The Gil Hanse Design of Streamsong Black PDF Print E-mail



By Jason Bruno

Photo by Tracey Hanse


It's widely known that there are more golf courses in the Sunshine State than

anywhere else in America, nearly 1300 in total. Quantity certainly can't be

mistaken for quality, but there are standouts in the land of links abundance.

Five years ago, The Mosaic Company created a next level golf experience when

they brought us Streamsong Red & Blue, raising the bar for what qualifies as

a WOW golf destination for the east coast of the United States (and especially

in Florida). In late September, Streamsong took it up another peg with the grand

opening of their Gil Hanse designed Black Course.








Photo by Larry Lambrecht

The Bone Valley Tavern and clubhouse at Streamsong Black designed by

Tampa based architect Albert Alfonso fits perfectly into the vast horizontal

landscape of the Black Course.






The opening of Hanse and Jim Wagner's Black course now puts Streamsong in

the rarified position as the only golf destination on earth that features a Coore/

Crenshaw, Tom Doak and a Gil Hanse layout all at one location. In our initial Blog

post just a few weeks ago we described the Grand Opening experience at the

resort's third offering, and in this edition we highlight many of the design

features by Hanse and his team - easily the most sought after firm in golf

course architecture today.




Rich Mack the executive VP of the Mosaic Company (who is also the visionary

and heartbeat behind Streamsong Resort), was eager when opening day finally

arrived: "The anticipation and buzz for this course has been remarkable. From

this expansive sandy site, Gil and his team have uncovered a dramatic course

that fits its bold landscape and flows as if it has been here for years. We are

ready to introduce Streamsong Black to the public and elevate our golf experience

with three must play courses that will rival the best golf venues in the world."




Photo by Larry Lambrecht

The par 73 Black Course plays 6759 yard from the black tees (which are one up

from the tips that play a mighty 7331 yards). After starting you out with a benign

par 5 on the first, the gorgeous 326 yard second is the first visual adrenaline rush

that grabs hold and announces itself as a true beauty. Just like many Gil Hanse

creations, this hole requires you to think and have a blast doing so. Here at the

second, he favors finesse over power. Challenging the left side here leaves a much

better angle to this elevated green that is angled left to right. Notice the classic

weathervane in the background that serves as a landmark on this big and bold




Although there is no shoreline within 70 miles, the firm and fast waves of Celebration

Bermuda turf and endless ripples of sand that make up the 300 acres of the Black

will have you favoring the ground game and contemplating the bounce - perhaps

more than you've ever experienced along the east coast of the United States. With

ample space off the box, you will hit more fairways and greens than usual, but the

task just begins once the flatstick is in hand.







Photo by Larry Lambrecht

Here on the 601 yard fourth, you get a good idea of just how boundless the

mini-verde putting surfaces and surrounds on the Black are. The height of cut

extends well beyond what is technically considered "the green". For example,

what you see above is probably 60-70% of actual green, but because the 11

acres of greens and surrounds are cut at the same height, for all intents and

purposes you're dealing with colossal sized greens and an experience not

commonly found in the U.S .


Hanse gives you an option off tee here at the fourth, chose the safer right fairway

and you face a tough uphill lay up, or chose the riskier left fairway and you have a

better view of the green. This may be a hole that gets tweaked down the road, it's

the one that can easily be a round wrecker, but doesn't need to be. In our opinion,

the hole is a bit too severe for the masses, moving the tees up might go a long way

towards solving the issue here. In all fairness to Hanse, he did say that there would

likely be a few modifications after reviewing early play.








Photo by Nile Young

The 177 yard fifth is another visual bolt of adrenaline, playing uphill it tempts

you to bail left (from what playing partner and noted course design expert

Bradley Klein referred to as a Royal St.George style Hill bunker), but resist

the urge. Short left is a decent chance for recovery, but as I found out, long

left is certain doom. This is the most severely undulated green on the course,

and that's saying plenty.








Photo by Larry Lambrecht

Another look at the fifth, this perspective gives the view looking back towards

the tee.








Photo by Larry Lambrecht

The deep greenside funnel bunker and green surrounds on the short 321 yard sixth

makes for an exciting and interesting scoring chance on this brilliant design.








Photo by Larry Lambrecht

The 158 yard par 3-seventh features a reverse redan design and an Aussie

sand belt look. The par 3's throughout the resort are memorable, this was

my selection as the best one shotter on the Black.







Photo by Larry Lambrecht

The 408 yard eighth plays longer than the yardage, Keep your tee shot left

center to avoid this right fairway bunker and the natural areas that surround









Among the 11 acres of super tightly mowed green complexes, is this two-

tiered punchbowl on the 408 yard ninth. A fantastic uber sized homage to

classic designer Seth Raynor. Not many greens anywhere are as impressive

or as fun to play as this one.










Photo by Larry Lembrecht

The 524 yard par 5 - tenth features this immense crumpled stream of sand and

turf remnants that pinches the layup landing area, demanding you to make a

choice whether to go for the green or stay well short of this ginormous hazard

that measures nearly 100 yards in length. This might be the most underrated

hole on the Black, but easily was one our favorites.










Photo by Larry Lambrecht

This portion of fractured sandy terrain between the 531 yard par 5 -twelfth

and the 463 yard par 4 -sixteenth fairway has been dubbed "The Glove" based

on its appearance when flying over the property.










By Larry Lambrecht

The par 4 -13th can play as a fairly straightaway hole or as dogleg right,

depending on which of the two greens are in play. It plays 409 yards to

the left green/421 yards to the right green.









By Larry Lambrecht

The 15th is the shortest hole on the Black, playing a mere 133 yards from the

tips. Pick the right club, although its broad from the left edge to the right, it's

only 24 paces deep - neither short or long provides an easy recovery.









By Larry Lambrecht

The 189 yard -17th plays downhill with a sideboard on the left that will feed

everything towards the center of the green. Doesn't appear that Hanse and

company had to move much earth to create this natural beauty.









Photo by Larry Lembrecht

In our blog feature regarding the opening day experience, I discussed the drama

that this 530 yard finale can and will bring to your match. There's very few forced

carries on the Black, and with a bail out area left, this technically isn't one either -

but it's definitely the one white knuckle finisher at the resort if you take it on.









The Roundabout, located between the driving range and the 9th tee features

several green complexes and practice holes for those who just cant get enough.

Created to give players multiple ways to test their short game, the Roundabout

also includes an alternative ninth green, giving players the option of a shorter

nine-hole loop back to the clubhouse.






The modern style clubhouse at Streamsong Black.






Ranging from 5293 yards to 7331 yards, there is a proper teeing ground for all.

The serene environment just begs you to walk the golf landscape, gaining the

full experience of the Black.









The two acre "Gauntlet" putting course that sits right outside the clubhouse,

is the perfect pre or post round gathering spot.




There may not be enough superlatives to describe the journey around the

Black, and all that makes up the experience on the grounds of its stand alone

parcel that's just a 2 minute shuttle ride from the main lodge. Gil Hanse and

his design team just simply nailed it. It's Gamble Sands caliber fun on the

scale of Sand Valley's Mammoth Dunes, with a Streamsong signature style.

Rarely does the third production ever get mentioned as the finest in a trilogy,

but the Black just might be that. By our assertion - an instant classic.





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