of Florida? No comment! Mostly it underscores the point that once you’ve driven into Streamsong you’ve escaped into an entirely different world.
On the heels of the recent WGC-Concession, Sean Zak and I made the pilgrimage to Florida’s foremost public golf destination. For the uninitiated, Streamsong is part of a new wave in high-end destination golf resorts that focus on great golf and on doing the simple things right.
Here’s how we planned our trip:
Day 0: Getting there
I’d been in Bradenton, Fla., all week covering the WGC-Concession, so I was already local. But I picked up Sean at the Tampa airport and from there we drove the 75 minutes to Streamsong. Easy peasy.
Tampa International Airport is a 75-minute drive from Streamsong. Orlando’s 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 is so simple to get to and from.
Day 1: The Blue
The golf: The first tee at Streamsong Blue will give you the first and perhaps best opportunity to remark that you can’t believe you’re in Florida. The 360-degree view from No. 1 showcases a few things you’d hardly expect from a golf course in the middle of America’s flattest state: Elevation changes, giant dunes and dramatic views. Tom Doak’s design begins atop a 75-foot dune that sets the tone for the course to come — and that’s a good thing.
The fun: Bass fishing. You can’t possibly be a worse bass fisherman than me and even I came away with a catch to write home about (and a picture to go with it!). Pick-up’s right by the front desk and getting out on the lake is the perfect way to balance out a golf-heavy weekend.
The food: First, head up to the hotel’s rooftop bar to watch the sun sink low with a pre-dinner cocktail in hand. Then catch a shuttle back to the Red and Blue course’s clubhouse, which houses Restaurant Fifty-Nine. Get a juicy steak. You need some protein for the golf to come, after all.
Day 2: The Black
The golf: Before you tee it up at Streamsong Black, take a loop around the seven-hole Roundabout, a short course with yardages ranging from 65 to 150. It’s the perfect way to get geared up for the big course, too. The Black itself is a Gil Hanse design that feels transplanted from the Aussie Sandbelt. While the elevation changes aren’t as severe as the Blue, the tumbling landscape encourages a clever ground game and rewards creativity. The Black also provides ample birdie chances on the way in, as the back nine features three par-5s, the drivable par-4 14th and a pint-sized par-3 15th.
The fun: After you finish out on 18, consider settling any outstanding bets with another trip to the Roundabout. Then grab a cocktail and a putter and take to the Gauntlet, the putting course directly outside the clubhouse.
The food: Once you’ve putted your hearts out, head in to dine at the Bone Valley Tavern. If you’re feeling hearty, dive into the lobster mac ‘n’ cheese. If that’s not your jam, get involved in the mussels or fresh fish.
Day 3: The Red
The golf: Once you’ve seen the Blue and the Black, it makes sense to finish on the Red, which weaves together design elements of 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 grand in scale but remains clever and intimate, too.
After lunch at the clubhouse, we headed for the airport, easily catching flights that got us home by the evening. We’d encourage you to stick around longer, of course, if you can swing it. But it’s great knowing you can pack in a full golf trip in just two or three nights, making Streamsong the easiest way to get a world away.
One important postscript: A crucial element of the Streamsong experience is actually located at the center of food, golf and fun. Each course has a halfway snack and a craft beer to pair with it: At the Blue, that means tacos and Tampa Bay Brewing’s Double Coast Lager. At the Black, you get a lobster roll and a Gator Lager. At the Red you’ll wash down a BBQ sandwich with a Sea Dog Bluepaw.
You’ll leave wanting more.