I’ll be honest, I had heard conflicting reports about Kokopelli Golf Club in Gilbert, and although I always try to remain as objective as possible heading into a course review, I’ll admit that my expectations were a little low. The course plays 6,716 yards from the Championship Tees to a Par of 72, a course rating of 72.1, and a slope of 135. The conditions reminded me a little of Southern Ridge Golf Club in Laveen – it’s tough to play from the rough because it’s more dirt than grass. But if you keep your ball on the fairway, you will be rewarded. It’s not a scenic golf course by any means. The greens are the hardest part of the course. Literally. They are hard and fast, and I would say I only found 2-3 of my ball marks that needed to be repaired all day long. The course was fast, fair, and I would definitely play it again. You have to know where to hit it if you want to score. Here are some of the highlights of the round:
Holes Worth Writing Home About
About six weeks ago, Kokopelli switched its 9’s. When I asked one of the guys working outside services why they did that, he told me it was mostly to make the course play a little easier and because people had complained about starting out on a dogleg right Par 5. I don’t know why! I disagree with the flip-flop, but the new back nine is much prettier than the new front nine. There are some really pretty holes coming home, and at times, you wonder if you’re still playing the same course given the drastic differences in their appearances.
The 183-yard Par 3 5th hole played into the strong wind today. I hit a 6-iron and came up at least a club short. If you can, club up here because the miss long is much better than the miss short. There are deep greenside bunkers short of the green, and you really have to hit the ball high to get it to stop close to the flag.
The best part about the 415-yard Par 4 14th hole is the green complex. You have to hit your tee shot between two fairway bunkers to a landing area of about 20 yards, but if you can manage that, you’ll have little more than a wedge into a green surrounded by mounds and pine trees. It’s a very nice visual. There’s nothing else quite like it on the rest of the course.
Beware of the lake guarding the green on the Par 5 17th hole. There’s no miss long or short right, and if you push your approach shot into the green, you might be fishing.
The course is located right at the intersection of McQueen and Guadalupe. They had us hitting off rock hard mats on the driving range today, but the range balls were great. A lot of them were still brand new. They also have a small practice putting green, a chipping green, and a greenside bunker. It’s a pretty nice little practice area if you want to get some work in.
The best shot I hit came on the short, 365-yard Par 4 4th hole. My tee shot with a 4-iron came to rest in a tire rut just off the left side of the fairway. I could barely address the ball without the toe of my pitching wedge coming in contact with the outside edge of the rut. But I hit a great shot. I caught the ball first, and it hit the middle of the green and got it to spin a little down to the hole on the right. I made the putt for birdie, and exhaled, realizing the outcome from just off the fairway could have been a lot worse.
While We’re Young
We teed off at around 1:10p and walked off the course at 4:10 thanks to a play-through at the turn. That’s the fastest round of golf I’ve played all semester. We never had to wait on the back nine, and the pace of play was excellent – one of the most memorable takeaways of the day. It never hurts to play fast!
Next On the Tee
Ken McDonald Golf Course in Tempe.