The Founder's course at Verrado Golf Club is set in the foothills of the White Tank Mountains and it's a John Fought and Tom Lehman co-design from 2004. It's routed around rocky outcrops, desert washes and native vegetation with a number of exciting elevation changes.
Located thirty miles west of downtown Phoenix, Verrado became a 36-hole golf facility in 2016 with the addition of another Fought/Lehman collaboration called Victory.
The Founder’s course is set out on the site of the old Caterpillar bulldozer proving grounds, though the layout’s industrial past is far removed from the memorable and scenic holes that now exist.
Credit the tandem of John Fought and Tom Lehman for a quality upscale layout open to the public. The main issue for Verrado is that when the desire to create golf options in the west valley was just getting going the impact of The Great Recession virtually stopped the momentum.
Many people may not venture to Buckeye given the plethora of golf options in and around the immediate Scottsdale area.
The Founder's has enough roll to it but nothing excessive. Lehman and Fought have provided playability but there's sufficient versatility for the layout to have some needed teeth for those wishing to be tested when the tees are set back and the pins tucked into the more challenging placements.
Given the need to keep play moving the added design details of having fairways narrowed at some landing areas was not done. The greens are also contoured appropriately but nothing is done to excess. I really enjoyed the short par-4 2nd, the par-5 15th and the closing hole is a quality long par-4 bringing you back to the clubhouse.
I'd be very much interested in seeing if Lehman and Fought are ever engaged to upgrade what they provided. Founder's is a fun course to play and it has its moments. Go there with that in mind and the time there will be rewarding.
M. James Ward