Design Notes

Streamsong opens Coore & Crenshaw’s The Chain

David McLay Kidd updates the bunkers at Idaho’s Tributary; Hawaii’s Princeville Makai gets a refresh

Streamsong Golf Resort in Streamsong, Florida, has opened its fourth golf course, The Chain. The 3,000-yard, 19-hole, par-3 course debuted with 13 holes in November 2023. By early April 2024, all 19 holes were in play.

The Chain brought the top design duo of Bill Coore and Ben Crenshaw back to Streamsong for their second act after designing the award-winning Streamsong Red in 2012. The Chain moniker originates from decades-old dragline chains found on site during the course routing process that were used to mine the land where Streamsong now sits.

The Chain is Streamsong’s fourth course. Created by Coore and Crenshaw Design, The Chain features a six- and 12-hole loop with a total of 19 holes and a 2 1/2 acre putting green called :The Bucket."

The short course brings a new concept to the golf offerings at Streamsong with options for six- and 13-hole loops or a 19-hole round. Holes vary in length from 50 to over 300 yards and incorporate a mix of centuries-old oaks, mining cuts and views of Little Payne Creek to create an exhilarating experience. Match play is the preferred format as there is no suggested par on the scorecard and each hole will be devoid of tee markers. Players will instead be encouraged to tee off from a location of their choosing designated by dragline chains marking the beginning and end of each teeing area.

"We’re quite fond of these shorter courses," Coore said. "When you take strength and length out of the equation, golf becomes much more fun for a vastly expanded group of players. And from an architectural perspective we can do more quirky and interesting things with short holes because we’ve removed the strength and length equation from play. We can do more interesting things on the greens and around the greens and build some greens you might not feel comfortable building on long regulation-length holes."

Coore’s design partner was equally effusive.

"We’re very happy to present it to everyone," Crenshaw said. "Length is on everyone’s mind and a lot of people have a misnomer in assessing a golf course in terms of hardship to par. These holes, you have to be skillful and there are all sorts of holes of shorter length. This is not like a pitch and putt; there’s some real golf over there and we think it’s going to be a great amenity here."

"Our goal with The Chain was to do something new at Streamsong and we think Ben and Bill have done just that,” said KemperSports CEO Steve Skinner. "We have three highly ranked courses that stretch well over 7,000 yards each so we thought a short course would be a perfect complement. So far, people have loved The Chain. It’s all about playing fast and having fun."

In addition to The Chain’s 19-hole layout, a 2.6-acre putting course, deemed, "The Bucket," is centrally located to further dial up the fun factor. The Bucket incorporates two 18-hole routings around a 22,000-pound dragline bucket serving as a reminder of the mining history that preceded Streamsong at this site.

Southeastern Idaho’s Tributary has concluded a bunker renovation by original architect David McLay Kidd. Located in the town of Driggs on the Wyoming border, Tributary came to life in 2008 as Huntsman Springs, built for businessman and philanthropist Jon Huntsman. New ownership in 2017 changed the name and the character of the development to appeal to a wider audience.

“It was a major construction project, and after 15 summers and winters, the course has matured exceptionally well,” Kidd told “The conditions have always been fantastic. Superintendent Guy Johnson has been there since the beginning, and he maintains incredibly good bentgrass greens, bluegrass fairways and fescue rough.”

In a desire to improve the course, Kidd and Johnson focused on the bunkers, and especially the sand, which had originally come to the property in an unusually fortuitous way. The sand made available was the result of a happy accident, stemming from a windstorm that blew the sand from the legendary St. Anthony Sand Dunes onto the highway, not far from the property. Kidd and Huntsman Springs arranged to clean up the highway and brought the sand over to Driggs to cap the course and use it for the layout’s 150 distinctive bunkers. All the bunkers were hand-finished, with high faces created by piling the sand. Kidd brought in fescue and Irish grasses to create the bunker surrounds that lent an Old World authenticity to each hole.

Ultimately, however, the lack of a barrier between sand and stones from this original sand deposit created a situation where stones were emerging through the sand into the bunkers. In addition, the bluegrass sod surrounds had breached the fescue grasses that ringed the bunkers.

“The wind through the winter and summer months had scoured sand out of the bunkers or reshaped them,” said Kidd. “Sometimes we embraced those new shapes that nature had given us, and sometimes we didn’t. For our recent work, we took the opportunity to take a fresh look at the whole golf course and where bunkers were, where they weren’t and where they had grown in. The project has been a complete renovation, including the removal of some, adding new ones in, recutting every edge and installing Profile’s Flexterra solution for erosion control. Edges leading into bunkers have been cut back, returning bunkers to their original shape and making them easier to maintain.”

In the renovation, Kidd not only sought to improve conditioning related to the bunkers, but also to enact playability solutions. “The course originally had around 150 bunkers, many of which had little strategic purpose other than the visual ‘ooh ah’ moment,” said Kidd. “We took a couple dozen out, mainly the ones that were only penalizing bad shots. And we made a few bunkers bigger—the ones that were guarding the tightest lines.

“We haven’t touched any other part of the layout—yet,” said Kidd. “Planning is underway on other adjustments and we’re also talking about building a Himalayas-style putting course and updating the practice facilities. Bunkers are the first step, but I don’t expect them to be the last. We’ll continue to improve the course. The club is garnering new members, selling real estate, and is really, finally hitting its stride.”


Hawaii’s Princeville Makai Golf Club in Princeville, Kauai began a $3 million course refinement project on April 15 that is designed to enhance playability, boost agronomic conditions, and strengthen the Robert Trent Jones, Jr. design’s standing as one of the top golf courses in the world. The project will address three key areas of the course: bunker renovations, cart path upgrades and agronomic enhancements, including drainage improvements and practices to continue strong turf health. Princeville Makai, located on Kauai’s famed North Shore, averages 78 inches of rain each year.

The project began on April 15 with nine holes shut down for construction for approximately six weeks, followed by work on the remaining nine holes over six additional weeks. Nine holes will always be open during the refinement project, with nine-hole and 18-hole rounds available for guests. For 18-hole rounds, guests will be encouraged to play different tees during their second loop. Plans call for the 12-week project to be completed and all 18 holes open for play by mid-July.

Key elements of the refinement project include:

— Comprehensive bunker renovation to all bunkers on the golf course, incorporating a technically advanced drainage and liner system featuring Capillary Concrete. This new generation lining method increases the speed at which water flows through the bunker, minimizing washouts, reducing maintenance and producing superior playability.

— Drainage improvements will be executed in key areas to enhance playability and turf health.

— Guest experiences will be enhanced through cart path improvement in select areas.

— During construction, crews will execute an aggressive aeration of the Seashore Paspalum turf so air, water, and nutrients can reach grass roots.

Troon Senior Vice President of Golf Course Development Ron Despain is leading the bunker renovations and cart path changes, with construction work executed by Heritage Links. Agronomy projects will be done in collaboration with Princeville Makai Golf Club Superintendent Chris Parde, the club’s agronomy team and Troon Senior Vice President of Science and Agronomy Jeff Spangler. Original architect Robert Trent Jones Jr., who has a home five minutes away from Princeville Makai, and Bruce Charlton, President/Chief Design Officer of Robert Trent Jones II Golf Course Architect have been consulting on an ad hoc basis.

“It’s exciting and gratifying to have an ownership team that invests back into the product and shares the goal of keeping Princeville Makai Golf Club among the top golf courses in the world,” said Princeville Makai Golf Club General Manager Michael Neider. “The bunker enhancements, cart path improvements, drainage refinements and turf management projects will further elevate our guests’ experiences for years to come.”

Princeville Makai Golf Club opened in 1971 as the first solo design effort of golf course architect Robert Trent Jones, Jr. In 2009 and 2010, the golf course was completely renovated by Jones Jr., introducing spectacular new Seashore Paspalum turf grass on all fairways and greens. Since the renovation, the Makai Course has soared to the top of golf’s most respected rankings, including Golf Digest’s “Top 100 Greatest Public Courses in America,” “Top 3 Best Courses You Can Play in Hawaii” by Golfweek, and named one of the “Top 5 Great Golf Settings” in the world by National Geographic Traveler.