Desert Golfing is a minimalist golf game for Android and iOS. The game is void of any menus or tutorials. Players are simply presented with a golf ball on a side-scrolling desert landscape, and a hole to aim for. Straight lines make up the slopes of the desert surface, with occasional bottomless pits. The developer has said that Journey and Desert Bus were inspirations for the development of game.
To prepare a stroke, the player can touch anywhere on the screen and "pull" towards a direction as if pulling an elastic rubber band. An arrow will be drawn from the origin pointing to the opposite to visualize the power and direction. There is a maximum amount of power the player is allowed to put into their stroke, which is usually enough to get the ball off-screen. When the ball goes off-screen, it respawns in its first position. There is no penalty for losing the ball, other than having the stroke counted into the score. Completing the game requires understanding of how the sandy surface absorbs momentum and affects frictional force, or simply perseverance and luck.
When the ball reaches the hole, the hole rises and becomes the first ball position for the next hole. The screen then scrolls towards the right, revealing the next hole. Unlike a typical golf game, there is no par to achieve per hole. The thousands of holes in the game are procedurally generated from a single seed, so every hole is always consistent with its number. According to the developer, there is nothing in the game that prevents an unsolvable hole. The score (total number of strokes) is kept permanently; there is no way to restart the hole nor the game. The game is automatically saved at all times.
The visuals of the game is reminiscent of retro computer games (e.g. Atari 2600) with its straight lines at a limited number of angles and a simple two-color scheme. The colors slowly changes over thousands of holes from shades of the usual desert brown to sunset orange and violet to midnight blue and so on, most likely signifying the passage of time. The golf ball is visible as a plain white circle. The hole is marked with a numbered flag. Two scores are visible at the top of the screen, one of the whole game and one for the current hole. Sand particles get kicked out of the surface as the golf ball bounces and rolls on the sand.
The game has no music. There are six moments when sound effects play: strokes, respawns, hole completion, hole filling, when the ball hits the water, and when the ball hits the surface.