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February 16, 2014

Out of the ordinary

Florida golf resort is far from any beach or theme park

BOWLING GREEN, Fla. (AP) — What do you do with 15 million cubic yards of sand?

If you’re Mosaic, one of the world’s largest phosphate companies, you build two award-winning golf courses. And a spa. And an edgy, modern hotel.

In the middle of central Florida, far from any theme park or beach.

Streamsong Resort opened its golf courses and clubhouse in late 2012, and last month, it unveiled its 216-room lodge. It’s located in the tiny community of Bowling Green, which is closer in DNA to cattle ranches than Disney.

In fact, Streamsong is difficult to find; the journey from the Tampa Bay area included a turn at a ramshackle BBQ restaurant and a drive past several cows. A medium-sized metal sign with the resort’s name is the only thing signaling that one has arrived on the property.

Visitors are first greeted by the sight of large, grass covered dunes and blue lakes, and instead of the flat landscape of central Florida, there are hills and dips and yes, some green of the golf courses. A modern-looking hotel, with its slightly curved exterior, is nestled near a lake.

The whole landscape is nothing like anything in Florida, possibly because it’s not groomed and plucked and patterned with palm trees. The property is oddly wild and rough, yet zen-like and tranquil.

The resort was built on what was once a phosphate mine. The mining, which was last done on the property in the 1960s, left behind the sand and the dunes. About seven years ago, a Mosaic executive wondered what the company could do with the property.

“We needed to do something that was exceptional,” said Rich Mack, the general counsel for and executive vice president at Mosaic. “You can go to a lot of great places in Florida. We needed to do exceptional, not just great.”

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