Paul originally nominated the Cholla course at We-Ko-Pa Golf Club as a gem and we added it to the Top 100 website in February 2008. Since then, we have extended our Best In State rankings for Arizona and the Cholla has made the ranking grade. Paul’s original comments are as follows:
“We-Ko-Pa (which means 4 peaks) is located in Fountain Hills just outside Scottsdale and is blessed with two award winning courses, Cholla & Saguaro (named after the iconic desert cacti that cover the landscape). The Cholla course is a Scott Miller design and opened for play in 2001 and the second course, Saguaro, designed by Ben Crenshaw & Bill Coore, opened for play in 2007.Both courses are built on land owned and developed by Native American tribe Fort McDowell Yavapai Nation. We-Ko-Pa is all about the golfing experience with stunning views and vistas with no homes constructed anywhere near the site and some of the views from the elevated tees are jaw dropping. Also, the conditioning could not be better.”
I looked forward to Cholla, but left disappointed. The course did have a good layout and was in good condition, that being said, when I play a premium course there are things that I expect. For the money I expect excellent customer service. I want the feeling that they are happy that I chose their course to play, not the feeling that I should be grateful to be playing their course. From the bag drop, to pro shop I felt that I was bothering these people. The only openly friendly guy was the starter. So been there, done that, but I won’t be back. There are many other premium courses, in the area, where they treat yo7 like king.
I was able to play the Cholla course on a recent trip to the Scottsdale area. This is a rambling spread out course designed around many of the washes in the area. The course runs up and around a ridge that gives some significant elevation changes to several of the holes. The course is beautifully conditioned and quite pleasing to the eye. On the positive side the course has several interesting par threes and a nice variety of par 4's. I really liked the driveable par 4 15th and the dogleg left par 4 16th hole. On the downside the par 5's were all very long and essentially played as three shot holes with no opportunity for a risk reward second shot. I thought the split fairway 18th to be a rather bizzare hole requiring either a lay up to the right leaving a long second shot or a very dangerous drive to the left of the bunkers to try and shorten the hole. Another downside for me was that the course was unwalkable. My GPS gave me a total distance covered of over 9 miles for the round versus the 6 to 6.5 miles I usually walk at my home course. We spent a lot of time riding the cart between holes.
I think this is a solid 4 ball course. It is probably worth playing while in the area, but for me the course is far overshadowed by the Saguaro course next door.