Tuesday, September 23, 2008
Reviewing a Golf Course - We-Ko-Pa, Cholla Course, Scottsdale, AZ
I play a lot of golf. I also have a golf blog (welcome!), so I figured it would be beneficial to both you and I to begin reviewing golf courses. We'll talk about the course, the conditions, the price, the beverage cart and if it's worth the visit. If you've played, leave some comments. Here we are, golf course reviewing.
This weekend, during all the Ryder Cup mayhem, I found some time to play a little golf with three of my good buddies. One of my buddies girlfriends decided that for his birthday she'd be the coolest girlfriend around and buy him and some friends a tee time at one of the nicer desert golf course in Arizona, We-Ko-Pa. So, we headed out to the Cholla course and tried to conquer the 7,225 yard animal.
I will admit, I have played both course at We-Ko-Pa a few times. One of my good friends worked there during high school so in college we'd randomly head up and try to get on later in the afternoon. For a course that is considered one of the top-100 you can play in the country, this was always a bonus.
When we pulled up, we dropped our bags off and heading into the clubhouse. The pro shop attendant was helpful and informative, and as we headed out to the range, we were met with a challenge. No range balls. A few guests were standing around waiting, so it wasn't like they just run out. Okay, no big deal, we headed to the other range to hit a few tomatoes before heading out. The range and putting green are top notch and the balls are included in the rate.
The starter eventually grabbed us and escorted us to the first tee. While I always play the back tees, my three buddies weren't so excited about it. After some convincing, they decided to play it back, much to the starter's chagrin. Also, during his starter speech, he told us the pin position was "6" when it was really "5" (we hit to 6 the first three holes and on the par-3 third, were very disappointed when we approached the green and realized our "good" shots were 30 feet from the back-left pin position). Also, the beverage cart, while somewhat reliable (we saw her four times over the course of 18 holes) wasn't exactly the happiest lady ever. Her attitude didn't deter our excitement when realizing beers were only $3 each. At a golf course of this caliber, that was like stealing. The service wasn't all bad. The Cholla course has an outside grill at the turn and the lady was very friendly and put up with us. Also, the hot dogs she threw together hit the spot like no other.
It is hard to judge the condition of the golf course because it is a strange time for courses in Arizona. The Cholla course will be over-seeded in early October and you can see the seed is ready to change. Nonetheless, it was still in great shape considering and the greens were flawless like usual. If you can look past a few throwaway holes at the Cholla (like the par-5 2nd and the par-4 15th), nothing is to complain of setup. The first hole can render a birdie or a bogey with just a few yards off your tee shot. The par-5 8th hole, measuring a beastly 605-yards from the tips, makes you needle a drive in between a bunker and some desert just to catch the ridge and maximize your distance. The lay-up might be easy but the third shot takes a very precise short-iron just to find the green. It is a three-shot par-5 that is tough but fair. The back nine throws a solid par-3 (11), a double dogleg par-5 at you (17) and finishes with a risk/reward tee shot on the 432-yard 18th.
After finishing our round one of my head-covers had decided it was sick of me and left unexpectedly. I described the headcover to one of the closers and they found it and put it on my clubs before we left. My pig headcover thanks you.
One of the better things about a round of golf with some of your buddies you don't always get to hang out with is the post-round beer. While the restaurant at We-Ko-Pa is nice, it is far from the "buddies at the bar" feel you'd want. The only television in the entire place is a big screen pointed at the diners, so rolling up to the bar isn't even on option on a football Sunday. The outside patio is nice, but also lacks a television to update yourself on the scores. I guess four 20-somethings can manage to drink even without a TV around. Shocking, I know.
The entire experience was an A. With the group of guys I was with, it would be hard to have a bad time. No matter the few slip-ups by the service (I did it before and I know I slipped up a few times), the course was fabulous and looks to be ready for peak season in the upcoming month.
If you are planning a golf trip to Scottsdale, the Cholla course at We-Ko-Pa better be on your short list. Also, if you'd like to know what a water slap is, email my buddy at email@example.com.
Andrew (14 handicap) -- 95
Joe (14 handicap) -- 93
Darren (20 handicap) -- 100
Me -- 77