SOAP LAKE, Wash. — Smack dab in the middle of the state of Washington, you will find the city of Soap Lake, a slice of heaven for the thousands of people who visit and live there. But the lakeside retreat is also home to what just might be the golf course from hell.
"You're at Lava Links golf course," said town historian Burr Beckwith. "It's a nine-hole golf course, kind of a pitch and putt. You only need two clubs, a putter and a nine iron."
We looked over the course and counted nine red flags standing in various parts of a lot filled with sagebrush, sand and basalt rocks.
"It's kind of like playing golf on the moon, if you can imagine that," Beckwith said.
The folks in Soap Lake said this lot was once an eyesore until about 20 years ago when then-Mayor DeVaun Black started up his tractor and drove around pulling a railroad tie behind him.
"It was not a pleasant place and so this has been a huge upgrade," Beckwith said.
The locals say Lava Links is fun, free and not to be taken seriously. Nels Borg once got a hole-in-one when his ball hit some rocks, bounced up high in the air and trickled through some sagebrush onto the sand that serves as a green.
"Talent," is Borg's explanation. He's now the honorary golf pro there.
The golfers do have one big word of advice about playing Lava Links. Play in the early morning or at twilight.
"Because it gets pukin' hot here," Beckwith explained.
Evening hosts Jim Dever and Saint Bryan began playing at high noon on a windless August day when it hit 94 degrees.
Click on the video to watch those two bad sports trying to play Lava Links for the first time.
"You have to go and experience it for yourself," Beckwith said. "Make up your own mind and like I said you're not paying for it either."
There's one more point to be made about Lava Links. It may not look like much but it just might be the most environmentally friendly golf course in the world. Not one square inch of the course ever gets watered.
"And we are, of course, in an extreme drought here," Beckwith said. "Any water you save is a good thing."