Bay Dunes Players, Operator Make Plea For Golf Course

BAY COUNTY, Fla. - There are only three golf courses in Bay County on the east side of the Hathaway Bridge, but soon, one could be closed for good.
 
Bay County officials are looking into alternate uses for the land where Bay Dunes Golf Course currently sits.
 
The operator and players of Bay Dunes Golf Course are making a final plea to the county to keep the course open, but to do that, a lot of work needs to be done on the property.
 
Bay Dunes Golf course is no stranger to maintenance issues, but now, decades of sitting on top of a former landfill may have brought the property to it's breaking point.
 
"We had 152 days that we were either closed or reduced play closing nine holes or more due to the standing water on the golf course," said Mark Sincavage, CEO of Course Management Solutions.
 
Bay Dunes has been closed since September of last year for maintenance, but course management solutions is reaching out to Bay County for help because the county owns the property.
 
"We requested $290,000 for us to do the labor and materials to repair the water drainage on the course," said Sincavage.
 
County staff estimates it would cost more like $500,000 to make the course operational again.
 
"You keep pouring good money into a hole it goes away and this is literally a hole. We're talking about building this golf course, having had it built over a landfill and it's going to continue to be a maintenance problem," said Guy Tunnell, Bay County Commissioner.
 
In their meeting, commissioners said they are hesitant to spend the hundreds of thousands of dollars needed if the course isn't going prosper.
 
"I just wonder, myself, how many folks are really using the facility," said Tunnell.
 
Course Management Solutions said on sunny days, they surpass the number of players needed to break even.
 
"I believe in my heart that once the course is, the water issues have been repaired and the water flows in the proper direction we then can increase our playability," said Sincavage.
 
Several people who regularly played the course came to the meeting Tuesday in support of spending the money to keep Bay Dunes open.
 
"We would like to be able to have a well-maintained municipal golf course in Panama City for all to use, both visitors and residents," said Ed Blockenger, Bay Dunes Supporter.
 
The commissioners also directed staff to clarify how much it would take to fix the course and look into alternative uses for the land.

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