Florida golf courses that survived lightning damage and Hurricane Michael to get new life

Nathan Cobb, Panama City News Herald
·2 min read

PANAMA CITY, Florida — Both golf courses in the Bay Point Community along the Florida panhandle could soon have a new owner.

According to Bill Wanner, president of the Bay Point Community Association, the Nicklaus and Meadows courses are under contract with a local resident who is expected to close on the purchases “shortly.”

While Wanner wouldn’t release any contract details Tuesday, including the buyer’s name or how much the courses were being sold for, he said the investor was a Bay Point resident.

“We have made it a policy of ours to not identify everything that we know with respect to who’s doing what, simply because (the contact) has not closed (and) anything might happen,” Wanner said.

The Nicklaus course is open while the Meadows has been closed since Hurricane Michael ravaged Bay County in October 2018. Also, the course survived lightning storms in 2018, which damaged a fairway.

An intense 2018 lightning storm didn’t spare the No. 9 hole on the Nicklaus Course at Bay Point. (Photo courtesy of the Bay Point Golf Club.)

Wanner added that the courses are currently owned by Torchlight Investors, a company based in New York that also owns the Sheraton Panama City Beach Golf & Spa Resort.

“Torchlight, from the very beginning, was not interested in splitting the courses or the two properties,” Wanner said.

According to the course’s website, the Nicklaus Course is set against the backdrop of St. Andrew’s Bay and a marshland wildlife sanctuary. In the summer of 2018, Originally designed by Bruce Devlin in 1986 (as Lagoon Legends) and renovated by Nicklaus Design in 2005, Bay Point Golf Club is the only Nicklaus Design golf course in Northwest Florida. The par 72 Nicklaus Design championship layout stretches over 7,000 yards from the back tees with a challenging course rating of 74.5 and slope of 137 and has hosted numerous regional and local events including the USGA U.S. Open Qualifier in 2016.

Wanner said the buyer’s intention is to keep the Nicklaus course operating and revamp the Meadows into a different amenity, one that will provide “a nice looking area around the golf course.”

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Members of the Bay Point Community Association considered buying the courses from Torchlight in December but voted against the purchases in mid-January.

“I think this is a great thing,” Wanner said. “The best thing would have been if Bay Point had bought the two golf courses. The next best thing is that this contractor buys them.”

More details will be released as they become available. The Bay County Clerk of Courts Record Department had no information on the potential purchase Monday morning.