In remote central Florida, land turned inside out by phosphate mining has been transformed yet again — this time as an upscale golf resort that’s getting a lot of attention in the golfing world. The thousands of acres of Mosaic land that makes up Streamsong may be depleted of phosphate — but it’s rich in something invaluable in the golf business. Sand.
It may seem like a surprisingly remote location for the Streamsong clubhouse and 216-room Lodge, complete with fine dining, infinity pool, spa and a modern, minimalist award-winning design of stone, wood and glass created by Tampa architect Alberto Alfonso. But Mosaic’s developers are betting that golfers will travel for a course that intrigues them.
Doug Smith is one of those golfers. He flew down from Tifton, Georgia, with a friend from Atlanta, and says the course is unlike anything else in Florida. “And, he says, it creates an opportunity for a good friend and I to come down, spend a couple of days, and kind of disappear.”
There are a lot of golf courses in Florida, But Scott Wilson, Streamsong’s Golf Director, says the fast and firm conditions here set it apart, as does the landscape.
“You don’t see links-style golf with deep water lakes and sand formations like this anywhere else in the world,” Wilson says.
Those lakes, of course, are 30 or 40 foot deep phosphate pits. And the first tee — where Wilson is preparing to tee off — is 100 feet high, atop one of the towering sandy dunes created during the mining process.
Wilson points out the tee markers, which are old railroad ties — a nod to the trains used in the mining industry.
The Mosaic company is not trying to disguise the fact that this resort is built on an old phosphate mine. One of the four restaurants is called P2O5, the phosphate molecule. On display in the lobby is the fossilized jawbone of a giant Megalodon shark that was excavated here. And the land, disfigured by enormous draglines decades ago, has matured into something strange but lovely. Native grasses cover the towers of sand and largemouth bass swim in the lakes.
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