Reporter Golfs Length of Detroit: One Hole in Eighteen Miles

Posted by Zachary Slobig

The Motor City has become a working laboratory for social innovation for some—a knotty problem to be solved. For others it's a canvas. For others it's the future of urban ag. Oh, and don't forget the proposal to transform an entire neighborhood into a zombie themed overnight amusement park. For Pulitzer Prize winning reporter Charlie LeDuff, though, it's just his hometown. LeDuff really loves Detroit.

LeDuff's idea of a love letter to his city was to golf his way across eighteen miles of urban decay, using hulking industrial relics as his sand traps and everyday Detroiters as his gallery. He counted 2,525 strokes. He comes across a mom trying to find her suicidal daughter, a disgruntled cop, and a generous deacon.   

As he chips through a broken window and down the front steps of a crumbling bungalow, a woman encourages him. "That's a good ass use for these houses, cause they won't tear em down," she says. "They won't do nothing. They won't cut the grass. Let's all play golf!" LeDuff offers no tidy hopeful solution for Detroit's ills, but he gets plenty of smiles and even a new pair of shoes.