The least surprising award in golf for 2012 is out.
Streamsong Resort in Polk County, opening in late December, has the best new courses in the United States, according to Golf Magazine.
Of course, new courses in the United States aren’t sprouting up like they did 15 years ago, so Streamsong was all but a shoo-in for the magazine’s annual award. But as I recently wrote, Streamsong is a breathtaking golf experience that deserves every accolade thrown its way.
The resort is in the middle of nowhere – and that’s a selling point, not a criticism. Nestled on and around old phosphate mines well south of Lakeland, Streamsong’s two courses are unlike any others in Florida with its elevation changes, sand dunes (a byproduct of phosphate mining), lakes and native grasses.
The only other Florida complex I can compare it to is World Woods in Brooksville, though its two courses don’t have as much elevation change or quite the same remote location, with the Suncoast Parkway leading almost directly to its front gate and downtown Brooksville just 15 minutes away.
Streamsong takes a little more work to get to – just when you think you couldn’t get any farther from civilization, you keep driving – but the payoff is well worth it. Architects Tom Doak and the team of Ben Crenshaw and Bill Coore were hired to design the two courses, and the advance acclaim for their layouts at Streamsong is as strong as some of their other masterpieces.
It can be tough to distinguish between the simply named Red and Blue courses, but Golf Magazine gives the nod to Crenshaw and Coore’s Red by a nose for the best-new award. The Red course, the magazine says, has just a touch more drama compared to the Blue’s more natural feel. (The Blue got an honorable mention nod.)
I played most of the Blue course and a few holes of the Red on a preview visit in September but I can’t say which one I liked more. I’ll need to get back, which a lot of golfers will soon say after their first visit to America’s best new golf courses.