NASHVILLE, Tenn. (WTVF) — On Saturday, Shelby Golf Course opened its doors for the first time since the deadly, March 2020 tornado tore through East Nashville.
The tornado downed 100 trees at the golf course and destroyed the course's irrigation system.
"We just couldn't function. It did a little bit of damage to the building, too," course manager Daryl Edens said. "It broke my heart when I saw all the trees and just all the devastation."
For nearly 10 months, the Shelby Golf Course clubhouse's doors have been shut, as the course prepared for a future that was, at times, uncertain.
"There for a while we didn't know, with the economy with COVID, we just didn't know," Edens said.
But on Saturday, golfers returned to the nearly 100-year-old course for the first time since the deadly storm.
"I was really excited, I mean it's great to see our friends and my patrons that have stuck with us and... a lot of the regulars," Edens said.
Course regulars said they were excited to be back, as well.
"It's a long time coming," Thomas Binkley said. Binkley grew up near the course and said he'd played on it for close to 50 years.
"I grew up over here, over by number 10 fairway, and played golf all the time when I was a kid," he said.
Binkley noted that the course looks different than it did this time last year.
"All the trees and stuff are gone from the tornado, so it's going to be a little more wide open than it used to be," he said, adding that he doesn't mind the change and is just happy to be back. "I just love this course, I just love playing here."
The opening didn't come without controversy, however. While the course was closed, many neighbors used the rolling hills as a park. Some expressed disappointment that the area would go back to being a golf course. On Saturday, Council Member Brett Withers said he supported Shelby Golf Course, and that the course is part of the Shelby Park Master Plan, a long-term vision for the park that was approved by Metro leaders in 2009.