The We-Ko-Pa Golf Club lies to the north east of Scottsdale on a site developed by the Fort McDowell Yavapai Nation and it offers daily fee golfers the use of two spectacular 18-hole layouts, the Cholla (opened in 2002) and the Saguaro (which debuted in 2006).
Situated on property totally untouched by residential or commercial buildings, the courses here offer a fantastic desert golf experience in the shadow of Red Mountain, Four Peaks and Superstitions.
As co-designer Ben Crenshaw said when talking about Saguaro: “this piece of land has some very interesting natural movement to it. I think this golf course will be pretty unique for the desert. People will be induced to play different shots and find solutions to new challenges when playing this course.”Interestingly, the three par fives on the scorecard at holes 4, 8 and 14 are rated stroke index 1, 3 and 2 respectively so length really does matter in this instance in terms of scoring difficulty. The last of the four par threes is also a tough hole when played from a back tee that measures all of 255 yards to the green.
Wow I really enjoyed this course. I played both courses at We-ko-pa and I thought the Saguaro to be both the stronger of the two courses and much more fun to play. The course is in magnificent condition and has a wonderful combination of short and long par 4's, par 3's of varying lengths and challenge, and par 5's that range from the 600 yard plus 4th hole to the shorter 498 yard 8th protected by a steeply sloped green and well placed bunkers.
The start was interesting beginning with a long par 4 that plays downhill and then a nice short par4 at the second. Three was a pretty mundane dog leg left par 4 but things really started taking off around the par 4 6th. The course began flowing into some really nice rolling terrain that the designers used to great advantage to create interesting and challenging holes. The last three holes encapsulated everything I loved about the course. 16 was an uphill dogleg par 4 that plays around 300 yards. Options galore are available from the tee depending on the way the player wants to attack the hole. 17 is a shorter par 4. A well placed drive down the right side opens up the approach to the large sloped green. 18 is a massive par 4 that appears to me to resemble 18 at Shinnecock.
This was a fun challenging course that I would readily return to play. Probably the only downside is that the greens were not as challenging as some of the other Coore/Crenshaw courses I've played. On the good side even though the holes wound through some significant elevation changes you could walk this course without any problems. This is a beautiful, natural layout that I would seek out and play any time I was in the Phoenix area.
It was a demanding and long day this one. Very early in the moring I was the first one to tee off on my own at Eagle Mountain GC which I found a very good and friendly option, very close to the WeKoPa GC. After breakfast I arrived to this Club and was able to give a full look to the Cholla Course which I didn´t play but found maybe tougher from the tee than Saguaro and some kind friendlier with the approach shots.
But all in one two similar experiences which of course are ones worth if travelling here.
Played with a very friendly local guy and in the middle of the round we joined 2 more golfers to make it a more fun afternoon.
I had my butt kicked in the front 9 without hitting bad shots, it just happened that I made too many silly mistakes and the course just doesn't forgive one single error. The front 9 are some kind of easier, with much more level changes and some holes really to remember like very long par 3 15th and short 15th up the hill.
18th was one of the best holes, some kind of 480yds downhill with a nice forced carry for the tee shot. I ended the round with no birdies, putting not that bad but it just happened I was not good enough for them.
On the front 9 there are someshort good holes like par 4 7th and short par 3 9th with very small greens.
Despite being in summer, course was in decent shape and I liked it, but again need my pictures to really remember some of the holes.
It is one of those you have to play if coming here, but you will not find it easy to remember many details if not using your camera.
Make sure your driver is working on this course and Coore and Crenshaw offer forced carries on many a hole. The course has stunning visuals and as it resides on a Indian reservation, has access to order to keep it lush and in top shape.
The course doesn't try to disguise its danger, Coore and Crenshaw lay it all out there in front of you but also offer several ways of playing the hole that bears repeated visits.
The desert scrub is thinned in places so you can recover from mishits and after finishing up on 18, you will feel like going out and playing another 18, a true testament to one of the best courses in Arizona.