SCOTTSDALE, Ariz. -- There's no course in the desert quite like the Saguaro at We-Ko-Pa Golf Club, which opened in 2006 and was designed by Bill Coore and Ben Crenshaw. It's a perennial candidate for the top public course in Phoenix-Scottsdale and there are many reasons, from the peaceful surroundings to a collection of fun holes, why it's a good choice.
Located in the East Valley on Fort McDowell Yavapai Nation Native American Reservation land, there is no residential component to the property which provides peaceful desert and mountain views in all directions. We-Ko-Pa means "four peaks" and the Four Peaks mountains are visible from most parts of the course.
The biggest difference between the next door Cholla Course and the Saguaro is that the holes tend to flow a little more naturally along the ground here. Perhaps the strength of the design by Coore-Crenshaw is the short par 4s. There are multiple chances to go for the green off the tee when conditions are right. There are so many different looks off the tee, from blind shots to the par-5 14th hole which features a split fairway separated by a desert wash.
Those who want to stay and play can do so across the street at the We-Ko-Pa Resort (formerly branded a Radisson property). The hotel has an adjacent casino but unlike Talking Stick and many other casino resorts, the two entities are separate from one another. Golfers should inquire about special golf suites that feature large common areas furnished with a full refrigerator, microwave, dishwasher and bar area.