LYNN HAVEN, Fla. (WMBB) – The 94th annual M.C. Sherman Invitational Golf Tournament began today at the Panama Country Club.
The invitational began almost a century ago not long after the course opened in 1927, and a member of the tournament committee, Jay Hancock, says its tradition is still strong.
“The Sherman has survived through thick and through thin as one of the wonderful amateur tournaments in the South Eastern United States that draws a great field from all over Georgia, Tennessee, Alabama and of course the Florida panhandle and South Florida,” Hancock said.
And while countless golfer have participated in the tournament over the years, some professional golfers started their careers playing in the Sherman.
“There’s kind of a history in this tournament,” Hancock said. “There’s been a great deal of champions in our tournament that have turned professional, Chase Sieffert probably the most recognizable locally here now, but prior to him, Gardener Dickenson and a number of other players that have a history on the tour as being very successful.”
Most years, all of the prize money has gone to the winners of the invitational, but this year, some will go to restoring the Panama Country Club.
“There’s financial issues for everybody in our community currently after Hurricane Michael,” Hancock said. And so the funds this year that are in excess of the prizes that go back to our players due to our sponsors, we’re able to do improvement projects here over at Panama Country Club and improve our course, and right now we’ve got an ongoing improvement, capital improvement inside our club house itself in attempt to rebuild it and get the club house back up and going.”
After being delayed to later in the year after Hurricane Michael and COVID-19 the past two years, playing in the Spring is a big deal to local golfers.
“Being able to continue that, you know, brings a great deal or normalcy back to everybody’s lives that are out here, both the participants and the owners in our community, in homes of our community. It’s nice to see this man people enjoying the golf course and enjoying the tournament again,” Hancock said.