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January 05, 2013

Beautiful and blissful, We-Ko-Pa has matured into a modern classic

Posted at 9:04 PM by Joe Passov | Categories: Arizona, Phoenix

Choosing one course above the rest in the winter desert haven of Phoenix/Scottsdale is harder than a flop shot off hardpan, but We-Ko-Pa's Saguaro course fits the bill.

Bill Coore and Ben Crenshaw's effort debuted in December 2006 to instant acclaim. As with its 11-year-old sibling, the Scott Miller–designed Cholla course, Saguaro's sloping fairways feature blissful isolation, framed by stubby desert trees, namesake cacti and thorny underbrush. It's the rare modern desert course that's designed to be walked, and one where "run-up" approaches succeed, which makes for a splendid day for fans of traditional golf.

It's also a strategic treat that demands superior course management, even as it delivers some of the widest fairways in the desert. Wallet watchers, take note: In February and March, if you book eight to 90 days out, it's $195, compared with up to $100 more for other trophy tracks in the area. Playing 36 will run you $300. That's not cheap, but for a dazzling course with an inspiring Coore/Crenshaw design, it's the hottest deal under the sun.

(Photo: Lonna Tucker)

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