Location: Streamsong, Fla.
Course architects: Gil Hanse, Jim Wagner
From the tips: 7,331 yards
Saturday morning green fee: $$$$$ ($255)
Caddie service: Yes
Walker friendly: Yes
Fairways: Celebration Bermuda
Greens: Mini Verde Bermuda
Starter: Gil Hanse and Jim Wagner are an incredible duo in the design game. The new Black course tested their skills as the ground they had for a canvas was relatively flat. That did not deter the two from creating a fast and creative design that easily moves the course into among the 10 best that Florida has to offer.
Play because …: Finding a links-style course in Florida is hard enough, but finding one that actually plays like a links course — where the grasses allow for the ball to run freely — is near impossible. In this regard, Black is unlike its sister courses, Red and Blue. The creativity in design and the large green complexes make every shot interesting and enjoyable.
Takeaway: When it’s cold in the Northeast or Midwest, ponder the thought of flying to central Florida to play one of the best-designed courses in the country. Black is harder than the Ben Crenshaw / Bill Coore Red or the Tom Doak Blue courses, but it’s also more fun to play and provides a unique experience for all level of players.
RATINGS [1 to 10 scale, 10 being the highest]
Food | beverage: 10
Pro shop: 10
Pace of play: 6
THE COURSE | Scorecard
Best par 3: No. 17 (205 yards). It’s hard not to let the look and feel of this hole influence the decision on what is the best best par 3. With a waste area to cover off the tee, the look behind the green of a pine tree forest and dunes behind, all the scenery combined make the 17th the best of four par 3s.
Best par 4: No. 2 (361 yards) | No. 9 (450 yards). As much as I tried to decide, it was just too close of a call. The second hole is much shorter and requires only a 9-iron or wedge into an elevated green. The second shot is interesting because while the green is only 26 yards deep, it’s about 65 to 70 yards wide.
The ninth hole is all about the punch-bowl green. A wide-open fairway leaves a mid-iron approach to the green that is not visible, only the windmill located behind it. The hole takes you back to some of the historic designs in golf with a green that is approximately 13,000 square feet in size.
Best par 5: No. 18 (586 yards). While length is not an issue, placement is critical. Hitting the green in two is possible if you can hit a shot over 200 yards, but the shot will require a lot of air under it as water and bunkers are in the flight path and await any poor approach shot. The conservative route is to the left, leaving a 100-yard shot approach.
RATED BY: Alex Miceli