Bill Coore is half of the design team of Coore & (Ben) Crenshaw, one of the hottest teams in golf architecture over the last two decades. Their original designs include Oregon’s Bandon Trails and Bandon Preserve, Nebraska’s Sand Hills and Sugarloaf Mountain in Clermont. They also did a refurbishing of the famed No. 2 course at Pinehurst, N.C.
Coore & Crenshaw also designed the Red course at Streamsong Resort south of Lakeland near Fort Meade, one of two courses at Florida's newest golf resort, scheduled to open by the end of the year. Built on an old phosphate mine owned by The Mosaic Company, Streamsong’s courses are among the most unique in Florida, with dunes, native grasses, lakes and elevation changes.
I talked to Coore last week about Streamsong, and his excitement for the project was palpable over the phone. Here’s a part of our chat:
VISIT FLORIDA: What were your first impressions of the project and the property?
COORE: "When The Mosaic Company called and they started describing it, I was thinking ‘gosh, I just can’t imagine there’s a really good site for golf there.’ I remember saying, ‘probably the last thing Florida needs is another golf course, why would we even think about doing this?’ They said, ‘Bill you may want to come look at this.’
When we drove out there -- Ben was not with me -- they took me around, we looked at different sites within that overall site. Some were interesting, some were dramatic, some were newly mined areas, pretty extreme. Then they drove me out to where the two courses are, I remember just looking at it with disbelief: ‘You’ve got to be kidding me. We’re here in Central Florida, you’ve got to be kidding me."
We don’t know how to describe this site. Parts of it that remind us of the sand hills of Nebraska, parts remind me of the dunes of Ireland, Scotland, parts in Long Island, a different dunes area. Yet it’s different than all of them, because it’s so rare to see sand dunes combined with lakes. Put it all together, it’s unlike anything I’ve ever seen."
VISIT FLORIDA: How will players distinguish your Red course from Tom Doak’s Blue course?
COORE: "They’re both courses meant to showcase that property. Both courses have very dramatic settings, spectacular situations for golf, yet both courses have their calm points. There’s probably far more similarities than differences, though there are some to the very observant person or the golfer who studies golf architecture. I think the two complement each other really well. If you can go play golf on those two courses, I think they both will allow you to play your game as opposed to dictating to you how you’re going to play. We think you’ll walk off saying that was pretty neat."
VISIT FLORIDA: The natural comparison for Streamsong will be Bandon Dunes, given the same architects, dramatic topography, isolated locations. But is that fair to Streamsong?
COORE: "As time goes by, Streamsong will establish its own reputation. That’s the goal. In the short term, being compared to Bandon Dunes is not a bad thing. That’s four of the best golf courses in America, perhaps the world. While the courses are very, very different, there is a common ground. In each case, there was the opportunity to be given extraordinary sites and to be allowed to create something that was totally geared to golf, not an amenity to some bigger-picture real estate development or whatever. ‘What’s the best golf you can create on this site?’ They’re both opportunities of a lifetime to anyone who’s in our business."
Municipal Golf Course