FORT McDOWELL, Arizona – If you’re planning the perfect golf getaway and are looking for a one-stop destination where you can stay-and-play and enjoy a full course menu of activities then We-Ko-Pa Casino Resort, located in Fort McDowell, Arizona is your best bet.
Just outside of the Scottsdale area, this new, dynamic, four-diamond desert oasis features the heritage and warm hospitality of the Ft. McDowell Yavapai Nation. An unbeatable array of offerings include onsite award-winning golf, gaming, horseback riding, off-road tours on tribal land, and a taste of the ‘old wild west’ at Yavapai’s Ft. McDowell Adventures dude ranch.
We-Ko-Pa Casino Resort boasts deluxe accommodations, heated outdoor pools, spa, several dining options that surround the casino floor, fine-dining and buffet style restaurants, quick bites at “The Market” and Sports Bar venue. If you desire an outdoor eating venue, then jump on their shuttle and ride up to the We-Ko-Pa Grille, at the Clubhouse, overlooking their two golf courses and the breathtaking views of the Sonoran desert.
The only resort in the area that offers both golf and gaming, We-Ko-Pa’s 24,000 square foot casino provides plenty of entertainment with their state-of-the-art bingo hall, larger than life slots, table games, poker room, WKP sports bar with sports book wagering along with live entertainment.
This new casino resort builds upon the success of their two award-winning public golf courses — The Cholla, completed in 2001, and the Saguaro completed in 2006. Over the last decade their two courses have continued to secure high rankings among the best public courses in Arizona.
Both courses feature multiple tee boxes and a variety of holes creating a pleasurable and memorable experience for both the higher handicapped golfer as well as the championship player. Multi-tiered putting surfaces, elevated tee boxes, split fairways and panoramic views of the surrounding McDowell, Four Peaks and Superstition Mountain ranges create drama within the natural desert environment. Free of houses and roads a feeling of serenity abounds you as you journey through the natural desert habitat.
We-Ko-Pa golf is the resort’s mainstay. The hotel staff caters to golfers, starting with providing shuttle service to their two courses and helping them stay hydrated with complimentary water and snacks. The Saguaro and Cholla courses are uniquely diverse in that they each offer a different test of golf.
Bill Coore and Ben Crenshaw incorporated a minimalistic, links-style design philosophy when creating the Saguaro course. The meandering hole design preserves the natural contours of the ancient land on which it was built. Playing corridors are wide with gentle, rolling fairways with ample opportunity for straightaway, pitch and run shots. Unlike many desert courses, this one is ideal for walking since the greens sit near the next tee. Playing this course gives you this amazing feeling of tranquility and freedom as you take in the unobstructed view of the immense Sonoran desert, dotted by hundreds of large Saguaro cacti, and panoramic vistas of the sweeping mountain ranges.
In contrast, the Cholla course, designed by Scott Miller, offers a more dramatic test of golf, playing through arroyos and over desert ridges. The course is routed within the natural desert washes, flowing up and down creating lots of elevation changes. Target golf at its best, as you navigate the steeply rolling, tight serpentine fairways, sharp doglegs, forced carries and blind shots over ridges and arroyos.
Despite the more challenging layout, it certainly is thrilling to play as it weaves through ancient land with risk/reward shots. The aesthetic charm of Cholla is just as appealing as its strategic challenge, as you journey through some rugged terrain…a much different feeling from playing Saguaro.
There are so many exquisite top-shelf golf courses in Arizona to satisfy your yearning for desert golf. But the We-Ko-Pa courses remain ranked among the best public golf courses in Arizona.
Based on my recent visit to We-Ko-Pa Casino Resort, the service was superb and the amenities second-to-none. It has everything you want from a one-stop destination to provide perfect golf trip!