Diversity and short golf at Streamsong
Streamsong Resort in the United States is breaking the mould on two fronts.
Not only will the progressive venue soon open an 18-hole short course – with no pars, unorthodox tees and fun by the bucketload – but its turf team is far more diverse than the average.
There has not been a special recruitment drive for the forward-thinking Florida resort; simply an open-minded approach to hiring and a snowball effect, according to Streamsong’s Director of Agronomy, Russell Mercer.
“It started with three or four women, and grew from there by word of mouth,” he explained in a feature for USGA.com.
By June 2021, the time Mercer's comments were published, the Streamsong turf team had grown to be 60% female.
The hours fit well with family life and for those with children, and a need for brute strength is just a myth with today’s modern course maintenance.
“Most of the time you can learn to use a piece of equipment to get a task done,” Mercer added.
The Streamsong team will soon have another course to maintain with the addition of an innovative 3,000-yard layout to the three existing championship courses.
Designed by Bill Coore and Ben Crenshaw – the duo also created the resort’s Red Course – The Chain has holes ranging from 90 to 275 yards and has been created with fun in mind, taking around two hours to play.
“What drove the decisions was ‘let’s make it as fun as possible’,” Streamsong owner Ben Pratt told Golf.com.
“No concept of par will encourage people to play almost the way you would play a game of horse in basketball. If you win the hole, you pick where you tee off from the next hole.
“We also have a lot of visitors in the winter months who come from the Northeast who can’t really get in a whole round of golf on the day they travel.
“We think it’ll be very appealing to people who check in, want to get a little golf in that day, or on their getaway day.”
Short courses are growing in popularity, particularly in the US. Designer of Pinehurst's renowned 10-acre course The Cradle, Gil Hanse, told Syngenta Golf he believes they represent fun for every level of golfer.
“They’re a fantastic idea,” he says. “I’m a big believer in putting a golf club in someone’s hands and getting them to enjoy the game.”