WeKoPa Cholla course review

Fort McDowell, Arizona

Set in the desert with spectacular views of the McDowell Mountains, Red Mountain, Four Peaks and the Superstitions you really do feel like you are in the middle of nowhere yet WeKoPa Golf Club is less than thirty minutes drive from Downtown Scottsdale.

WeKoPa in the Yavapai language means ‘Four Peaks’, named after the nearby snow covered peaks of the Matazal Mountains.

We-Ko-Pa Golf Club lies on Fort McDowell Yavapai Nation land that will never be commercially developed so you will find no houses on the courses, just two spectacular golf courses winding through the desert landscape with uninterrupted views of the distant mountain ranges.

WeKoPa Cholla 14th hole
View from the 14th tee at WeKoPa Cholla

WeKoPa Cholla, along with it’s sister course Saguaro, have won a number of awards and accolades. Most recent are Golf Magazine listed Cholla as No. 46 in its ranking of the “Golf’s Top 100 You Can Play” for 2016/2017. Golfweek bestowed Cholla with three “Golfweek’s Best” honors: 20th in 2016 Casino Courses ranking; No. 66 in the list of the Resort Courses for 2017; and 9th in the 2016 State-by-State Courses You Can Play in Arizona ranking.

You can see a full list of Cholla awards here.

Playing the Course

The course is 7,225 yards so a true challenge from the back tees. However, with four sets of tees plus a composite layout you can choose the tees that suit your game. The forward mens tees are only 6114 yards so players of all abilities can enjoy WeKoPa Cholla.

You can see the full card here.

The elevated first tee gives you the first taste of the many elevation changes as WeKoPa Cholla makes use of the desert arroyos, ridges and undulations. It also highlights the strategic nature of the course.

A big drive up the left side can leave just a short pitch into the green, but can you carry the desert scrub to reach the fairway on that line? Drive out to the safe side on the right but you leave yourself with a much longer shot into a small green with trouble all around.

WeKoPa Cholla 1st green
It is a more challenging approach from the safer right side of the fairway on the first hole at WeKoPa Cholla.

When we played last December the greens were absolutely perfect and extremely quick. Generally the greens are small, undulating protected by bunkers, run off areas and the surrounding desert so accuracy with your approach shots is the key to playing the course well.

WeKoPa Cholla bunkers
Strategic bunkers and runoff areas put a premium on accuracy with your approach shots.

The fairways are fairly generous so take advantage of the room off the tee to get a good drive away and give yourself the best chance of a successful approach shot.

WeKoPa Cholla fairway
The fairways are generous but the holes narrow down once you get closer to the green

The par three is the perfect example of how the designer used the desert landscape to define the character of the course.

A shallow arroyo winds it’s way along the front and right side of the green which is cut into the desert landscape presenting a pretty small target from the tee.

WeKoPa Cholla 3rd hole
The par 3 3rd hole on WeKoPa Cholla takes advantage of the natural desert terrain to present a challenging target

The par fives on the course are all pretty long so for most people they are three shotters. The Par five 8th is particularly challenging and features probably the biggest elevation change from tee to green.

Starting from the elevated tee, probably the highest point on the course, the hole sweeps down the hill and then doglegs right before turning back to the left by the green.

The second shot is the key as the ideal layout means taking on the narrow neck of the dogleg. Layup shorter than that and you leave yourself a much longer third into a really narrow green surrounded by nothing but trouble.

Layout

It is a traditional par 72 layout with 2 par 5s and 2 par 3s in each nine. The shortest par five is the 566 yard 10th hole with the 605 yard 8th hole the longest.

The par threes are mid to long, ranging from the 177 yard 14th to the challenging 220 yard 11th but with several sets of tees they are all a manageable distance for most golfers.

There is a good range of par fours highlighted by the 15th and 16th holes which are 327 yards and 472 yards respectively off the back tees.

You can see the full scorecard here and a hole by hole layout here.

WeKoPa Cholla
Pick the right tees for your game and enjoy this fantastic course.

Location

WeKoPa Golf Club is located just under 30 minutes east of Scottsdale Old Town off Highway 87.

Dining

One of our favourite places for lunch when we are out in Scottsdale, The WeKoPa Grille never disappoints. whether dining inside or on the large outdoor terrace you can enjoy views of the surrounding desert whilst sampling  the extensive menu available for both breakfast and lunch.

Read more details on the WeKoPa Grille here.

Overall Impression

One of the very best golf experiences in the Scottsdale area. Great golf courses in immaculate condition, excellent facilities, friendly staff and, don’t forget to stop for lunch!

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