The year is 1993, and the streets of Atlanta’s East Lake neighborhood have a sinister feel. Storefronts are boarded up, and burned-out cars rust in vacant lots. Many of the homes that have not been abandoned have bars on their windows and doors. Drug dealers and hookers stagger in and out of the crack houses that proliferate, and gunfire breaks out so frequently at the East Lake Meadows public housing project that locals have taken to calling it “Little Vietnam.” Someone has painted a giant skull and crossbones on one of the buildings there. Appropriately, another bit of graffiti reads: “Dead End.”
Set in the center of that rundown area is East Lake Golf Club. Many years before, it had been a refined retreat for Atlanta’s well-to-do. Bobby Jones learned to play the game there, as did 1938 British Amateur champion Charlie Yates and three-time U.S. Women’s Amateur winner Alexa Stirling. East Lake also hosted the 1963 Ryder Cup. But in the early 1990s, thugs are robbing golfers at gunpoint on the Donald Ross-designed course, and the f...
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