The Bay County Commission hired Holiday Golf and Racquet Club to operate the Panama City, Fla., property until March while it looked for permanent management, but has decided to close the property after no other company has stepped up to run the course.
Despite arguments made by a group of golfers, the Bay Dunes Golf Club will close, the Panama City, Fla.-based WJHG NewsChannel 7 reported.
The Bay County Commission hired Holiday Golf and Racquet Club to operate the Panama City, Fla., property temporarily while they looked for new management. But now that no other company is stepping in to run the course, the county says its time to close, and some golfers are not happy about it, WJHG reported.
“We were hoping to present enough of an argument to them that they would look into it, but appears that they didn’t hear us very clearly,” said golfer Carolyn Rossman at a meeting held with the commission to discuss the property’s future.
The golfers say Bay Dunes is affordable, and they want the county to keep it open, but commissioners decided unanimously to close the course in about two weeks, WJHG reported.
“It’s going to be a very expensive proposition either for a private entity or the county to operate the golf course for a number of reasons,” Bay County Commissioner Guy Tunnell said. “And while we all appreciate the fact that folks would like to see it stay open, because it is a very affordable course to play, the expenses to keep it open are just gonna be cost prohibitive.”
Finding affordable places to play is what’s driving some golfers to commissioners, saying their options are limited without Bay Dunes. Canadian citizen Mickey Harris said Bay Dunes is one of the reasons he continues to spend winters in Bay County, WJHG reported.
“This was one of the few that would offer a three-month membership so that made the decision easy,” Harris said. “It was affordable for us. We could budget for our three month stay for golf.”
But commissioners say with no one stepping up to manage Bay Dunes, their best option now to to close the course. “I don’t think the county needs to be in the golf course business. We don’t need to operate it, certainly,” Tunnell said. “Government-run courses around the country, from what I’ve been told, have been closing down because they are not profitable. It’s hard to keep up with the pace of the improvements and the competition from some of the private courses that are out there.”
Now commissioners say a golf management company can still come forward to take over Bay Dunes in the next two weeks, but they would have to negotiate the infrastructure repairs with the county, which could cost the new owner upwards of $500,000, WJHG reported.
The golfers said they’re holding out hope that something will happen to keep the course open, WJHG reported.