Golf in Niceville’s Bluewater Bay

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By Barbara Palmgren

When I think about the beauty of the golf course at Bluewater Bay, and look at its blue and white logo with boat sails and golf clubs, I have to borrow a few lines from Roy Orbison’s famous song and change the lyrics:

I’m going back someday,
Come what may,
To Bluewater.
Where the golf is fine,
And the world is mine,
In Bluewater.
With marina fair,
And the salty air,
Yes, I can only see,
The familiar sunrise,
With a par putt there,
On hole number three.

I once lived on Prestwick Drive in Bluewater Bay and watched golfers hit their approach shot to the Par 4 green. Bluewater Bay was a magical place back in the mid-80’s as it is today. There is a special legacy that this golf community brings to the Florida Panhandle. Located in Niceville, this sprawling community contains friendly, enthusiastic, sports-minded residents of all ages. The roads, round-abouts and cul-de-sacs are filled with walkers and joggers who pass by the marina, tennis courts, pools, pickleball courts, and yes, in the heart of it all, the golf center.

The golf course layout has changed off and on during the 39 years when golf began in Bluewater Bay. Now, golfers play 18 holes, the Bay and the Marsh. One designed by Tom Fazio. One designed by Jerry Pate. Art Jean, a director on the board of Preserve Bluewater Bay C Corporation, says his favorite hole is a Par 3 on the Marsh course. Par 3 overlooks the blue waters of Choctawhatchee Bay…hence my referral to his scenic hole in the lyrics above. Imagine watching a sunrise or being distracted by dolphins breaking the water as if to applaud a rare hole-in-one.

The Golf Club at Bluewater Bay boasts a well-stocked pro shop where the public can rent clubs if necessary to enjoy a golf round. General Manager, Christian Castrodad, and staff welcome tourists and the public to play year-round. Memberships for singles, family, juniors, active military and other categories are available at reasonable fees. Members are well organized with both a men’s and ladies golf group that want to include new members and expand weekly play for golfers.

Food and beverage availability? No worries. Food at the Pro Shop bar and grill is provided daily. The Tap Room operates Thursday through Saturday from 3 to 10 p.m. Relaxing with friends and recalling a special birdie or two is always the perfect end to a golf match. Is there a special event where you need to plan a birthday, a wedding or a charity golf tournament? Bluewater Bay staff will work with an organization, providing a win-win for the club and the group as everyone experiences the joy of being in the heart of the Bluewater community.

So, what can the golfer expect? Dennis Stein, golf course superintendent, arrived in March 2022 to see greens that needed attention. The PBWB board reports that Dennis “brought them back to life.” Any golfer knows that the key to a good golf round is having excellent greens and fairways. As for the rough…let’s not discuss those troublesome areas that I try to avoid at all costs! This 18-hole golf course has yardage tees that vary according to golf skill and ego. Challenging Par 4-, 5- and 3-holes wind through community, wetlands and beautiful natural surroundings.

So, as the song says, “Come back today, to Bluewater Bay…where the golf is fine and the world is mine, at Bluewater.” I recommend teeing up your next golf shot at this special course and hitting it straight down the middle of a pristine fairway or over a scenic marshland.