Cholla Course at We-Ko-Pa Golf Club Reopens After Renovation

Project included new greens and bunker sand, high tech irrigation system, turf removal and work on the 8th hole

We-Ko-Pa Golf Club’s Cholla course reopened on October 28th after a $1.8 million renovation project to update vital elements of the award-winning golf experience that invariably require attention with time.

We’re very pleased with the way the renovation turned out,” said Matt Barr, general manager of We-Ko-Pa Golf Club. “Although the turf reduction and enhancements to No. 8 will be the most obvious features, the new greens, bunkers, irrigation infrastructure will positively impact playability and overall golfer satisfaction for years to come.”

Before the renovation, the fairway on the 605-yard, par-5 8th hole narrowed as it plunged toward a deep, dry desert arroyo that runs across the front of the green leaving a small target for a second-shot layup. The landing area has been widened and part of the arroyo was grassed to create a more realistic risk/reward scenario for golfers.

MiniVerde Grass on Greens, New Bunker Sand and Irrigation Among the Changes

We-Ko-Pa Golf Club #17 Fort McDowell Yavapai Nation, Fountain Hills, Arizona

We-Ko-Pa Golf Club #17
Fort McDowell Yavapai Nation,
Fountain Hills, Arizona

Other enhancements include replacement of Tifdwarf Bermudagrass on all 18 greens with a faster-rolling MiniVerde variety of Ultra Dwarf. New sand and drainage for all bunkers improves playability and prevents pooling. New sprinkler heads, valves and field controllers were installed to allow for a more accurate and efficient watering of the golf course. Roughly eight percent, or six acres, of existing turf was removed without impacting playability and aesthetics. Native plants consistent with the surrounding Sonoran Desert will replace the turf.

“The project also helps us to be better stewards of the land in addition to a recognizable savings in electricity, labor, fuel, equipment and most importantly – water,” said Barr.

“The Cholla renovation is an example of investment in the We-Ko-Pa experience,” said Owen Doka, assistant general manager of We-Ko-Pa Golf Club and former Tribal Councilmember of the Fort McDowell Yavapai Nation. “Last year we made a number of enhancements to the clubhouse, as well as new cart paths on Saguaro. This year it was Cholla’s turn. We’re very proud of the honors Cholla has received in the past 15 years, and we’re committed to doing what it takes to maintain and improve the overall experience for our guests.”

Owned and operated by the Fort McDowell Yavapai Nation, We-Ko-Pa Golf Club is a 36-hole, daily fee golf facility featuring the original Scott Miller-designed Cholla course, which debuted in 2001. The Saguaro course, designed by Bill Coore and Ben Crenshaw, opened for play in 2006. Both courses are perennial favorites among industry-leading golf media such as Golf Magazine, Golf Digest and Golfweek. Their popularity stems from the combination of solid golf course design surrounded by nothing but Sonoran Desert. The main clubhouse features the We-Ko-Pa Grille, recently renovated locker facilities and well-appointed golf shop. Just across the sprawling practice facility lies a smaller full-service clubhouse which serves the Saguaro course. For more information on We-Ko-Pa Golf Club, call 480-836-9000 or visit

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