LYNN HAVEN, FL (WJHG/WECP) The Panama Country Club and it's golf course, which dates all the way back to 1927, is among the many places in Bay County damaged severely by Hurricane Michael. Now the folks who run the club are working hard to get things back in shape, with the hope of the course perhaps being playable by midsummer. So says Panama Country Club President Jay Manuel.
"With the golf course experts that have been hired by the insurance company," Manuel told me "and our own experts, and these are people that renovate and build golf courses, and repair golf courses. And they have all told us they have never seen a golf course that has received the level of damage, that this course received."
That course, a course lined with magnificent trees, including hundreds of pine trees, and oaks, among others.
Nearly all the pine trees, and most of the others are gone, blown down by the storm. Tose trees, as they fell, tore up the irrigation system, keeping them from keeping the greens in any kind of decent shape. So the decision was made to tear up what's left of the greens, and rebuild them completely. An expensive proposition, but one that will be part of the insurance settlement. Still, Manuel says, that means taking more time to rebuild and reopen.
"Very close to a hundred percent through with the tree removal and the debris removal project. And so now we'll begin irrigation and greens renovation. And so right now we would estimate that at the earliest we would be ready to play golf at Panama Country Club in midsummer. Although it's going to be a very long and difficult process, we're very confident that at the end of the line, we're going to have a great golf course in Lynn Haven again."
And with most of the trees gone, that means when it does come back, Panama Country Club will have a very different look, and in fact, be a different kind of golf course!
"So whereas the golf course used to be a more traditional golf course like you'd see in North Florida," Jay says "it will now be more of a links golf course. Rather than having trees defining the holes, between, and rough areas between holes, it will be more of mounding, with native grasses, landscaping features and things like that. It's gonna be beautiful."
The clubhouse also badly damaged and is undergoing a major renovation as well.