Gulfport Golf Course Anticipating Busy Snowbird Season

Bayou Vista, formerly known at Tramark, has long been considered a less than perfect golf course. But the golfers we spoke to recently say they've witnesses some remarkable improvements.

"This year the course has really come around," one golfer said. "Every day you see them doing something different that's better."

Bayou Vista co-owner Alan Thomasson says it's nice that all their hard work is getting noticed.

"We've planted over 450 trees, azaleas and other plants around the golf course to replace the 250 that we lost," Thomasson said. "We've got grass in a lot of places where we haven't had grass previously. We expanded the size of the greens, put in some sand traps."

And Thomasson says with more area hotel rooms now available, he's anticipating his first good snowbird season in their 18 months in business here.

"I guess the best thing we can hope for down south here is for them to have a cold, wet, tough winter up north," Thomasson said with a smile.

He says from what he's heard from local hotels, there's good reason to be optimistic.

"They tell us they're booked fairly solid from the middle of December through May, so that's encouraging."

Next year, those northern migrants will see even more course improvements, as well as a proper club house, instead of tents and trailers.

"Sometime in the spring you'll see work on this, and you'll see something happening on these cart paths."

Thomasson says support from local hackers is already evident.

"A lot of the people driving by honk their horns and give us the thumbs up sign of approval, so that makes it all worthwhile."