Work Proceeding on New 36-Hole Project in Central Florida

Construction of the new Tom Doak/Renaissance Golf Design course at Streamsong Resort in Central Florida is moving along. As of early June, all 18 holes are completely shaped and the first six holes have been sprigged, with the remainder to be grassed in July and August.

The completion of shaping means that the creative work by Doak and his team is essentially done. "So I'm no longer talking about the potential of the course to be excellent - I am talking about what the finished product is going to be, and I'm more excited about that than ever," Doak said.

The Doak course and another by the team of Coore & Crenshaw will result in two distinctive and intertwined 18-hole layouts on a former mined phosphate site. The noted designers were intrigued by the opportunity to utilize mined land and to work side-by-side on their two courses at Streamsong Resort, a 16,000-acre project being developed by the Mosaic Company, the world's leading producer and marketer of phosphate-based crop nutrients. The resort is located in southern Polk County, Fla., between Tampa and Orlando.

"This is such a good piece of land for golf," Doak said. "The variety of contours created by the mining process is unique for a project in Florida, or anywhere in the Southeast. I have been friends with Bill (Coore) and Ben (Crenshaw) for many years, and it has been fun to be working right alongside them. I think it has brought out the best work in each of us."

Doak said the "transition" holes - those architects aren't quite sure of what to expect when a project begins - at his course are a stretch from the par-3 10th to the short par-4 13th. Those holes are on the flattest part of the property, and the solutions were different for each hole.

"The 10th was almost a completely featureless green site which just tilted a bit from left to right, and that presented a problem, because the other par-3 holes all have a left-to-right bias," Doak said. "So our challenge was to build a hole for a right-to-left long-iron shot without building anything obviously artificial."

Doak's shapers on the job, Eric Iverson and Mike McCartin, pulled it off by digging a very deep bunker at the left-front of the green, so the approach feeds back into it like a whirlpool, and by angling the green away to the left so that a faded shot runs the danger of running across the green and off the back-right side.

By contrast, the 300-yard, par-4 13th contained too much sand; it plays along the side of a large lake to the left. The mining operation had left a sandy bank more than 20 feet high running down to the lake, so that golfers wouldn't see the hazard coming and would have no chance of recovery. A skinny green was built up at the existing grade, but 20 feet of sand was cut along the left side of the fairway up to the front of the green so players who try to drive to the front of the putting surface must now risk a 20-foot deep bunker at the front-left.

"Bill and Ben have told us it's now the coolest hole on the course, which is amazing to me, knowing what else we had to work with on the others," Doak said.

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