Behind The Design: Turtle Island
The Water is Blue, the Lava is Back and The Course is Downright Gorgeous

Welcome to Golden Tee paradise… ah jeez, you’re already sunburn. Get inside, grab the aloe and take some aspirin. I warned you about the sun here on the Galapagos Islands.

Yes, the game you know and love is going to a place where the animals are unique, the water is blue (really, really blue) and the surfaces aren’t what you’ll see back home. We’ll get to that momentarily.

Turtle Island is the latest Golden Tee 2014 to receive a more substantial breakdown, and here’s what you can expect—other than sunburn—on a course where “burn” feels like the appropriate term.

The Water


First, let’s pause for a moment. Look at that screenshot. In fact, click on that image to enlarge and make it your desktop background or something.

Man, that is Golden Tee utopia.

What’s that? Oh, yes, I have to explain things. Sorry, I was distracted by that screenshot.

With that out of the way, you’ll notice plenty of beautiful water situated around the course. Some of it will be in play—see above—while some will serve as a wonderful backdrop and pure eye candy. We’ll get to a specific hole below where the baby blue water can really pack a punch if you’re not careful below.

There are also other bodies of water to look out for; small ponds that can serve as a small (but potent) obstacle if your tee shot happens to go astray. Water on a golf course isn't new, but goodness this kind of water feels newsworthy.

This is the best looking aqua we have ever made, and it’s not even close. And as magnificent as it looks, this isn’t even the most notable surface on this course.


Lava is Back!


I get asked this all the time: Can you skip your ball off lava?

No, bro. It’s lava. You’re welcome, and I do accept tips.

It’s important you know this heading into Turtle Island, because the possibility of skipping off lava—if such things were possible—will come up. Instead of skipping, however, you’ll get a lovely sizzle sound effect and your ball will vanish into the orange abyss.

The lava on this particular course can be found… everywhere. On the drivable par-5s (as seen above), this hazard will separate fairways, and you’ll have to decide if you can clear it or not. There is also plenty of greenside lava, so make sure your approaches are spot on. As if you’re trying to miss even with lava not in the equation.

Like the baby blue water, however, it’s fun to look at, but you really want to keep your distance when possible. And it won’t always be possible.


Hole 17, Which I’ll Just Name “Shipwreck” Because It Feels Appropriate

This is not your typical Hole 17.

It’s not a par-3 with a green set on a massive tilt—this one is actually featured the hole prior—but rather a good ol’ fashion two-shot par-4. OK fine, it’s far from "ol' fashion."

But the hole itself has a simple blueprint: Hit your ball in the fairway, hit it on the green (hopefully somewhere near or in the pin), make your birdie and move on.

It’s not that easy, though, as you can probably tell from the magnificent screen shot above.

Go ahead, pause another second and enlarge it. We'll be right here, waiting.

The green is sloped down-eight, which means spin management will be crucial. Bigger yet, however, is the long drop to the lovely water below and the massive amount of wind you’ll have to deal with at this point in the round.

Also, club selection will be vital, and putting yourself in the proper position off the tee will be crucial for your approach.

There have been much more challenging 17th holes before, but this one is intriguing (and also a lot of fun to look at).

Note: Don’t end up like that ship. 

Golden Tee PGA TOUR 2023
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