A diamond in the rough – The Stuttgart golf course


Story By Bardia Khajenoori
U.S. Army Garrison Stuttgart Public Affairs

Pattonville, a neighborhood located between Stuttgart and Ludwigsburg, served as a bustling U.S. military housing area for nearly forty years. Thousands of service members and their families enjoyed amenities like schools, shops, and a movie theater until the area was returned to German control in 1993. 

But while the area’s street names ‒ Michiganstrasse and Oregonweg among them ‒ have kept an American flair, the only remaining direct U.S. presence here since the handover has been the Stuttgart Golf Course.

Stuttgart golf course – Photo by Severin Hardy

“We’re all proud to work here,” said Marco Spellacy, the facility’s manager. “We’re sort of like an island out here on our own compared to the rest of the garrison, and it seems special that we still have the property and can continue to contribute to service members’ quality of life.”

The 18 hole, 300 acre course was built in 1956 and designed by Bernhard von Limburger, described by the journal ‘Golf Course Architecture’ as “clearly the most important golf course architect in Germany” in his time. A $1.8 million renovation in 2011-2012 redesigned the greens complexes and tee boxes, introducing new contours and a much-improved drainage system.

The course is run by Family and MWR in partnership with a German golf club, which helps keep amenities up to par, said Spellacy. “We have first class practice facilities – four practice greens, another area to hit short shots, and a driving range.”

“You can sit outside on the terrace and enjoy a nice meal and drink overlooking the eighteenth hole, where we’ve got a little pond with a fountain”

Richard Root, a DoD civilian who plays there regularly, was impressed early on with its championship length and facility quality.

Stuttgart golf course – Photo by Severin Hardy

“I researched it before I took the job here, that’s how much I like to golf,” said Root. “The photos I saw showed it was unbelievably well kept, and that’s been my experience. The team does a great job keeping it up.”

U.S. ID card holders benefit from favorable pricing, with junior enlisted service members able to play eighteen holes of golf for as little as $14. Annual memberships, which allow unlimited play, range from $375-725 based on rank and affiliation. Fees for joining part way through the membership season are pro-rated.

“Even if you golf a few times a month, the membership pays for itself,” said Root. “It’s an exceptional value, much cheaper than where I played in the states – and it’s a better course.”

Active duty players can schedule tee times up to 14 days in advance, and all other U.S. ID card holders can schedule up to seven days prior.

“As long as you can plan in advance, you can get on the course pretty much anytime unless there’s an event going on,” said Spellacy, who added that staff also work to accommodate more spontaneous visits.

The course, along with others nationwide, was closed completely for nearly three months last year as the first wave of the coronavirus pandemic took hold, but has remained open since then with mitigation measures in place.

Stuttgart golf course – Photo by Severin Hardy

For Root and his wife, Dianne, playing golf has served as a form of stress relief through the past sixteen months. “It’s a sport we can do together, and it’s good exercise since I walk the course every time we play.”

One of the advantages of the course, said Root, is that it suits all levels of players. “Each hole has uniqueness with bunkers, hills, and turns that challenge you.” The staff are also “fabulous,” he added, going out of their way to help and advise players.

With an onsite restaurant and picturesque views, Spellacy points out that even non-golfers can enjoy the facilities. “You can sit outside on the terrace and enjoy a nice meal and drink overlooking the eighteenth hole, where we’ve got a little pond with a fountain,” he said. “It’s really peaceful, quiet, and beautiful.”

The Stuttgart Golf Course is open year-round, although the official season runs from April through September, and instructional programs are available for individuals and groups at all skill levels. Rental equipment, ranging from clubs to golf carts, is available at the pro shop.

The course is located on Aldinger Str. in Kornwestheim. If you use a GPS, it can be found under Golf Courses, “Neckartal”