Streamsong Continues Its Ascent as a Golf Mecca PDF Print E-mail


Story and photos by Jason Bruno

Just over a year after the official opening of Streamsong Resort's third

layout - Gil Hanse's Black Course, we returned to the resort to check

out the scene at the only destination on earth that can lay claim to a

portfolio of linksy landscapes crafted by the design teams of Tom Doak,

Coore Crenshaw and Hanse (with Jim Wagner).




By now you probably already know the story, but for us it began back in

May of 2012 when we toured the Red & Blue courses with original Project

Manager Tom Sunnarborg during the turf grow-in period (8 months before

the official opening), it was obvious that Streamsong was already well

beyond extraordinary long before a round had ever been played. It's been

nearly six years since we watched Coore, Crenshaw, Doak (and the man

with the vision behind it all) Mosaic's Rich Mack hit the ceremonial opening

tee shots. Sandscapes draped with enormous dunes left to evolve in nature

after phosphate mining was completed several decades ago - discarded by

one industry only to become a masterpiece in another. All themed in width

and angles on the firmest Bermuda turf you could imagine. For any avid

linkster either living in or traveling to the Sunshine State, it was and still

is hard to fathom this was even a possibility in Central Florida, and perhaps

the best part - Rich Mack made sure that it was accessible to everyone who

could make the trek to this remote location in Polk County.







After the initial opening of those 36 holes and the resort's lodge, Streamsong

could have rested on the accolades (both Red & Blue courses reaching Top

100 ranking status), but they didn't. Mack's vision moved forward another

notch, hiring Hanse to design the Black Course, which was largely a flat

parcel that lacked the built-in features given to Doak and Coore/Crenshaw

previously. What came out of the process was a big and bold Aussie sandbelt

style design, a two-acre putting course called "The Gauntlet" and 7 hole par 3

gem dubbed the "The Roundabout". It's an obsessed golfers dream hangout,

an anything goes practice spot that can be played from different tees to a

variety of hole locations. Easily one of our new personal favorite vibes in golf.





As pure as it gets, this par 3 playground allows and encourages Play

from any teeing ground to the target you desire. We could have spent

an entire day on Gil Hanse's eclectic 1,688 yard 7 hole beauty. The fourth

hole pictured above is the longest of the lot playing 160 yds over a gully

that fronts the green.






For those who have yet to visit the resort, allow for some links creativity in

your game. Although not a true links entity based on its inland location, the

3 routings provide plenty of proper "ground game" options. High spinning

lob wedge shots around these green complexes are often the toughest to pull

off, especially when a flatstick can be used from nearly anywhere within

50 yards. The likelihood of losing a golf ball is slim due to very generous

fairway widths throughout. Playability and options keep all players in the

game, while rewarding those with the skill set to pull off shots that reward

a better angle of approach. Firm and fast is the theme here, tight lies are

the norm, and although each layout at the resort has evolved from the same

minimalist ethos, that's where the similarities end. Each differs in how it

challenges you to score.




Blue 10th green complex




The Blue is a bombers paradise, but inside 100 yards and on the par 3's it's

a completely different story. Extreme bunkering that guards many tucked pin

locations requires a deft combination of pinpoint accuracy and creativity on

Doak's large confounding surfaces. This combined with tight Bermuda lies

in greenside swales makes saving par the exam equivalent of trying to destroy

a horcrux. For those who are genuine links enthusiasts or who want to express

their inner "Seve", the Blue is likely your flavor of choice.








Biarritz par 3 - 16th on the Red Course


The Red has been called by many as their favorite routing at the resort, and

with good reason. Bill Coore and Ben Crenshaw created a superb blend of

visual stimuli from each tee box, all while challenging the ball striker in you

at the same time. The green surrounds require a fair bit of imagination, but

without torturing your scorecard. If you strike it relatively well, you will have

chances to score all day on the Red. Holes 15 thru 18 are without a doubt

the best closing stretch at Streamsong. After numerous trips around each

over the last half dozen years, the Red has emerged as my personal choice.







Punchbowl 9th on the Black







Black 12th




Gil Hanse and Jim Wagner's Black Course is every bit as unique as the first

two designs at the resort, perhaps even more so. The vibe at the Black

Course complex (which is located just a brief 2 minute ride from the lodge)

is one the great scenes in American resort golf. The streamlined horizontal

clubhouse framed in black is home to the Pro Shop & Bone Valley Tavern.

The "Gauntlet" (a two putting course), along with the "Roundabout" and

driving range are all also part of the expansive Black Course compound.


As for the course design, it very well may be the best and most memorable

at the resort. Similar to Blue in that each challenge comes as you get closer

to your target, the green surrounds and putting surfaces on the Black are all

one height of cut (meaning the greens will appear and play larger than anything

you've probably ever previously seen or experienced. After our second spin on

the Black, I understand what many have expressed to me regarding their

frustration with the scale and severity of the greens undulations. Colleague

Ryan Adams (PGA Magazine) and I agreed that the Hanse team may need to

come back and modify a half dozen or so greens (for example the magnificent

uphill par 3 - 5th has very few truly playable pin locations, and the par 4 - 13th

(that has two greens), needs its left green to be completely redesigned, It's too

severe for its own good. The finishing 18th is a masterful hole design, but the

green is just too shallow to hold even a high soft approach with a long iron or

hybrid. However, designs like the short uphill par 4 - 2nd and the "Punchbowl"

9th are priceless gems that make the Black an absolute must play. With a few

needed tweaks the Black can be even better and more playable. Be sure when

you walk off of the Punchbowl to stop by the "Tin Can" and order the lobster &

shrimp roll, you can thank me later.






The "Tin Can" halfway house at Streamsong Black







*My outside the box suggestion on how to get the most enjoyment when

playing the Black Course - play your round with friends in a match play,

best-ball or skins game format. If you're going to play in traditional

grind it out stroke play, just be prepared to have more 3 (and 4) putts

than you may have ever experienced.






photo courtesy of Streamsong Resort

The lodging accommodations and resort cuisine at Fifty-Nine, P205 and Bone

Valley Tavern were spot on as always. Director of Golf Scott Wilson and his

staff continue to provide a truly superb golf experience. Whichever layout you

favor, it's a given that you'll leave the resort knowing that you just experienced

one the world's true golf meccas. We can't wait to see what Rich Mack and the

folks at Streamsong have in store for the next chapter . . .












Photo courtesy of Streamsong Resort


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DeChambeau Wins Shriners PDF Print E-mail


Bryson DeChambeau notched his fifth career win Sunday in Las Vegas

Las Vegas - Saturday night holding a share of the 54 hole lead at the

Shriners for Children Open, Bryson DeChambeau was rooting on the

Las Vegas Knights hockey team, cranking up their famous air horn -

whipping the crowd into a frenzy. By Sunday evening, it was the same

Vegas faithful that cheered on DeChambeau's victory. The win was

his fifth career title and his third in five starts on the PGA Tour (it was

his fourth since June when he captured Jack Nicklaus' Memorial at

Muirfield Village).


Dealing with a blister that tore open Saturday night, DeChambeau

locked in his focus (after having the training staff tape it up before the

final round). His final round 66 included an eagle on the pivotal par 5

sixteenth propelling him to -21, winning by a single stroke over defending

champion Patrick Cantlay.


For those still doubting his unorthodox methods DeChambeau offered this,

"Everybody is unique. Everybody does it in a different way. I believe I found

a way that works really, really well for me and it allows me to be super

consistent week in and week out."


Sam Ryder finished solo third (-19) after a final round 62. Rickie Fowler

finished four shots back after firing a Sunday 63 to finish in a tie for

fourth with Abraham Ancer and Robert Streb.












Xander Shauffele Wins HSBC Champions PDF Print E-mail


Xander Schauffele celebrates after winning the WGC-HSBC Champions in China

Shanghai, China - Starting the final round 3 shots behind 54 hole leader Tony

Finau at the World Golf Championships HSBC Champions, Xander Schauffele

fired a final round 68, getting hot down the stretch making 3 straight birdies

(two to finish regulation and a third on the first hole of the playoff) to defeat

Finau in Shanghai.


At just 25, the start of Scauffele's career has been overshadowed by the

success of Jordan Spieth and Justin Thomas, but as a rookie he challenged

last June at Erin Hills during the U.S Open (finishing 5th), then qualified for

the Tour Championship and beat the field of top 30 (in the Fedex Cup standings)

at East Lake. In season two, Schauffele was winless, but he did contend at

TPC Sawgrass and finished fifth at the Open Championship at Carnoustie.


With rounds of 66-71-69-68 (-14) Schauffele (and Finau) finished four shots

ahead of defending Champion Justin Rose who was solo third after posting

a final round 72.


"I was definitely in sort of an attack mode, and I was hitting good shots

all day, making good putts. I was doing everything that I needed to do,"

Schauffele said. "It was a finish we needed, and it feels good to clutch

up when necessary."















Brooks Koepka Wins CJ Cup - Becomes World No.1 PDF Print E-mail



Brooks Koepka celebrates after winning the CJ Cup and becoming No.1 in the World.

Jeju Island, South Korea - Brooks Koepka closed out the CJ Cup in grand

style with a 29 on the inward side to finish off the field at Nine Bridges. His

8 under par 64 final round (21 under par total) capped off his third win of 2018

and put an exclamation to his Player of the Year award (he received just last

week from Jack Nicklaus). With the win, Koepka has now taken over the

revolving door otherwise known as World's No.1 ranked player - supplanting

fellow Jupiter resident Dustin Johnson.

Early on Sunday, the lead seemed up for grabs with Gary Woodland

challenging Koepka. Woodland kept applying the pressure, tying Koepka

again after a birdie on the sixteenth, but Koepka put the hammer down

and took control. Koepka was making a mess of the sixteenth, but then he

chipped in for birdie, a huge momentum shift as Woodland missed a par

putt on the seventeenth - game over. Woodland's 63 was good enough for

solo 2nd and 17 under par finish.

Ryan Palmer and Rafa Cabrera Bello finished tied for 3rd at -15.

For Brooks Koepka, the win was his fifth PGA Tour victory and twelfth

worldwide. It was his third title in his last eleven starts, enough to bring

him the World No.1 ranking. "To be No.1 is something I've dreamed of as a

kid," Koepka said. "I don't think this one is going to sink in. I'm so excited

right now, you have no idea, I just can't wait to go play again."

Next up for Koepka is the HSBC Champions in China.















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