Access to Jackson Park and to the South Shore Cultural Center from the South Shore neighborhood is at best mediated by and at worst denied by the presence of the Jackson Park and South Shore Golf Courses and the fences erected along significant stretches of their borders. “Well, of course,” one might respond, “they are golf courses,” but is this response a product of thinking critically about the effects of urban golf courses on their host neighborhoods or merely a response habituated by how we routinely imagine golf courses in the American landscape?
My purpose in posing this question is not to formulate an argument for getting rid of the Jackson Park or South Shore Golf Courses, nor is it a rally cry against their proposed replacement, the so-called Tiger Woods golf course put forward by the Chicago Parks Golf Alliance. I pose the question because I think there must be a way through design to integrate the life of a neighborhood into the life of a golf course that the neighborhood hosts. Urban public golf courses should be accessible visually and in some significant and meaningful ways physically to people who live in adjoining neighborhoods, including people who don’t play golf.
This short photo essay is about the current boundary between the South Shore neighborhood and the extant South Shore and Jackson Park golf courses. The photo above shows a chain link fence that serves as the boundary between the South Shore Golf Course and the sidewalk that runs along the east side of South South Shore Drive from East 67th Street to East 71st Street.