Verrado Golf Club - The Founders Course Review

Texas Outside Rating: 9.3

Golf - Public Course · 18 Holes · Par 72
Buckeye, AZ

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Verrado Golf Club - The Founders Course Review

Review & Rating of Verrado Golf Club's Founders Course in Buckeye, Arizona

The Verrado Golf Club in Buckeye is home to 36 holes (The Founders Course and the newer Victory Course) of spectacular golf designed by PGA Tour star and Ryder Cup Captain, Tom Lehman, and architect John Fought.  Both courses have been carved out of the foothills of the White Tank Mountains and as such they offer massive rock outcroppings, elevation changes, scenic vistas for miles, and desert washes as the course meanders up and down the foothills and through the desert filled with ancient saguaro cacti, old-growth ironwoods, colorful native fauna, and plenty of wildlife.

Each of the championship courses at Verrado Golf Club has it's own unique personality and characteristics:

  • The Founders Course is a traditional desert course playing through the foothills with elevation changes, beautiful views of the White Tank Mountains and the Phoenix skyline, large desert washes, picturesque box canyons, huge beautiful homes dotting the hillsides, and generous landing areas
  • The Victory Course is the easier of the two courses and it was carved out of the mountains with undulating fairways, massive rock outcroppings, and views of the entire western Phoenix valley.  Read Texas Outside's review of the Victory Course to learn more.

Common to both courses is a spectacular clubhouse with a well-stocked pro shop and grill serving breakfast, lunch and dinner;  outstanding friendly service;  good practice facilities, and rates that are reasonable for such a quality course.  It's not surprising that Verrado Golf Club was named in the "Top 50 US Courses" by Golf Advisor and the "Best Courses You Can Play" by Golf Week.

The Founders Course has five sets of tee boxes plus three combo tee boxes with yardages ranging from 5142 to 7258 yards and a slope ranging from 114 to 139, which means the course is suitable for all levels of play and can be very challenging from the tips - don't bite off more than you can chew and you'll have an enjoyable and relaxing round.  Some of what makes a round on the Founders Course challenging includes: some false fronts on the greens; water on 4 holes; a long carry with a blind shot; 62 treacherous bunkers; and the desert with lots of cactus if you  spray the ball. 

The layout of The Founders Course is spectacular as it winds through the desert and up and down the foothills!  Some of the holes that we really liked included:

  • #2 is a fun 397-yard par 4 that requires some shot-making to avoid the deep ravine that cuts into the fairway on the left at 100 yards before the green and a bunker on the right where the fairway turns right then back left to the green - if your drive stays left and avoids the ravine, you'll have a challenging approach over the ravine to a green with a bunker in front
  • #7 is a 540-yard par 5 with a minefield of 10 bunkers you need to avoid
  • #9 is a beautiful 382-yard par 4 dogleg right with 3 bunkers and a green with a backdrop of a pond, waterfall, and the clubhouse
  • #10 is a fun 515-yard par 5 with a fairway that heads uphill and right past 3 big bunkers and then turns left toward a hidden green guarded by 3 bunkers
  • #18 is the #2 handicap hole and it's fantastic with a downhill shot to a wide landing zone and then continues downhill to a well guarded green with 3 bunkers and a pond off the right side

When we played The Founders Course in early January the bent grass greens were overseeded with rye and in near perfect condition.  They ran true and fast (around 10 to 11) and held the ball well.  All of the greens are guarded by one to four bunkers and if you miss the green you're going to be in the desert brush.  The greens are huge -ranging from 29 to 46 deep! They all have some minor slope and undulation (nothing significant) and a couple of greens have some steep false fronts.

The fairways at The Founders Course were also in near perfect condition as was the rough and they were overseeded with rye.  Off the tee box, the landing zones are huge and forgiving with a wide rough that is very playable - miss both and you're most likely lost in the desert and natural area.  The fairways are relatively flat and firm meaning lots of extra roll.  Wind can be a factor.  Some beautiful big homes dot the hillside and the views of the mountains and the Phoenix valley are stunning.

The 62 bunkers range in size and shape and depth and most are big and treacherous.  Some of the lips are small and you might roll out but others are steep and deep.  The sand was light but thin.

Bottom line - a spectacular course and well worth a trip to Buckeye to play!  We can't wait to play the Victory Course.

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Course Slope & Ratings

Tee Box Yardage Rating Slope
Black 7,258 73.9 139
Blue 6,228 69.3 123
White 5,403 65.7 114
Gold 6,833 71.9 130
Red 5,142 68.6 114

Course Information

Course Architect:
Tom Lehman & John Fought
Greens Type:
Tifdwarf Bermuda
Greens Condition
Greens Difficulty
Fairway Condition
Bunker Condition
Course Map
Beware of water on 4 holes and the 62 sand traps.

Texas Outside Rating

Overall Rating:
9.3 out of 10
Fun to Play:
Front Nine Rating:
Back Nine Rating:


Approximate Weekend
$39.00 to $109.00

Service is excellent, the pro shop is well stocked, the practice facilities are good, and the clubhouse is impressive with a grill that serves breakfast, lunch, and dinner



Here's How Texas Outside Determines the Scorecard Rating

The Texas Outside rating scale ranges from 1 to 10 – a perfect 10 course would be something like this:  links along a cliff overlooking the Pacific ocean and bordered by tall trees; lush fairways on rolling hills with lots of natural hazards; water (which is crystal clear) on most of the holes; immaculate greens (but they are undulating and tough); lots of variety and character (each hole is completely different and includes blind shots, elevation changes, doglegs, and significant challenges); perfectly manicured traps with the whitest and prettiest sand you’ve ever seen; a nice club house with great food and a 19th hole; a GPS; plenty of beverage carts or your own cooler and ice; and it only costs $40 bucks! What this means is that you probably won’t find any 10s in Texas – try Cabo San Lucas, Pebble Beach, or some of the Hawaii courses! 
Texas Outside rates courses on the following:

  • Beauty – tall trees, rolling hills, beautiful houses, waterfalls, and similar stuff would score high; a 1 would be flat, bushes or cactus instead of trees, and some grass but mostly weeds
  • Difficulty – a straight, 300 yard par 4 with no traps or hazards, no out of bounds or water would probably get a 1; if it is a 460 yard par 4 over two ravines, with water along one side, natural hazards on the other, strategically placed traps or that dreaded tree right in the middle of the fairway, we are talking a 10. 
  • Variety – what would you give a course where all the holes looked and played exactly the same (“I thought we just played that hole!”); were side-by-side, which is good for finding or dodging other people’s balls, but not much fun; and you can see the flag from every tee box?  That’s right, it gets a 1.
  • Fun Scale – a 10 is where you walk off the course and say “now that was fun” and you can’t wait to get back, or you immediately turn around and play another 18 holes
  • Value – a 5 is $50 to $60, a 10 is $20 to $30, and 1 is $200 or so – of course all of this is dependent upon how you liked the course.  For example, if a run down, boring municipal course, with six players on each hole was only $10; it would still get a value rating of 1.
  • Condition – this one’s pretty easy – what condition are the fairways. A 10 commands very lush perfectly manicured fairways, compared to a 1, which has fire ants, weeds, and more dirt than grass!
  • Condition of Greens and Difficulty – very hard to read greens with lots of undulation and tough pin placement, rate very high on the difficulty scale.  Condition is self-explanatory.  

All of the above determines the overall score for the golf course.  In other words, we like courses that are pretty, fun, very challenging with a lot of variety, and fairways and greens in excellent condition – all for $40.  We also tend to play the courses that are affordable for the masses, which means in the $30 to $80 range. We rate hard and we haven’t found a 10 in Texas yet – don’t worry we haven’t given up and we’re still looking.