NASHVILLE — Brandt Snedeker pointed out Thursday that the Shelby Golf Course, where he often played as a youth, is the least-played course in the Metro Parks system in this Tennessee city. But that may not be the case much longer.
Snedeker, a nine-time PGA Tour winner and 2012 FedEx Cup champion, attended a media event on the golf course Thursday where Nashville Mayor John Cooper announced a $2 million renovation project beginning at Shelby and VinnyLinks, also located in Shelby Park, in March.
The upgrades planned for Shelby include combining the winter and summer greens into a green complex on each hole; expanding the practice putting green in the clubhouse to more than five times its current size; new irrigation; replacement and expansion of six tee boxes; and work on the cart path.
The main focus at VinnyLinks will be the improvement of all nine tee boxes and woodwork.
The renovations coincide with Shelby Golf Course’s 100th anniversary in 2024.
“As a Nashvillian, I grew up playing golf around here, but Shelby is where I spent most of my time,” Snedeker said. “My dad played here every day with old Chief Joe Casey. They had a standing start time of 12 o’clock and I came out here when I was 16, 17, 18 years old and played. It was great to spend time playing golfing with my dad and having this momentous day where we redo this course with Metro Parks wanting to bring it back to the way it was designed is a really special moment.”
Snedeker, who estimated he has played thousands of rounds at Shelby, also mentioned how unique the 18-hole course is with its location so close to downtown.
“The access that this course can provide to many Nashvillians who have not been traditional golfers is tremendous,” he said. “But it’s in dire need of an upgrade . . . We have a jewel here that’s kind of been underserved for the last 15 to 20 years.”
Shelby, a 6,079-yard, par-72 course, has long been the least-played municipal golf course of the seven in the Metro Parks system. It had more than 39,000 nine-hole rounds played in the last financial year compared to McCabe, who had the most with more than 122,000.
Whit Turnbow, president of the Tennessee Golf Foundation, which will oversee the renovations by architect Bruce Hepner and Hepner Golf Design LLC, expects average rounds per year to double or even triple after the improvements. The foundation has a guarantee for cost overruns that may arise with the project.
Cooper said the improvements are part of those that began three years ago after a tornado caused severe damage to homes and businesses in East Nashville.
“The homes and businesses that have been rebuilt have been substantially repaired, but now this is the last leg of the tornado damage,” Cooper said. “The $2 million for the project is funded, it’s ready to go and work will start in March.”
Hepner recently completed similar renovations at Percy Warner Golf Course.
“What we’re trying to do here is upgrade the facility,” Hepner said. “It’s the least played golf course (in the Metro), and that could be because of the conditions, it could be because we still have the old winter/summer greens. So we’re trying to improve the playability of the golf course so we can get this community involved here in playing golf.”
The renovation is expected to take a year to complete. Turnbow said Cooper, who is a golfer, would be invited back to tee off on the first hole once the project is complete.
Reach Mike Organ at 615-259-8021 or at X, formerly Twitter @MikeOrganWriter.