For the better part of two years now, Tom Sunnaborg has had the best seat in the house in watching Streamsong Resort slowly spring to life in the sand dunes west of Fort Meade.
That’s because as Mosaic’s Vice President of Land Development and Management, it was his job to shepherd Streamsong’s evolution, creating a world-class resort destination from an old phosphate mine.
So far, so good.
Golf operations were opened to the public Friday, marking the first major milestone in a project that will cost more than $70 million and ultimately create more than 300 local jobs. Open, too, is the golf clubhouse which includes 12-guest rooms, banquet hall and meeting space, and Restaurant Fifty-Nine, a steakhouse “themed” eatery that is open seven days a week for breakfast, lunch and dinner.
Sunnaborg has been there since before the first shovel of reclaimed mine land was turned.
“It’s a very good day for us,” Sunnaborg said around midday Friday. “It’s very gratifying and terrific, all the things you could imagine. But we know we have a bigger project, with the lodge, well under way. ”
There are two 18-hole links style courses as part of the 16,000 acre property that will also contain a hotel, or lodge, and conference center with more than 200 guest rooms. The main part of the resort is on schedule to open next fall, perhaps in late November, giving Mosaic and Fort Meade officials further things to be thankful for.
The courses have hosted several golfing dignitaries so far, and Sunnaborg said most have come away with the same feeling.
“What has been really gratifying is how unexpected it is. The really great places around the world in golf — and we’re being compared to some of those places which is fantastic — those places you know by reputation, and you know in advance what you’re going to get. When you go to Brandon Dune or Pebble Beach, you know you’re going to see the Pacific Ocean. And it’s fantastic, but you expect to see that. At Streamsong, people don’t know what to expect.”
In fact what might be considered a weakness, the difficulty of those familiar with the courses to adequately describe them, is actually a strength.
“When you see it, it’s very unexpected. People have a hard time describing it, describing what they’re feeling, but its fun to watch their faces and just be amazed,” he added. “It’s very hard to describe it in words. It’s not rustic, it’s elegant, but were out here in nature. It’s not something that most people ever experience.”
Also on-site is a private dining area called the Cork Room. The large banquet hall is known as the Canyon Lake Room and all 12 guest rooms are individually named for world-renowned golf architects.
Fifty-Nine, by the way, was chosen because it is the lowest score ever recorded in a PGA tour event.
An official grand opening is planned for Jan. 26 in conjunction with a PGA show in Orlando.
Golf Magazine recently named Streamsong Red as the Best Golf Course You Can Play for 2012.
Sunnaborg said while there have been challenges along the way, there was nothing so surprising as to catch the development team off guard.
“This is complicated, commercial real estate development,” he said. “We haven’t been thrown any curve balls we couldn’t hit yet, but every day is a challenge. But our board and senior leaders are committed to making this work. So far, so good.”