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Welcome to our five-part installment of our Golden Tee 2016 course preview. As is tradition, we will be taking a deep dive into all five new courses and what you can expect. Tune into Goldentee.com to read all five.
Here we are, in the middle of nowhere, and I have one question: where is the nearest bathroom? Wait, one more: what about the nearest bar? Wait, sorry, last one: is there a bar nearby with a bathroom?
Where is everybody?
Welcome to Interior, South Dakota. There are a few hundred (dozens?) of people who call this place home, and we’re very happy to be here. “Here,” of course, is a bit difficult to describe, quite simply because you’ve never played Golden Tee on a creation like this. But here we are.
It’s a mix of Dusty Bend. It’s a hint of Grand Canyon. It’s a splash of something different; a location that I can’t quite put my finger on. Regardless of what it is, I do like it. Antelope Pass, our second course to be broken down in-depth on Goldentee.com, is looking and feeling fabulous.
As for what you can expect from the badlands, some thoughts.
About that Terrain…
The fairways, at least some of them, are lined with rock walls. But unlike your classic canyon courses where you’re simply engulfed in hard surface, the rock on Antelope Pass is much more sporadic. On some holes, it’s all around you. On others, it’s nowhere to be found.
These rocks don’t tower over you, either. In many instances, you can hit over or around these obstacles with the appropriate loft or a Golden Tee (cough, cough, Hole 2, cough, cough).
Somehow, the designers have managed to make an open course still loaded with fascinating obstacles. And when you aren’t dealing with rocks all around, you’re dealing with barbwire fences, sunflowers, broken down cars, well-placed streams and dusty dirt. There's a nice little edge to this course.
Beware the Dusty Dirt
It is the most unassuming surface in Golden Tee. When you fly over it, you barely even notice that it’s there. It doesn’t look like much—just a patch of land that was deprived water for far too long.
But when your tee shot or approach just so happens to settle in that patch of distinguished brown, you’ll know it. You’ll know it because you aren’t going to move. Air, ground, stuck. This stuff is like ground glue.
Hit it here, and you will proceed no further. Looking for that extra bounce on the drivable par-4? Not if this is surrounding green, which is does in many cases. Then you’ll have to hit out of it, which is not exactly a walk in the park, either.
It won’t result in stroke penalties or do drastic damage to your scorecard all at once, but this is a subtle element is one to look out for. You’ll know it when you find it, too.
It’s hard to miss.
The Drivable Par-5 Has Returned
Ladies and gentlemen, allow me to present to you Hole 14: a par-5 that can be reached on one shot. Heck, you might even ace this by the time 2017 comes out, which would give you that elusive super albatross you’ve always wanted. (For those of you who already have one, sit down and play it cool with the rest of us.)
You’ll have to it over or through some rocks to get there, and some tee boxes will be easier than others. However, it can be done. It will be done. The shot is absolutely there, although things could turn ugly if you can rock early on in the shot.
Once you clear the main obstacles, you’ll have to hit a green that is relatively small. The rock surrounding the green will both help and hurt you in this regard—sending good shots the wrong way and not-so-good shots closer to the pin. Hitting the green on the fly—as you might imagine—is the best option.
The hole is both fun and fair. It will reward spectacular efforts and risks taken. And with the possibility of leaving a single hole -3 or -4, well, you’re going to love getting after it.