A $1.8 million renovation project on We-Ko-Pa Golf Club’s Cholla course in Fort McDowell, Ariz., outside of Phoenix, is currently underway to refresh vital elements of the golf experience. Cholla will re-open on September 16 (www.wekopa.com).
“After 15 years, it’s time to reinvigorate Cholla to maintain the type of conditions consistent with the high level of playability our customers have come to expect,” said Matt Barr, general manager of We-Ko-Pa Golf Club. “We are also taking this opportunity to make a few changes to the 8th hole.”
The fairway on the 605-yard, par-5, 8th hole narrows as it plunges toward a deep, dry desert arroyo that runs across the front of the green leaving limited space to place a second-shot layup. The landing area will be widened and part of the arroyo will be grassed to create a more realistic risk/reward scenario for golfers.
Other enhancements include the replacement of existing Tifdwarf Bermudagrass on all 18 greens with a faster-rolling MiniVerde variety of Ultra dwarf. New sand and drainage in the bunkers will improve playability and prevent pooling. New sprinkler heads, valves and field controllers will allow for a more accurate and efficient watering of the golf course. Approximately eight percent, or six acres, of existing turf will also be removed, Barr said, without impacting playability and aesthetics. Native plants consistent with the surrounding Sonoran Desert will replace the turf.
“The irrigation and turf removal investment 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 a great example of our commitment to reinvest 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, and we put in new concrete cart paths on Saguaro. This year it’s Cholla’s turn. Projects like this keep us ahead of the curve; they challenge us to keep moving forward and improving 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.