Reflections on Golf on the Water

When I began my project for mapping the Camden County Golf Academy, I was sure there were plenty of opportunities for creating a narrative atlas, as Denis Wood did in Everything Sings. There are a lot of players involved in keeping the facility running, a diverse clientele and rhythms, as Wood calls them, that only become apparent within the space after being involved in it for several years. Those opportunities, however, were not as evident as I had anticipated.

Admittedly, the first map I drew was the copy of geese footprints, since it was the first to catch my eye. It wasn’t until I was out in the snow that I noticed the damage to the yardage markers, which I found worthy of note. I thought little details like these would make for the most poetic maps, the kinds of things that would no doubt interest people even if they didn’t “serve a purpose.”

I considered what makes the CCGA the CCGA: history, Rutgers, location, etc. Many people comment on the trophies and awards presented in the clubhouse, so I took that as a cue of some level of significance.

Sadly, the weather dampened some of my plans, as I had some ideas for other maps that just wouldn’t be possible in the wintertime. For instance, I would have liked to have drawn a map of the distribution of golf balls on the ground as they lay at the end of the day, but the biting cold held potential customers back and prevented any meaningful mapmaking. I was also interested in mapping the race and gender and age of each patron, but, again, there were too few (if any) customers on any given day during this project to draw representative samples.

Overall, things came together quite nicely, and the maps lent themselves to discussions inspired by our readings. Each map tells a story, even if that story doesn’t have a “point” in the traditional sense. Here’s a link to the ISSUU, which decided to flip my featured image for some reason.

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