Rater's notebook: Streamsong, Red Course
Sunday, February 9, 2014
A look at the Streamsong Red Course:
• Designers: Bill Coore and Ben Crenshaw
• Par 72, 7,148 yards (74.2 rating/130 slope)
1. Ease and intimacy of routing: 9
Coore and Crenshaw’s course forms a long, sinewy, continuous clockwise loop of nonreturning nines, with many walk-off/walk-on connections from green to tee. In part, it runs under towering lateral dunes. There is more dramatic terrain at the start and end, with a softer section at the far end of the layout. The back nine plays much longer and harder than the front.
2. Quality of feature shaping: 9
Meticulous attention to detail, with the outflow behind given as much TLC as the approach areas.
3. Natural setting and overall land plan: 8
There’s very little to orient yourself, with only the modernist clubhouse and distant resort hotel building as reference points. At times you feel like you’re in the Nebraska Sand Hills. It certainly doesn’t feel like central Florida. And in a rarity for an inland Florida site, it is subject to winds, though from no prevailing direction.
4. Interest of greens and chipping contours: 8
Big greens with lots of character for the angle of approach shots, but with less break than might seem to be the case once you’re actually putting. Many greens are raised slightly but approachable on the ground.
5. Variety and memorability of par 3s: 9
Approach shots range from a sand wedge on the narrow, well-bunkered eighth hole to a hybrid club on the dramatic 16th, which is a Biarritz on steroids nestled into the hollow of a gnarly dune.
6. Variety and memorability of par 4s: 8
Amazing range of holes and shots, with three short holes nearly reachable from the tee and several others that require bold, booming second shots.
7. Variety and memorability of par 5s: 7
There are lots of widths, different approach angles, water creeping in along landing areas and some lovely, subtle touches – conic dunes that make one approach all but blind, and ground-game swales that must be “read for contour” and played accordingly from the fairway.
8. Basic conditioning: 8
All Bermudagrass surfaces – Tifdwarf greens and 419 fairways – are well established. Bunkers have a scruffy, loose-edged look and bleed out almost imperceptibly into surrounding sandy waste areas with cogongrass
interspersed, and no maintained traditional rough at all.
9. Landscape and tree management: 6
Low-slung understory throughout, with no mature trees in play, so that the place has a raw, seemingly unkempt look on the periphery.
10. “Walk in the park” test: 8
For all the ability to see across much of the site, you actually never have a sense of what’s next, so that there’s a lot of anticipation and excitement as each puzzle presents itself.
Lots of different looks, from low valley to foothills to playing over very rugged ground, with wide berth given to angles so that position always matters. A strong top-100 contender.