Duffer Dan – July 2008

Duffer Dan at Bay Point Resort

This month we were the guests of the magnificent Bay Point Golf Resort & Spa in Panama City Beach. The Resort is located just minutes from the 27 miles of sugary white sand and the emerald waters of “The World’s Most Beautiful Beach”, and is nestled on a 1,100-acre wildlife sanctuary. The world class Bay Point Golf Club consists of two spectacular championship golf courses, the Meadows, and the only Jack Nicolas Design golf course in the entire panhandle of Florida, not surprisingly called the Nicklaus.

Both courses were a real joy to play and had distinctive nuances in their layout. The tees were placed in areas to afford everyone an enjoyable round, whatever their level of play. Director of Golf Operations Jay Iskow and his fine Honours Golf staff were very accommodating.

Before we teed off on the scenic first hole of the 7100 yard Nicklaus, a 399 yard par 4, we got the traditional ice cold Red Delicious from the Bay Point apple barrel. Your initial tee shot is over water to a very receptive dogleg right fairway. You can take as much as you are able but the fairway does narrow down past the 150-yard marker, with a small well-bunkered green. If your shots keep you out of trouble, you should be looking at birdie or par. The next hole is a 194-yard par 3, with water to cross and a bunker on the right. The cowardly Duffer baled out just short of the bunker and green, but had an easy chip and came away with par. The front nine was my favorite of the two, primarily because of the diversity of the design. The 3rd hole is another par 4 at 439 yards. After taking a look through the trees on the left, I found the location of the green and decided a shot to the middle of the fairway would do me a lot more good than trying to stripe a shot down the left. Sometimes the Duffer plays smart. Four is a par 4 on the bay side of the luxurious Marriott Hotel with little trouble until you reach the narrow green with water left and stadium style mounds to the right. The pin was tucked in the back, and we were happy with pars and bogeys.

The reason the Resort is called Bay Point because it is built along St, Andrews Bay, where you can enjoy kayaking, jet skis, fishing or a leisure boat ride. The signature hole is # 5, a 398-yard par 4 that offers both beauty and a challenge. The tee shot plays over a saltwater marsh to an island fairway that borders the bay. I played a five wood to the left of the 150-yard marker, which gives you another marsh to cross to reach the green. It is always nice to enjoy the sheer beauty of a challenging hole and card a birdie at the same time. Our first experience with a par 5 came at #6, a 509-yard well-bunkered layout that is a good chance for birdie. Another lucky shot to the par 3, 211 yard 7th afforded another birdie. After playing the par 4, 8th well we came to the longest hole on the course, a 572-yard par 5 and the last hole on this side. It is straight away, but we had some trouble getting on the green in three. Bogeys! The course does not return to the clubhouse. But fear not, the friendly cart lady, Christie, was there both days to satisfy our thirst. The hosts were out regularly providing ice-cold towels to cool you down, but there is usually a gulf breeze blowing due to the nearness of the Resort to water.

The back nine starts out with a 168-yard par 3 and then the longest par 4, #11, at 482 yards with no bunkers usually playing into the prevailing wind. Good luck! Another very scenic hole is the par 5 12th, which if you play your drive down the left side will give you a chance to reach the green in two. The shortest of the par 4’s is the 296 yard 13th and accuracy is key to a birdie. One of the most demanding holes on the course is the 14th, a 470yard par 4; a good shot to the water’s edge and then over water to the green. The greens were in great shape, lots of undulations, but our putts were dropping this day. The par 5, 15th is another hole where water plays into your angle of attack. On the par 4, 16th, keep your drive away from the pot bunker in the center of the fairway so you will have a chance to reach the elevated green 453 yards from the back tees. The longest par 3, the 234 yard 17th has one saving grace-a punch bowl green that seems to accept most shots and keep them on the green, You end your day at the 408 yard 18th, a par 4 with water skirting the left side. Another opportunity to get aggressive over the lake and bring it home with a bird. I wish I could have done that.

There are plenty of packages to experience Bay Point Golf Resort & Spa. You can contact Leslie Murry, Bay Point’s Golf Sales Manager at LMurry@BayPointResorts.com. For more information contact www.Bay- PointGolf.com or call 877-235-6950. Take my word; you won’t be disappointed with the stay or golf.