The world's largest supplier of phosphate and potash, Mosaic, has a challenge that, in an unusual move for the mining giant, is happening above the ground.
The project is Streamsong Resort. It's a luxury golf resort and spa built on retired phosphate mines near Fort Meade, a small, rural Polk County town 55 miles southeast of Tampa. The Fortune 500 company reclaimed some 16,000 acres when executives believed all the necessary components of a golf course were there. The golf courses opened in 2012, and the resort followed in 2013.
But even after some rave industry reviews of the golf courses and accommodations, the hurdles remain similar to opening day: getting people out there, and keeping them coming back. “Without question,” says Jim Bullock, director of sales and marketing at Streamsong, “this was a bold endeavor on the part of Mosaic.”
Those doubts were particularly acute when Streamsong was in the planning stages, say resort officials. Resorts can be marketing challenges anywhere, but in highly competitive Florida, putting one in a remote area — thereby giving people a reason not to go — was a calculated risk.
Streamsong executives say the naysayers have been thwarted.
“I'm not going to apologize for our location,” says Bullock. “We are a fresh alternative to the type of Florida destination that visitors are accustomed to. Where they go left, we go right.”
One part of the strategy to get people to come, and come back, to Streamsong is to outdo competitors in amenities, both for quality and quantity. On the resort side, that starts with Streamsong Lodge. Managed by Interstate Hotels and Resorts, the building boasts 216 uniquely styled luxury guest rooms, casual and five-star dining, a fitness center, a grotto-style spa complete with manicure and pedicure stations, massage rooms, and the resort's own line of perfumes. The complex also has more than 18,000 square feet of conference space and 40,000 square feet of outdoor venues, including a rooftop terrace.
There's more outside the lodge in amenities. That list ranges from guided bass fishing and sporting clays to a nature trail, an infinity pool and archery.
The target is clear: business clients. “We have given a thoughtful approach to who our market is,” Bullock says. “In just two short years, Streamsong has become the preferred meeting destination for many of today's biggest, brightest and fastest growing companies in corporate America.”
Adds Bullock: “If we can get the decision makers here, they will be back ... and they'll tell their friends.”
The golf is another component of the strategy to outdo others. “There are 1,495 golf courses in Florida,” says Bullock. “So, we knew that to compete at this level, we had to have a one-of-a-kind golf experience.”
Both courses have earned dozens of accolades from publications such as Golf Magazine, USAToday and GolfWeek. The golf operation is managed by Kemper Sports.
In 2015, there were 60,000 rounds played on the courses, up 35% from 2014. Streamsong General Manager Richard Mogensen says business is so good on the golf side that ground has already been broken on the third course, Streamsong Black, and a fourth course could be in the works.
Streamsong has more than 300 employees, in addition to approximately 125 caddies. “One of the few issues we've encountered is finding qualified hospitality workers,” Mogensen says.