Ginella on Streamsong: Red or Blue?

By Matt GinellaFebruary 6, 2013, 10:27 pm

Blue or Red? That is The Question.

Streamsong, as you probably know by now, is a new golf resort in Polk County, Florida, which officially opened on Saturday, Jan. 26. I recently played the Blue, built by Tom Doak, and the Red, built by Bill Coore and Ben Crenshaw. (Easy way to keep them straight: Blue is a Doak and both have four letters.)

Based on a small sample set—one round on each—I prefer the Red.

Both courses are par 72, with four par 5s and four par 3s. From the green tees—the tips—the Blue is listed at 7,176 yards; the Red at 7,148 yards. I played both from the black tees: Blue is 6,698 yards; Red is 6,584 yards.

The Blue was much more open off the tee, but the extreme greens were running fast, pins were cut into the peaks and valleys, and after the third three-putt, the second four-putt, and my playing partner’s five-putt at the 188-yard seventh, the Blue had a few of us seeing red.

Which brings me to the Red. It was slightly tighter off the tee, but also more visually interesting from the tee box and less undulating on the putting surfaces than the Blue. I was 10-shots better on the Red than Blue, and I remember more holes on the Red, which tends to be the case when you’re playing better and swinging less. Some of my favorite holes...

Streamsong Red’s 391-yard third: 

Streamsong Red No. 3

Streamsong Red’s 344-yard fifth: 

No. 5 at Streamsong Red

There aren’t enough short par 3s in modern golf, which is why I especially appreciated the Red’s 119-yard eighth:

No. 8 at Streamsong Red

The signature hole at the Blue, maybe the most memorable par 6 on property, is the 188-yard seventh:

No. 7 at Streamsong Blue

Blue’s 293-yard 13th is well protected by this greenside dungeon of a bunker.

Streamsong Blue

Blue’s finish, if into the wind, can be aggressively difficult: a 215-yard 16th, a 573-yard 17th and the 453-yard 18th:

Streamsong Blue No. 18

First round at either course is $175 and replay rate is $90. It’s hard to imagine you’d go there and not play both, and harder to imagine how two minimalist architects on the same chunk of purified sand would be able to build two distinctly different 18s, but they did. Benefitting from being new and my respect for both design firms, both are included in My Top 40 Public Courses in the U.S.

Tom Doak said it himself, an 8 handicap or less will probably prefer the Red; 10 or above will probably prefer the Blue. (I’m an 8.) Much like Bandon Dunes, this feels like a destination for the most avid of amateurs. Both courses are walker friendly and they’ve attracted and imported caddies from iconic clubs around the country. Ladies might also prefer the Red. From the forward tees, it plays 5,184 yards. The Blue is 5,531 yards.

The clubhouse, restaurant, bar and 12-room lodge with 16 beds is also open for business (rooms are $360 per night).

Clubhouse at Streamsong

I stayed at the Terrace Hotel in Lakeland ($129 per night), which is 35 minutes from Streamsong. (I recommend Linksters if you’re looking for a local dive bar in the neighborhood). The 215-room hotel at Streamsong, which will include some spa amenities and fishing, opens in November.

As my group was teeing off on the Red’s 271-yard ninth, Tom Doak walked up. He wanted to speak to Rich Mack, executive vice president of Mosaic, which owns Streamsong. Mack was one of my playing partners and although Doak admitted a face-to-face of this nature was unlike him, he wanted to encourage ownership and management to keep the green speeds fair. The success of the Blue might depend on it.

As we got to the ninth green, Doak spoke up again. “This is my favorite hole on property.” He marveled at the contours cultivated by his counterparts and celebrated the short par 4.

I wasn’t only impressed with Doak’s candor. The overall quality of the dueling courses, and their proximity to my new home in Orlando, is good news for me and for golf in general. Amongst the masses back at the clubhouse, they seemed split down the middle. Half preferred Red; half preferred Blue. And that might be the best news yet.

Getty Images

Weather extends Barbasol to Monday finish

By Associated PressJuly 23, 2018, 12:25 am

NICHOLASVILLE, Ky. - A thunderstorm has suspended the fourth round of the PGA Tour's Barbasol Championship until Monday morning.

Sunday's third stoppage of play at Champions Trace at Keene Trace Golf Club came with the four leaders - Hunter Mahan, Robert Streb, Tom Lovelady and Troy Merritt at 18 under par - and four other contenders waiting to begin the round.

The tournament will resume at 7:30 a.m. on Monday. Lightning caused one delay, and play was stopped earlier in the afternoon to clear water that accumulated on the course following a morning of steady and sometimes-heavy rain.

Inclement weather has plagued the tournament throughout the weekend. The second round was completed Saturday morning after being suspended by thunderstorms late Friday afternoon.

The resumption will mark the PGA Tour's second Monday finish this season. Jason Day won the Farmers Insurance Open in January after darkness delayed the sixth playoff hole, and he needed just 13 minutes to claim the victory.

Getty Images

Watch: Spectator films as Woods' shot hits him

By Will GrayJuly 23, 2018, 12:07 am

It was a collision watched by millions of fans on television, and one that came at a pivotal juncture as Tiger Woods sought to win The Open. It also gave Colin Hauck the story of a lifetime.

Hauck was among dozens of fans situated along the left side of the 11th hole during the final round at Carnoustie as the pairing of Woods and Francesco Molinari hit their approach shots. After 10 holes of nearly flawless golf, Woods missed the fairway off the tee and then pulled his iron well left of the target.

The ball made square contact with Hauck, who hours later tweeted a video showing the entire sequence - even as he continued to record after Woods' shot sent him tumbling to the ground:

The bounce initially appeared fortuitous for Woods, as his ball bounded away from thicker rough and back toward the green. But an ambitious flop shot came up short, and he eventually made a double bogey to go from leading by a shot to trailing by one. He ultimately shot an even-par 71, tying for sixth two shots behind Molinari.

For his efforts as a human shield, Hauck received a signed glove and a handshake from Woods - not to mention a firsthand video account that will be sure to spark plenty of conversations in the coming years.

Getty Images

Molinari retirement plan: coffee, books and Twitter

By Will GrayJuly 22, 2018, 9:35 pm

After breaking through for his first career major, Francesco Molinari now has a five-year exemption on the PGA Tour, a 10-year exemption in Europe and has solidified his standing as one of the best players in the world.

But not too long ago, the 35-year-old Italian was apparently thinking about life after golf.

Shortly after Molinari rolled in a final birdie putt to close out a two-shot victory at The Open, fellow Tour player Wesley Bryan tweeted a picture of a note that he wrote after the two played together during the third round of the WGC-HSBC Champions in China in October. In it, Bryan shared Molinari's plans to retire as early as 2020 to hang out at cafes and "become a Twitter troll":

Molinari is active on the social media platform, with more than 5,600 tweets sent out to nearly 150,000 followers since joining in 2010. But after lifting the claret jug at Carnoustie, it appears one of the few downsides of Molinari's victory is that the golf world won't get to see the veteran turn into a caffeinated, well-read troll anytime soon.

Getty Images

Molinari had previously avoided Carnoustie on purpose

By Rex HoggardJuly 22, 2018, 9:17 pm

CARNOUSTIE, Scotland – Sometimes a course just fits a player’s eye. They can’t really describe why, but more often than not it leads to solid finishes.

Francesco Molinari’s relationship with Carnoustie isn’t like that.

The Italian played his first major at Carnoustie, widely considered the toughest of all The Open venues, in 2007, and his first impression hasn’t really changed.

“There was nothing comforting about it,” he said on Sunday following a final-round 69 that lifted him to a two-stroke victory.


Full-field scores from the 147th Open Championship

Full coverage of the 147th Open Championship


In fact, following that first exposure to the Angus coast brute, Molinari has tried to avoid Carnoustie, largely skipping the Dunhill Links Championship, one of the European Tour’s marquee events, throughout his career.

“To be completely honest, it's one of the reasons why I didn't play the Dunhill Links in the last few years, because I got beaten up around here a few times in the past,” he said. “I didn't particularly enjoy that feeling. It's a really tough course. You can try and play smart golf, but some shots, you just have to hit it straight. There's no way around it. You can't really hide.”

Molinari’s relative dislike for the layout makes his performance this week even more impressive considering he played his last 37 holes bogey-free.

“To play the weekend bogey-free, it's unthinkable, to be honest. So very proud of today,” he said.