In roughly six years, Streamsong has gone from a phosphate mining wasteland in central Florida to the only resort in golf with courses designed by these three celebrated, modern-minimalist firms.
The Black, a par 73 of 7,566 yards set to debut September 28, counters Doak's wild greens on Streamsong Blue and the demanding tee shots dreamed up by Coore & Crenshaw on Streamsong Red with plenty of cool architectural twists. Hanse held nothing back, molding a massive sandy canvass into what could become the most popular spot for golfers at the resort.
Operating out of a separate clubhouse currently under construction, Streamsong Black will be home to 18 holes, a full practice facility, a practice loop consisting of four greens (two of them double greens) called the "Roundabout", and a ginormous putting green called the "Gauntlet", an ode to the Himalayas putting course at St. Andrews in Scotland. The land for the "Roundabout" can also be used as an alternative ninth hole, leading players back to the mostly glass-walled clubhouse.
As for the course itself, speed slots, backboards and humps sculpted by Hanse's shapers promote a ground game. Separating the Celebration Bermudagrass fairways from the Miniverde greens will be a buffer zone of Miniverde. In many cases, players won't know where greens begin and end.
Hanse peppered unique elements throughout: A terrifying lone bunker next to the sixth green, a drivable par 4 of only 299 yards at no. 14, another par 4 with a hillock fronting a semi-blind green at no. 8, and a split fairway on the 13th hole that leads to two separate greens. This hole mimics the no. 8 at Pine Valley. It was created after a "soft" request by Richard Mack, the Executive Vice President and Chief Financial Officer of Mosaic, the mining company that owns Streamsong.
Best of all is the ninth green, a blind punchbowl hidden by a ridge. A windmill, transported from another spot on property and rebuilt behind the green, serves as the guide. Great anticipation will accompany the walk up that hill, wondering where the ball came to rest.
Water really only comes into play a couple places, a stream crossing the difficult par-5 fourth hole and a pond at the risk-reward par-5 18th hole.
Like Streamsong Red and Streamsong Blue, the Black will be walking only in high season with carts available in the summer. An extended grow-in will ensure that when it opens, the Black will already be one of the best courses in Florida, if not America. The above photos were taken at the end of January, 2016, about nine months before the course officially opens.