PANAMA CITY, BEACH, FL (WJHG/WECP) There is good news for both golfers in the area, and those concerned with all aspects of this area's economic engine in the wake of the hurricane.
The folks who own and manage the Nicklaus Course at Bay Point have announced a date for that 18 hole, championship course to reopen!
Bay Point's Golf G.M. Ryan Mulvey making that announcement at the course Tuesday morning.
"As of this morning we are announcing that the Nicklaus Course, after several months of debris cleanup and removal, and getting this course back into shape, will be open for public play starting March 1st, 2019." Mulvey told us. "So just a little over a month. We've got our contractors working on our clubhouse, cart barn and some other things right now, that have to be finished before we can get open. But March 1st is a good open date for us. And we're excited to get people back out here playing golf. It's been a long time coming."
Mulvey says getting the course back to anything close to playable has taken not just a lot of money, but a lot of hours from a lot of dedicated people at Bay Point.
"You know it all started after the hurricane, getting in and evaluating the damage. And getting some systems up and running. Getting our irrigation back and running on the Nicklaus Course so we could get water to the greens. And really it's a testament to our staff here at the club who have been working tirelessly since the storm. Getting the debris removed, getting the golf course back into shape. As you can see Scott the golf course looks great, the greens are in fantastic shape. The fairways are great. Everything's really ready to go, minus a few things we have to get done with our structures."
Mulvey says this is all good news not just for those who work at, or live around the course. But also for our tourism industry, which needs all the assets it can get right now.
"Absolutely, it's a draw for tourism, for bed tax money, for putting people in condos and hotels. Like you just said, people come here specifically to play the Nicklaus Course, people come here on golf trips. They've been coming here for ten, twenty years. And now with our new Tif Eagle greens, which have only been played on three times, since we reopened after that work, we still have brand new Tif Eagle greens that really haven't been played on. So it's like a grand opening for the new greens again and a reopening following what Hurricane Michael did to our property."
Ryan adds part of the reopening will be some sort of fundraiser for 850 Strong, as a way of Bay Point giving back, once it is able to through the course.
As for the Meadows Course, he says that cleanup is still ongoing, hundreds of trees still need to be moved. So no word on when that may reopen.