Home to the Principal Charity Classic the Wakonda Club provides the right mix of Country Club experience with old Des Moines golf experience. Wakonda is about 70 years older than Glen Oaks, and almost 50 years older than the current Des Moines Country Club courses.
Wakonda has big hills, big trees and big fairways. While there is little danger of water or OB, the elevation changes and uneven lies you come across are enough to deal with.
Wakonda was #5 on a recent Golf Digest list of best courses in Iowa.
Some of the early holes are a little forgetful, and is part of the reason not many people venture to them during the PCC. The first hole that sticks out for me is #5, which is also the first Par 5. While not overly long, the tee shot landing area is pretty elevated from the tee box. For the longest hitters if you can get over that hill and catch the down slope you with have a mid-iron into the green for your second shot. The green has two tiers and is deep, finding yourself on the wrong tier will make for a difficult two putt.
My favorite hole is #17, a downhill Par 3 that is only 188 yards from the back. Water and sand guard the front of the green, and if you play close to the PCC the back of the green is a large grandstand. Makes for a fun shot from the tee box, though a little more challenging mentally. Side story, Jay Don Blake carries a fishing pole with him during the Pro-Am rounds and stopped and fished on this hole. He didn't catch anything that day but said he had in prior years.
The greens can be tricky and are the teeth of the course. If you can navigate them and don't find yourself on too many crazy side lies you have a good chance to score well.
Another great thing about Wakonda is that with their partnership with the PCC you can play the course without trying to befriend a member. Each year the Wakonda Golf Experience is offered through PCC (found on the ticket page) and includes a round of golf and ticket to the PCC.