We-Ko-Pa, Saguaro Course Review
Course Review - We-Ko-Pa Golf Club, Saguaro
Opened in December 2001, We-Ko-Pa Golf Club, Saguaro is the Fort McDowell Yavapai
Nation’s stunning new golf course covering almost 500 acres of natural desert
landscape. Featuring an authentic tribute to the local Yavapai tribe, We-Ko-Pa
pays homage to the original dwellers of the land. Located on Native American
land in Fountain Hills, the name We-Ko-Pa, means Four Peaks Mountain, which is
inspired by the surrounding mountains appropriately called the Four Peaks that
rise to an elevation of over 7,000 feet, and is located just thirty miles east
of the course. The desert terrain is contrasted by the Verde River, which flows
north to south through the reservation. Designed by noted golf course architect
Scott Miller, it plays a challenging 7,225 yards from the back tees, but with
well spaced multiple tee boxes the course caters to players of all calibers.
Scott Miller, a protégé of Jack Nicklaus, has struck gold with We-Ko-Pa, which
is one of the truest tests of golf. The design and conditions of this course
are as good as you will ever find and your score will reflect how well you
play. In addition, there are no, and never will be any, houses, roads, or
commercial developments on the golf course. This helps We-Ko-Pa to yield some
of the most dramatic and natural views of the surrounding mountain ranges
including: the Four Peaks, McDowell Mountains, Red Mountains and the
Superstition Mountains. Another distinguishing factor of We-Ko-Pa is the ample
amount of natural mesquite, palo verde, saguaros, shrubbery and desert
vegetation that sprawl through its arroyos and canyons, creating a lush desert
You will need every club in your bag because there is nothing missing on this
golf course. Featuring an ideal blend of doglegs and straightaway holes, a mix
of slender and ample fairways, two lakes, numerous elevation changes, large
greens, and strategically placed bunkers, We-Ko-Pa will test you at every turn.
With all of this, it is amazing that We-Ko-Pa is also one of the area's most
player-friendly tracts while still offering variety, views, desert-styled golf
and strategy. Miller was an artist by situating greens into natural draws or
arroyos and box canyons, then framing them with sculpted bunkers, waste areas,
centuries-old saguaros and rock outcroppings. He also masterfully used
elevation changes to make the layout more fun and picturesque. The playability
of the course is what golfers really love. Play aggressive: there is a
reachable par 4 (15th hole), wide fairways and landing areas, generous patches
of grass around the green, only 75 sand traps, and greens at 1, 2, 8, and 13
are not guarded by a single bunker. There isn’t a single out of bounds stake on
the entire course. Hit well and you will go home very happy.
You complete your date with a fabulous finishing par 4. The 18th is 432 yards
and presents a downhill risk-reward shot to a split fairway that is fronted by
an arroyo forced carry and two huge traps. If you lay-up safely right off the
tee, the approach shot will be long and must carry sand, water, and usually
wind. If you are aggressive and go left you must rip it far and straight off
the tee or you will be in trouble. The desert is on the left and water is on
We-Ko-Pa is filled with signature holes and no two holes look alike. However,
the signature hole, is the par 5, dogleg 8th hole.
This 602 yard hole not only slithers down a hill like a snake, but it also
yields some of the best views in the state. This hole takes 3 great shots and
then you still have to deal with the long narrow undulating green. In front of
the green, the landing area seems tiny with an arroyo waste area left and a
pint-sized piece of fairway sloping down to the putting surface. If you lay-up
back from this section of the fairway you are on a severe down-slope. A birdie
on this hole is almost as rare as a hole in one.
After a round of golf at We-Ko-Pa everyone always comes home with a smile and
if you bring your camera you will also come home with spectacular pictures.
Score Card - We-Ko-Pa Golf Club, Saguaro
Practice Facilities: Refine your game at one of the most magnificent
practice facilities. Putt, chip, swing out of bunkers, and take a few rips at
the beautiful driving range. Balls are included at the range.
19th Hole: Relax on the We-Ko-Pa patio enjoying your favorite cocktail
and one awe-inspiring view. Could life get any better? Sure it could, feast on
a scrumptious salad or delicious sandwich from the We-Ko-Pa Grill. The We-Ko-Pa
Grill is the perfect location for breakfast, lunch or a cold beverage at
sundown. Experience food with a view before or after each round.
Clubhouse: The spectacular 21,000 square foot full-service clubhouse was
designed by the award-winning architect Douglas Fredrikson. Inspired by the
Yavapai culture, the We-Ko-Pa clubhouse features a “desert vernacular” styling
with unique detail contributions that draw inspiration from the natural
environment. Sloped entry walls and a wood beam canopy create a canyon-like
feel entryway, followed by a water and fire feature that is designed to
symbolize the importance of woven baskets within the Yavapai culture. The
clubhouse is replete with stylized detailing and yields spectacular views of
the McDowell Mountains, Red Mountain, Four Peaks and the Superstitions. The
state-of-the-art golf shop offers the latest fashion merchandise.
Selected by Sports Illustrated as one of the Top 10 new public golf courses in
the world - December 10, 2001.
Chosen as the national winner of Golf Inc. magazine's 2002 Development of the
Year in the stand-alone course category.
Received the Gold Nugget Grand Award for Best Public/Private Recreational
Facility - Pacific Coast Builders Conference and Builders
Magazine, 2002 Premier Building Show.
Designer: Scott Miller
Golf Pro: Brian Jones
Grass type: Fairways: Rye grass. Greens: Pola Trivialis.
Recommended handicap: Every level golfer can enjoy their experience at
We Ko Pa. From the back tees it is challenging but the multiple tee boxes are
well spaced to cater to all caliber golfers. Generous landing areas and very
few carries allows players of all levels to really enjoy the golf experience at
1 -10 Course Rating by Meridian’s Golf Specialists: 9 ½
Comments by Meridian Guests:
“The best course I have ever played.” “Every hole looks different and
every hole plays different and every hole requires a different strategy.” “The
fairest test of golf I have ever experienced. If you hit the perfect shot you
are rewarded, if you just miss you are slightly penalized, if you hit an errant
shot you are severely penalized.”
“So peaceful.” “The conditions were simply amazing from the tee boxes to
the fairways to the traps to the rough to the immaculate greens.” “Scott Miller
really out did himself with this layout.”
The Drive: A beautiful 25 to 30 minute drive through beautiful Fountain
Hills. The course is on an Indian Reservation owned by the Fort McDowell
We-Ko-Pa Golf Club
18200 E. Toh Vee Cir.
Ft. McDowell, AZ 85264