Behind the Design: Volcano Palms
Exploring Golden Tee 2016's Paradise Voyage and Celebrating Lava's Grand Return

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 to read all five.


This is a place you want to go and stay a while. Buy a one-way ticket.

The weather is lovely; the water is see-through blue; the backdrop is a perfect frame for an absolutely spectacular photo. Take one. We will wait for you to finish up before moving forward.

Welcome to Volcano Palms, Golden Tee 2016’s trip to Hawaiian paradise. You have certainly played in beach settings before, although I am quite certain you’ve never played in one quite like this. (This is a roundabout way of saying you’ll hit your golf ball over and into a volcano.)

As for what else you can expect on Volcano Palms—beyond pretty horrible sunburn and delicious $17 drinks served in coconuts, let’s explore 2016’s gorgeous creation.


The Rugged, Beautiful, Mean, Magnificent Sides of Paradise

Did I mention how beautiful this whole thing was? Allow me to do so again.

Yes, this place is awesome. But with this beauty comes some challenging elements—things that are lovely to look at but less lovely to hit into. The water is everywhere, and it’s not just the ocean. There are small bodies of water inland that you’ll happen to find if you aren’t careful. And yes, that lovely blue water will gobble up your golf balls also.

But there are other elements worth noting. The rugged nature of this particular paradise gives the bunkers a less forgiving feel in a lot of places. While they may not cost you an immediate stroke, the unique construction of these traps makes them slightly harder to pop out of.

There is also fescue scattered throughout the course that you’ll find on occasion. Oh, and there is no shortage of trees.

Perhaps the most notable element of all gets its own section. Behold the return of an ol’ friend…


Welcome Back, Lava!


The game’s most diabolical hazard is back and looks mighty different this time around.

Lava makes its triumphant return to Golden Tee and looks more, well, like lava. It looks a little meaner, to be honest, although it hasn’t changed how it will impact the way you operate. Hit your ball here, and you will hear that familiar burning sound as it is lost forever. There is no escaping this hazard if you find it (so you should probably stay away).

Here’s the thing, though. Lava isn’t everywhere. It’s not on every hole. It doesn’t line every fairway, anxiously waiting your next misstep. That would be overkill. Instead, lava is scattered strategically in places you might just so happen need to hit toward every now and then: beyond greens on par-3s, near “shortcuts” on par-5s, etc.

You’ll go round after round without watching a ball obliterated by fire, and then, without even thinking about it, you’ll magically find it again. Oh, and you’ll hit into a volcano, too, which is pretty neat.

Seriously, it’s as awesome and spectacular as it sounds.


Hole 18

With an active volcano sending lava toward the clouds behind the green Volcano Palms closes in truly fitting fashion. It is truly one of the best looking holes the game has ever seen—a rugged postcard of a hole that will want you to pause to take in the scene.

Oh and there’s some golf to be played, too. A drivable par-4, Hole 18 is both straightforward and challenging. It isn’t long, which actually adds to the difficulty some. You’ll be in between clubs, be dealt various degrees of loft and have to adjust round-to-round.

With water everywhere, you’ll have to navigate a gathering of trees standing between the tee box and the hole. Getting beyond them safely really isn’t all that challenging with most setups; it’s getting beyond them and sticking a very crafty shaped green that will really test you.

You have to earn it here, which is how it should be. Hole 18 doesn’t just put the beauty of the course smack dab in front of your eyes. It uses that beauty in a way that will push you to the very end. Great, great design to cap off a lovely 18-hole experience.


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