Ramstein’s Woodlawn has rich golfing history

***image1***Woodlawn Golf Course is one of the golf world’s best kept secrets. Almost as old as the base upon which it was built, Woodlawn opened in 1954 as a nine-hole layout. In August 1956, thanks to Col. Herb Hartwig, an avid golfer, Woodlawn became an 18-hole course. In 1958, Colonel Hartwig started the first Woodlawn International Golf Tournament, which he promoted as “the biggest golf tournament on the continent.” It offered $5,000 in cash prizes, unheard of at the time on the European tour.

First place was worth $2,000; only the British Open paid more. Scotland’s John Panton won the inaugural 72-hole tournament with a 275 total, five strokes under par. Some of the world’s best golfers of that time came to play in the Woodlawn Open during its 11-year existence, featuring the largest prize money of all European tour events. During that time, Dennis Hutchinson of South Africa notched the course record of 62, which still stands to this day.
The prize money dried up in 1968, however, when the military discontinued raffles.

Woodlawn is a relatively short course by today’s standards, measuring only 5,862 yards from the blue tees. Par is 35 + 35=70, with five par-3 holes dotting the course ranging in length from 145 to 197 yards. What Woodlawn lacks in length, it makes up for with narrow tree-lined fairways and well-bunkered greens. There are more than 60 bunkers on the course, three in the fairways.

It is the trees that are responsible for Woodlawn’s incredible beauty. They present a mixture of beech, oak, birch and pine.Their abundance and proximity to one another led to the creation of the phrase “Woodlawn Symphony.” The symphony occurs when a poorly struck golf ball ricochets off the trees, creating an almost musical note that vibrates throughout the course.

(Courtesy of Larry Zani, Kaiserslautern American-German Business Club)