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Turtle Island — Golden Tee 2014

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Here is the official preview of the new 2014 Galapagos Islands course, and this article breaks down the course even further.

This post contains tips, tricks, and information related to the 2014 Golden Tee course Turtle Island! Check out the hole-by-hole breakdowns and example hole-outs as I partner up with the Golden Tee community to give you the edge you need to beat your friends!

This is perhaps the most visually stimulating course of the year, also making it one of the funnest to play.  It also sets up to score pretty low most of the time.

Most pros use the Hawks on this course to allow control with the lower-lofted hybrids on longer approach shots.  There are one or two spots where it’d be nice to have a 7-wood, so some players choose Flares here, but I’d still recommend the Hawks overall.  Many pros like the Streak balls for their distance, but I like the Razors this year to give you backspin and roll as well as distance and a soft landing on the green.



Turtle Island — Hole #1: Par 4

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VIDEO DEMO



Turtle Island — Hole #2: Par 4

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There are a couple ways to get close to this green sometimes.  The natural instinct is to high tee a driver and blast away, but there’s also a ramp that you can catch to propel a straight low-teed driver 400+ yards towards the green.  Give it a try sometime!

Otherwise, lay up short of the sand with your drive — use backspin to be sure to stop at the top of the hill.  Here’s an example hole-out.

VIDEO DEMO



Turtle Island — Hole #3: Par 3

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Here’s an example ace to a back-right pin and here’s one sucked back to a front pin.

VIDEO DEMO



Turtle Island — Hole #4: Par 4

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Here is a 3-wood floated over the top into a back pin.

With a tough left-pin placement, here’s a great 3-wood curved into the hole.

A driver still gets over the top too — this one backspun into the hole.

VIDEO DEMO



Turtle Island — Hole #5: Par 4

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Just punch a drive straight ahead — here’s an example hole-out.

VIDEO DEMO



Turtle Island — Hole #6: Par 5

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No reason not to just lay up at the end of the first fairway and bring it in from there — here’s an example driver hole-out.

However, here’s a 9-wood hole-out from the second fairway.  If you lose one off the left edge, though, you may get to check out a sweet sand castle!
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VIDEO DEMO



Turtle Island — Hole #7: Par 3

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From the back box, here’s an ace to a right pin.

VIDEO DEMO



Turtle Island — Hole #8: Par 4

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Here’s a 3-wood over the top, spun back to a front pin.

This 5-wood caught a soft hop off the rocky ground in front to the hole.

VIDEO DEMO



Turtle Island — Hole #9: Par 5

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Put your drive down in the fairway close to the lava to give yourself a driver straight in over the trees on your approach — here’s an example hole-out.

If your drive comes up short and/or you need more distance because you’re around 350 out, then play a big C3 driver shot as your approach into this green.  A full cut wasn’t needed here for this one to find the cup.

You may also be able to lay up out to the left in the rough to avoid the issue with the fairway neck, as seen in this example hole-out.

Even if you go long here, the rough in the back of the green is quite friendly and accommodates putts in many instances, as seen here.

VIDEO DEMO



Turtle Island — Hole #10: Par 4

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Many times you can just lay back in the first fairway and loft your approach over the tree to the green.  Consider laying back to the left for a 5-wood approach if you don’t have a 7-wood or higher in the bag.  Or, you can carry towards the end of the first fairway and curve an iron around to the green.  This shot was way too far left, but it just kept bouncing back down and into the hole!

Or, you can drive out to the second fairway to get past the blocking trees and have a shorter approach shot instead — here’s an example hole-out from there.

And there’s an alien if you miss the green pretty badly — check out what he says if you hit him with a golf ball!

VIDEO DEMO



Turtle Island — Hole #11: Par 5

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Unless the wind will be strong in your face on the approach (and maybe even then), you can lay up straight ahead in the fairway in line with the lava pit on the left.  This should leave an open driver approach into the green — here’s an example hole-out.

Or, you can take the traditional approach if you are able to put a huge drive out past the lava guarding the fairway.  Here’s a 3-wood hole-out from the rough in front of there.  And here’s a 5-wood from the fairway.

I still don’t know where the gap was here, but check out this insane hole-out.

This drive found the sand by the water, but plenty of distance was had to hole-out from there!

Finally, you can curve anywhere from a 5-wood or a high-teed 3-wood around the trees and to the landing area straight ahead.  In front of the lave lakes, there’s a ditch where the ball can settle, giving you an open approach shot to the green most times.  There are a couple trees down there, and if you end up too far left in that ditch, your approach could be impeded.

 

VIDEO DEMO



Turtle Island — Hole #12: Par 3

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Here’s an example ace to a front pin followed by another one to a back pin.

VIDEO DEMO



Turtle Island — Hole #13: Par 4

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This green can rarely be drivable given a great setup — this big A1 shot would have gotten there if not for a bush at the end!  This A1 did graze by the hole, leaving a short chip.  This A1 settled nicely on the green.

And this big C3 drive did carry to the green!  Here’s another C3 that got there.

Here you can just carry down to the bottom of the last fairway, obviously being careful not to flirt too much with the water since the fairway slopes down.  Here’s a hole-out from there.

VIDEO DEMO



Turtle Island — Hole #14: Par 4

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The shot here depends on the wind.  With a head-wind, you’ll often high-tee a 3-wood over the top of the trees.

This high-teed 5-wood carried into the back rock but caught a great deflection into the cup!

With a right-blowing wind, you can aim left and pretty much take the trees out of the picture completely — here’s a nice 4-wood ace.  And check out this smoothly-hit 3-wood carrying left of the trees to a left pin.

VIDEO DEMO



Turtle Island — Hole #15: Par 5

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Most of the time you can high tee a driver straight ahead to the far-left fairway.  Another option is to rotate right and play a C3 shot with roll out there instead.  Check out this nice hole-out to a front pin.  And here’s a 4-wood hole-out using the back-right of the hill as a backstop.

If the wind favors playing out to the right fairway instead, that’s certainly an option too.  You may or may not have to work the approach around some guarding trees.  Here’s a driver hole-out from that side.  This one carried into the rough but still had an opening to the green for a hole-out.

VIDEO DEMO



Turtle Island — Hole #16: Par 3

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From the front box, this one hopped off the rock and into a back pin.

From the back box, check out the bounces this 5-wood gets off the rock before it finds the cup.  Here’s another terrible shot that kicks all the way over and somehow into the hole!  And this 9-wood rattled around off the rock too and settled back in the cup!  There can be quite a bit of wind in play with lofted clubs, but this one floated in nicely!

This shot was way long, but after spending time bouncing along the rock, it made its way back in!

VIDEO DEMO



Turtle Island — Hole #17: Par 4

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Clearing the hill is not that difficult from anywhere in this fairway, but if you can get closer by aiming for the back left fairway, go for it.  This approach shot caught a nice hop off the front rock and settled into a back pin.

This shot was way too far left, but the rock shot it all the way across the green to the cup!  Here’s another one that missed left but hopped and spun back in the hole.

VIDEO DEMO



Turtle Island — Hole #18: Par 4

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This 3-wood caught tree and hill but still settled down and backspun into a left pin!  This 5-wood also used a nice bounce off the hill to find a front-left pin.  This 5-wood with no roll settled nicely into a back pin.

And this driver curved around quite accurately, catching a back pin before tumbling over.  Here’s another driver with just a small cut, using bite to settle into the cup.

VIDEO DEMO