The game is a typical pseudo-3D golf game from the era. Use the D-pad to first select your club, then to aim your shot using the map on the left side of the screen. Hit to initiate the swing. A meter with a blue bar and a green bar will appear on the top right corner of the screen. Hit when the meter hits the desired point on the blue bar to determine the strength of the shot, then hit again when the meter hits the desired point on the green bar to determine the height of the shot.
Should you go too high over par on any hole, the entire game ends and you must start again at the beginning.
Despite its Western name, the late Arnold Palmer does not appear in the game, save for a cameo on the title screen. While Western box art suggests the player is competing in the "Arnold Palmer Tournament" there is no reference to this in-game nor in the manual. The Japanese version devotes a section of its manual to Ozaki Naomichi but likewise, the golfer is largely absent from the game.
Arnold Palmer Tournament Golf contains a number of references to Fantasy Zone (namely the "sound select" screen, which has an Opa-Opa cameo), however it also contains an obscure Fantasy Zone minigame.
To access it, the player needs to hit the ball 100 times on the first stage without getting to the green. Doing so will trigger a game over screen. On that screen, the player needs to input and they will be taken to a watered down version of the first Fantasy Zone stage, Plaleaf.
The aim is not to destroy bases (it's an option, though destroying both bases will end the game), but instead simply stay alive. There is no scrolling, though if Opa-Opa travels to the edge of the screen, he will appear at the other edge. Getting killed will end the game. shoots forward, drops bombs, and the score increases as time goes on. Opa-Opa's shots can counter enemy projectiles in this minigame, and every enemy requires several shots to be destroyed.
Ozaki Naomichi no Super Masters does not have this minigame; instead, the Game Over screen shows a still image drawn by Toyo Ozaki and hangs.
(Note: The credits are taken from the Japanese version, as it's the only version to contain staff credits.)
One of eight preset names will briefly appear in the "player name" field during the attract mode demo. These names are actually references to the developers. The names are largely different between the Japanese and international versions of the game. Presented in order of appearance: