'Scared to death': Golfers take cover in bunker, dodge falling trees while caught in tornado

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Thursday, July 20, 2023
Golfers relive being caught on the course when tornado hit
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The EF3 tornado that touched down yesterday came with a warning for some but not the 10 men out at Belmont Lake Golf Course.

ROCKY MOUNT, N.C. (WTVD) -- The EF-3 tornado that touched down Wednesday came with a warning for some, but not 10 men out at Belmont Lake Golf Course.

"I was scared... all of us were scared," said Pat Smith.

The group left their phones in their cars and in a matter of minutes, everything changed.

They jumped in the golf cart and searched for shelter.

"And that tree fell in front of us so I had to slam on brakes. I was going back up because you can't turn the cart path, I mean it's woods. About time I got ready to back up, a tree fell behind it and then they started falling everywhere and we just ducked down. I was holding onto the steering wheel and you can't really remember much, you know what I mean? You scared to death," Smith said.

Another group of golfers caught in the storm included Bob Norman. He and his friends weren't able to move as quickly.

Norman was thrown from his golf cart, and his friend Bill Stephens took cover in a bunker.

Today crews began the removal process.

"We're removing 30 trees; do you know there's one that split the house directly in half removing all trees 150 feet of the structure, so we're probably going to be here for quite a couple days; maybe we estimate 100 hours on this project," said Andrew Schray with 503 Tree Service.

None of the golfers who were caught in the tornado were seriously hurt.