Gil Hanse's long-awaited Black Course at Streamsong Resort debuts

FT. MEADE, Fla. -- With two top 100 courses already at Central Florida's Streamsong Resort, a third course would certainly have to hold its own and perhaps then some. That's why management conducted a thorough search for the architectural team that would handle what would become known as the Black Course.

With Gil Hanse already doing the Olympic Course in Brazil at the time with several other high profile projects either just completed or already in progress, he was certainly a front-runner. But when he toured the land and told the folks at Streamsong his team could "do something really special" with the plot of land set aside for the project, that might have sealed the deal.

"So we let his team work its magic and artistry." said Rich Mack, Streamsong's sponsor and executive vice president of The Mosaic Company, which owns Streamsong Resort. "We're in rarified air now, having three world-class golf courses at the same resort."

Video: Ginella attends Streamsong Black opening

Streamsong Black opens to the public Friday

On Monday, Sept. 25th, the course was finally unveiled to the media and special guests in advance of its opening to the public on Sept. 29th. With almost two seasons of grow-in behind it, the course is already in great shape and can certainly hold its own and then some to the Red (designed by the team of Bill Coore and Ben Crenshaw) and the Blue (Tom Doak) already at Streamsong.

The Black is bigger in scope than the other two and represents a hybrid of links and traditional golf with Hanse and partner Jim Wagner's imprint. Most notably, there are 11 acres of greens, each of them with their own personality and plenty of peaks and valleys, but none of them unfair. You can play to them anyway you want, through the air, on the ground, or a combination of both. In other words, if you hit a good shot, you can expect good results, which isn't always the case on courses that have this much movement.

Mack said the excitement for this day has been building for quite some time.

"From this expansive sandy site, Gil and his team have uncovered a dramatic course that fits its bold landscape and flows as if it has been here for years," Mack said. "We are ready to introduce Streamsong Black to the public and elevate our golf experience with three must-play courses that will rival the best golf venues in the world."

Hanse said he and his team eagerly anticipated the opening of this course as much as the Olympic Course.

"We're very proud of our work on this project," Hanse said. "The scale and shape of this property and the creative design features we were able to incorporate into this layout make Streamsong Black a fun and strategic course to play. We're excited to take the veil off and welcome players."

Unlike the Red and Blue's intertwined layouts, Streamsong Black stands on a separate piece of property away from the other two, stretching across a much larger landscape with far-reaching sight lines. Much of the elevation change is natural, with rolls, tumbles and ridges that differ from the resort's first two designs.

The new course plays to a par 73 with five par-5s — each of which are unique. There are a couple of drivable par 4s and a wide variety of par 3s. There are a few water hazards to contend with and a large punchbowl green on the ninth, which is blind on the approach. On the back nine, Hanse introduces dual green complexes on hole 13 and an infinity green on 17, creating a scenic view from the tee box of the course’s closing par-3.

One of the most noticeable design features that distinguishes Streamsong Black from the other courses is its bunkering. On the Black, they feature a revetted style that is akin to courses in the Melbourne Sandbelt of Australia.

Green fees on all three courses range from $85 to $255 depending on season, residency and whether or not the golfer is a guest at the resort or not.

In addition to the Black Course

A new putting course by the Streamsong Black clubhouse is called "The Gauntlet.

Streamsong also introduced The Roundabout, a free-flowing practice facility, also designed by Hanse's team, which features several green complexes and practice holes to accommodate the increase in play. The Roundabout provides a variety of layouts for players to test their short game or play games of H-O-R-S-E if they wish. It also includes an alternate ninth green, providing a play-in option for guests looking to play a shorter, nine-hole loop back to the Clubhouse.

There's also a new putting course, The Gauntlet, two acre of which sits immediately outside of the Streamsong Black Clubhouse. Guests can also play the game in nontraditional ways with shorter loops (6-hole, 9-hole and 12-hole) and modified layouts if they wish.

The new course also comes with its own clubhouse, designed by Albert Alfonso. Enclosed by glass windows from floor to ceiling, The Bone Valley Tavern inside offers a casual atmosphere, featuring a 32-seat bar, 96 additional indoor seats, outdoor space and large screen TVs. The gastro pub experience at Bone Valley Tavern features a selection of refined pub classics, by Chef Victor Kendlehart, along with some original culinary creations upholding Streamsong's reputation for excellent dining.

Mike Bailey is a former Golf Advisor senior staff writer based in Houston. Focusing primarily on golf in the United States, Canada, the Caribbean and Latin America with an occasional trip to Europe and beyond, he contributes course reviews, travel stories and features as well as the occasional equipment review. An award-winning writer and past president of Texas Golf Writers Association, he has more than 25 years in the golf industry. He has also been on staff at PGA Magazine, The Golfweek Group and AvidGolfer Magazine. Follow Mike on Twitter at @MikeBaileyGA and Instagram at @MikeStefanBailey.
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Gil Hanse's long-awaited Black Course at Streamsong Resort debuts