We-Ko-Pa Cholla – Arizona Golf Courses
Even though it’s often referred to as the “other course’’ at We-Ko-Pa these days, the Cholla Course is the main attraction for many players who visit this 36-hole facility, located about 20 minutes east of Scottsdale.
Built in 2001 by Scottsdale’s own golf course architect, Scott Miller, the Cholla course tips out at 7,225 yards, but offers several, more entertaining tee boxes between there and the front tees at 5,289. Cholla is rip-roaring fun thanks to its constantly changing terrain and endless variety of risk-reward golf hole designs.
Cholla’s thrilling adventure across the native American reservation of the Fort McDowell Yavapai Nation begins at the first tee. Elevated far above the first fairway below, you can play nearly any mid to long club in your bag. Your task is to determine how much, if any, you want to cut off the nearly 90-degree, downhill, dogleg left par-4, which plays much shorter than its official 351 yards.
That’s followed up by a slight double-dog-leg par-5 that slithers its way gently uphill to a partially hidden green, and then it’s onward to the dramatic, par-3 third which glistens like an emerald green jewel dropped into this natural, arid terrain.
Even though it’s a bit controversial, the difficult par-5 eighth hole offers a signature “Kodak moment’’ shot into a green complex that is drop-dead gorgeous. The tee shot is launched from the highest point on the course and breaks sharply to the right and down the hill. Your second shot is the tricky one here.
The green complex in the distance is artfully tucked into a rocky box canyon, on the opposite side of a natural arroyo that bisects the fairway. A lay-up short of it leaves you a sticky, downhill, side-hill lie for your third that can be troublesome. There’s room to lay on the far side of the arroyo as well, but a solid shot is required to carry the arroyo and find it.
If that’s not enough distraction, just add the awe-inspiring backdrop beyond featuring the namesake Four Peaks mountain, pronounced “we-ko-pah’’ in the native Yavapai language. The eighth is great fun and no matter what you card here, your eye-candy appetite will be satisfied.
The back nine is just as exhilarating, with a non-stop barrage of special par-3s, risk-reward par-5s and elegant green complexes with putting surfaces that are sure to knock your golf socks off.
So how is it that the Cholla is often overlooked in favor of the Saguaro course if it’s really this much nonstop excitement?
Well, call it the Coore-Crenshaw factor, as the design team of Bill and Ben, and their “minimalist” design philosophy are pretty popular these days. But a lot of those who rate golf courses for a living recognize this first offering at We-Ko-Pa has a lot more pizazz.
We agree. If you find yourself in need of an elevator presentation for the two courses at We-Ko-Pa Golf Club use this:
“Cholla, the original course, is played through the air and Saguaro, the one Crenshaw did, is played on the ground. They may be the best onsite, sister course pairing in desert southwest, and that’s why next Saturday, I booked us for a 36-hole day!”
Arizona Golf Authority AZGA “Local Hang” for We-Ko-Pa Golf Club is the club’s panoramic patio, especially if you indulge in the magnificent mahi-mahi sliders with zesty Pico de Gallo and a draught of Drop Top amber ale. No wonder We-Ko-Pa markets the final moments of a day of golf as “good food with a view.’’
Click We-Ko-Pa Saguaro Course to check out Cholla’s sister course; these two pair for a world-class 36-hole day of golf.
Visit our Arizona Golf Course Reviews and read the AZGA Player’s Review for every golf course in Arizona at http://www.arizonagolfauthority.com/coursedirectory/.
It’s “All Things Arizona Golf” from the Arizona Golf Authority.