Mosaic’s Streamsong Resort: Central Florida’s new hidden golf gem

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Built by one of the world’s largest phosphate companies, central Florida’s newest luxury resort offers a modern hotel, spa, award-winning golf courses and sand — lots of sand.

In fact, Mosaic’s Streamsong Resort, which opened two courses and clubhouse in 2012, uses more than 15 million cubic yards of sand. Last month, Mosaic announced the launch of its newest 216-room lodge in Bowling Green, something closer to a cattle ranch than a Disney attraction.

Streamsong is not easy to find, a trip from Tampa includes a sharp turn at a BBQ shack, and a journey across a cow field, reports Tamara Lush of the Associated Press. A simple metal sign is the only clue you have arrived.

Grass-covered dunes and blue lakes greet visitors, with hills, dips and practice greens. A contemporary hotel, with a slightly curved construction, sits on a lake. The scene is both rugged and serene, Lush writes.

Streamsong is on the site of an old phosphorous mine, which had not been in operation since the 1960s. Seven years ago, Mosaic executives wondered what to do with the surplus land.

“We needed to do something that was exceptional,” Mosaic executive vice president and general counsel Rich Mack told Lush. “You can go to a lot of great places in Florida. We needed to do exceptional, not just great.”

Mack called three leading golf course designers — Bill Coore, Ben Crenshaw and Tom Doak, the names behind Bandan Dunes courses — to evaluate the property. After visiting central Florida, and viewing the native grasses and sunshine over the landscape, the three signed on.

Coore and Crenshaw’s teams built the “Red” course; Doak built another the “Blue” course, named after the pen colors designers on the initial drawings.

The two courses feature “minimalist” golf. Although carts are available, players regularly walk between holes.

Winter season rates are $180 for a walker, $210 for a cart with a forecaddie. Caddies work for tips, suggested at $80-$100 per group. Rental carts and clubs are extra, and the resort offers summer season discounts both golf and hotel rates.

Golfweek magazine named Streamsong best new golf course in 2012, and the magazine listed both courses in 2013 as one of the best 40 public courses worldwide.

During the high season, there are 130 caddies and the clubhouse serves lunch and drinks near the course; 12 rooms are available for those wanting an early start on the course.

Streamsong is a “golf-heavy” resort and conference center, and players can just use the course; they do not need to stay at the hotel. Fishing and clay shooting are also available, as are fire pits and a rooftop bar. Three restaurants are in the main hotel, and one in the clubhouse.

The plan is to have visitors return for more than golf; they want the resort to be a substantial draw to the area — a grotto-like feel, with marble, concrete and natural light.

Hotel rooms are both stylish and engaging, Lush writes, starting at $359 a night for weekends (2 bedroom suites are available for $799 a night). Each room offers sofas, Keurig coffee makers, large bathrooms, refrigerators, and two-sided TVs — while one person watches from the bed, and anther watching from the sofa.

All rooms have a magnificent view of the land—either lakes or the golf course and sandy dunes.

Phil Ammann is a St. Petersburg-based journalist and blogger. With more than three decades of writing, editing and management experience, Phil produced material for both print and online, in addition to founding HRNewsDaily.com. His broad range includes covering news, local government and culture reviews for Patch.com, technical articles and profiles for BetterRVing Magazine and advice columns for a metaphysical website, among others. Phil has served as a contributor and production manager for SaintPetersBlog since 2013. He lives in St. Pete with his wife, visual artist Margaret Juul and can be reached at phil@floridapolitics.com and on Twitter @PhilAmmann.