Swing Away: dR Tampa Bay’s Golf-cations Guide
You’ll never go begging for a tee time in West Central Florida. But why settle for only shooting your basic 18 at the local course when from time to time you can indulge in a true golf getaway? For this golf-cation survey, we’ve selected four facilities — Innisbrook Resort, IMG Academy’s Legacy Hotel, the Gasparilla Inn & Club, and (see below) Streamsong Resort. All are within easy driving distance, and each offers a distinctly unique golf-plus adventure. Even if you’re not that good a golfer, or not a golfer at all, you may well return from these trips with a new love for the game (and perhaps a lower handicap).
At Streamsong, the scenery and architecture are unlike that of any golf resort in Florida — and the origin story’s unique, too.
The Mosaic Company execs who came up with the harebrained scheme to build a golf resort from the remains of an old phosphate mine in Central Florida knew one thing for sure: The wow factor had to be off the charts.
Sixty miles southeast of Tampa International Airport, an hour-and-a-half from a proper beach, in a town called Bowling Green, Streamsong Resort is the epitome of a golf destination — as in, don’t come unless hitting the links is foremost on your mind.
That guests are swathed in luxury in the meantime; that they’re treated to exotic vistas not experienced elsewhere in the Sunshine State, well, that just fortifies the wow.
Streamsong’s 16,000 acres showcase three championship-level public courses — Red, Blue and the recently opened Black — all of which are links-style. They’re bordered by sandy scrub and dotted with placid lakes. Rust-colored heather ripples in the breeze. “There are no flowers or palm trees,” says general manager Rich Mogensen. “You could be in Scotland as easy as Florida. No houses, no condos nearby. Pure nature.”
The complex’s most striking feature is its undulating topography, the result of mounds dredged up during decades of mining. Toto, I’ve a feeling we’re not in Florida anymore.
The courses rank high on the difficulty scale, but that doesn’t mean the duffers among us should stay away. The fairways are generous. No rough to fear or trees to navigate. Worst case, you ditch your scorecard, whack away and enjoy the stroll. Streamsong was designed for walking golfers. In fact, from January 1 to March 31 it’s walking only. But don’t fret — the resort’s caddy program is 200 strong.
The Red and Blue courses opened in December 2012. The Lodge — 216 spacious rooms with stunning views enhanced by floor-to-ceiling glass — came 14 months later. Its contemporary design, with an emphasis on natural stone, metals and earth hues, is meant to blend into the landscape. “It’s one of the reasons people are in awe when they arrive here,” Mogensen says. “They don’t expect the modernism.”
Golfers seeking a body-and-mind refresh should book a slot at the AcquaPietra Spa. Its full slate of services — including eight types of massages and six unique pool experiences — is set in a tranquil, Euro-grotto environment. You can get prettied up here, too.
Gotta eat, right? Four restaurants can meet the needs of any palate — from the gastropub-style Bone Valley Tavern located at the new Streamsong Black Clubhouse, to SottoTerra, the resort’s signature fine-dining experience.
And if there comes a point where you’ve hit a wall and can’t muster one more swing, Streamsong offers other activities like guided bass fishing, sporting clays, archery and a breathtaking infinity pool.
These diversions should revitalize you just enough to grab the clubs and book another round.
Streamsong Resort, 1000 Streamsong Dr., Bowling Green, 888-294-6322. Streamsong offers a variety of packages, headlined by the Tour Package: The Ultimate Buddy Golf Experience, which includes a three-night stay and one round each on Red, Black and Blue.