4 Reasons Why Owning A Mini-Golf Will Make You & Your Family Happier

Jordan Fuller golf blogger
Jordan Fuller
This post is by guest blogger Jordan Fuller, a passionate golf enthusiast and coach from Omaha, Nebraska and owner of golfinfluence.com. Here, Jordan leaves no doubt as to why every family should own a minigolf course!

For a parent who is considering doing something significant to bring together their family, owning a mini-golf course offers a wide array of terrific and exciting benefits to every family member.

 

Being the owner of a mini-golf can create situations for parents to teach their children about work ethic while having fun. Children can also take advantage of the facility by using their creativity to put their own flair on the design of the layout.

 

With an assortment of positive reasons to choose from, I’ve decided to highlight four of our favorite ideas below as to why we think owning a mini-golf will make you and your entire family happier.

 

A Sport Built on Creativity

mini-golf and creativity

 

Whether you decide to build your own mini-golf or redesign an existing layout, making the place your own can give the entire family a tremendous sense of pride. Taking this step is vitally important for all involved, because without each member “buying-in” to the overall idea of the mini-golf, then you’ll never have full engagement.

 

So how do you get everyone there? By creating an environment where all ideas are welcome, and each member gets the opportunity to put their personality into the creation of the course. This opportunity begins with the look and feel of the mini-golf.

 

Not only can creating a new look (ie for example in a separate room) for the establishment bring a family together with one common goal in mind, but it can also be used to engage the imagination of each parent and child. From adding unique flourishes to allowing the children to create their own obstacles for a hole, allowing creativity to carry the construction of the mini-golf course is the only sure-fire way to receive total acceptance of the family.

 

And once everyone’s ideas are put in place, the look on each family member’s face when their vision comes to life is something that can’t be replicated any other way. Once you see your child’s excitement because they created something that the entire family will grow to enjoy, you’ll know all the struggles are worth it in the end.

 

Happiness to Others

Mini-golf brings happiness to others

The incredible attraction of mini-golf is that you don’t need to have years of golfing experience to enjoy the sport. At any time, golfers of any skill level (including women who may disregard regular golf) can make a hole-in-one or create a memory with friends and family that lasts throughout a lifetime. Perfect for dates or a birthday party, mini-golf allows players to enjoy their day in a relaxing and non-stressful environment.

 

A huge reason why owning a mini-golf center is excellent for a family is because of the lesson it teaches each member about the importance of giving to others. By providing a comfortable haven, a family can create a place for individuals seeking to forget their busy lives and just spend quality time with the people that are most important to them (ie. their loved ones).

 

By creating an establishment that captivates people of all ages through a fun and exciting activity, you are providing joy into countless lives. Imagine waking up in a house where people are always smiling, and happy will have a residual effect on the entire family. This creation of joy for others is a huge reason why owning a mini-golf can be so enriching to parents and their children alike.

Raising Your Family in a Safe Environment

Mini-golf can bring families closer together

 

Every parent wants their child to be safe throughout their school years.  Having a mini-golf directly in the house will assure that they’ll have a secure after-school location to learn & work while having fun.

 

Mini-golf courses don’t need a considerable amount of maintenance. Sure, it is essential to keep it clean and make sure that everybody are having a great time, but the calm atmosphere allows parents to interact with their children while working full time jobs.

 

By owning a mini-golf, parents don’t have to send their children to after-school care or worry that they are causing mischief. Instead, they’ll have the peace of mind that their children are nearby.

 

As you can see, by creating a healthy environment where the child feels responsibility without feeling smothered, you will add tremendous amounts of enjoyment to your collective lives.

 

Lessons Learned By Your Children

Mini-golf and family children

Finally, it is easy to argue that children benefit the most from their parents buying them a mini-golf course. As they grow up under the umbrella of their family, there are a host of lessons that children can learn from.

 

Self-reliance is a terrific skill that parents can pass down to their children. Whether it be during a break from classes in the summer or after school, by creating a routine of chores for your children, you’ll discover them rising to the challenge if the tasks engage them creatively. Having them understand the value of money and the use of efficient resources will make a huge difference in their upbringing. By creating this work ethic standard for them, you’ll soon see that your children will adopt this lifestyle as the way they should hold themselves when playing the mini-golf.

 

Perhaps most important of all, by showing them the values mini-golf players care about, your children will pursue careers of their own that give back to society and create overwhelming joy. A childhood built around happiness allows children to blossom into an adult that spreads love to the world.

 

Conclusion

 

As your family matures and grows over the years, having the mini-golf will present each member with memories that will carry them throughout their lives. Whether it be working with you or discovering their own dreams for their future, finding a nurturing and fulfilling location for your children can build a foundation for the skills they’ll need to pursue their own careers.

 

When you dive into these four reasons, I am confident that you’ll discover even more advantages to owning a mini-golf that will benefit your family on a financial, personal, and developmental level.

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Mini golf feud ends in ‘threat’, expulsion

Tantrums and putter threat on pro minigolf course!

This week’s post was to be part 2 of A Putted History of Minigolf – see part 1 here. But we have a story from New Zealand that we think trumps it and might generate some discussion, so we’ll push that post back to next week.

A recent series of events in New Zealand raises questions about minigolf as a professional sport and how seriously or otherwise it should be taken. A feud between two prominent Kiwi minigolfers escalated into one allegedly threatening the other with his putter, saying “I’ll wrap my putter round your head”. This was apparently the final straw for Minigolf Federation of New Zealand secretary Damo Kissick, who said it followed a string of incidents in which Bobby Hart lost his temper, threw putters, swore and generally spat out his dummy. In the light of this behaviour the player has been asked to leave the federation.

mini golf tantrum

Star national and international player Bobby Hart is known for his no-joking approach to the game and for saying things like “I’m here to compete, not make friends”. Which is kind of fair enough – he takes the game seriously and after all it requires great skill and practice. Interviewed after the incident, he said, “I’m not there to have a joke and a laugh, I’m there to take things seriously and grow competitive putting as a sport here in New Zealand. It’s not a joking matter … I think there’s a future for competitive putting and actually doing it as a job.”

The alleged putter threat came following a long-running disagreement with another player, Murray Cramp, whom Hart accuses of not taking the game seriously enough. Cramp said “It’s essentially a sport for children and their parents to have fun that we’ve turned into something that is well beyond [that] … The last thing you want to do is create a level of intensity where it looks like you’re at the Olympics.”

And yet there have been efforts to get minigolf into the Olympics. We blogged about it back in 2014. The World Minigolf Sport Federation regularly lobbies for it to be included.

All this begs the question: how seriously (or otherwise) should we take minigolf? Is professional minigolf a threat to the fun of the game, or should we have more of it? Can you be professional and have fun at the same time?

minigolf for business meetings and recruitment days

If you have any comments on this, please post them to our Twitter page. But try to keep your toys in the pram.

Here’s the report from Stuff.co.nz where we heard about the Hart/Cramp confrontation.

 

Minigolf: A Putted History Part 1

A bit of history about the most fun you can have with a ball and a stick

This is the first in a series of two or maybe three posts about how minigolf got started, why it got so crazily popular, and other historical bits and bobs and trivia about the game. If you’re curious about where minigolf/crazy golf/adventure golf/putt-putt/goofy golf came from and how it got started, read on!

Much as we’d love to say that minigolf started in England, the truth is that it’s a transatlantic affair. There were British precursors – more on them in a  minute – but the idea of a minigolf course as a theme park goes back to the American miniature golf boom of the 1920s. Surely no self-respecting Englishman would charge the public money to enter a kitsch landscape full of objects that made garden gnomes look like Michelangelos, and putt a ball around it in the name of enjoyment? But here’s the kicker: it was an Englishman who opened the first ever minigolf course in America! But first let everything go wavy for a moment as we take you back to the first inklings of minigolf.

Precursors

For all we know, prehistoric folks might have played miniature golf with jawbones and rat skulls. But for this article, we’ll have to leave the anthropology aside and stick to the recorded facts.

If we define a precursor of minigolf as ‘a smaller and more compact version of golf’, the Ladies’ Putting Club at St Andrews was the first prominent example of such a game. To give the golf widows something to do as their hubbies hiked around the links all day, a putting-only area called ‘The Himalayas’ was set up specially for ladies. At the time it was considered unseemly for a lady to swing a club above the shoulder, but a bit of demure putting was permissible as long as they were all ladylike about it and didn’t make to much noise besides a light tinkle of musical laughter. So the patronised females were given their own bit of St Andrews, and it proved popular. Other clubs around Britain copied the idea, but they were more pitch-and-putt courses than minigolf as we know it today.

One of the earliest attempts to package miniature golf and sell it as a product was Golfstacle, a game patented by a British Army Colonel in 1907 as ‘a golf game for putters’ or alternatively ‘golf-croquet’. In your wooden box you got some painted metal obstacles including croquet-style hoops, balls, putters and a peg taken straight from croquet, which was presumably what you had to try to hit with your ball. Putting cups were still a thing of the future, but the introduction of obstacles and the compact size of the course layout was a significant step towards minigolf as we know it today. The game is documented in the 8th June 1912 edition of the Illustrated London News:

Golfstacle minigolf crazy golf
An advertisement for Golfstacle in the Illustrated London News 1912
Minigolf crazy golf golfstacle
A piece of putting history!

NEXT WEEK: THE AMERICAN BOOM!

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Celebrity Antiques Road Trip features minigolf!

‘Big Top Ted’ McIver shows his passion for minigolf on BBC2

Some excellent minigolf footage has appeared on Celebrity Antiques Road Trip on BBC2! In Episode 1 of Season 8, Denise Van Outen and Tim Medhurst find themselves hunting for antiques in Margate, then they swing by Strokes Adventure Golf. There they meet none other than 3-time British Open champ John ‘Big Top Ted’ McIver! It’s great to see him chatting away genially with the celebs. McIver is a bit of a celeb himself in the minigolf world, and a very nice bloke to boot.

Van Outen and Medhurst trundle up in their convertible Morris Minor and hit the course to find Ted, whom they quiz about the history of minigolf. He is more than happy to oblige and launches into a potted history of the sport – a putted history really – that touches on several of the landmark eras and places in the development of our beloved game.

Big Top Ted mentions the Himalayas course at St Andrews, site of the Ladies’ Putting Club, which was a precursor to minigolf. The narrator then describes Golfstacle, the first mini golf set you could buy, before going across the pond to address the minigolf explosion over there. Ted then talks about some of the crazier things to be found on mini golf courses during its early heyday, including trained bears and monkeys.

This is high quality footage of minigolf on the Beeb, and we’re delighted to see it. Big Top Ted’s enthusiasm is obvious and he comes across really well. Here’s the clip.

It’s a bit of a shame we didn’t get to see three-time British champion McIver demonstrate his putting technique, but it was probably hard to concentrate with TV cameras there and celebs yacking in his face. Still, it’s another great bit of minigolf footage that we just had to share with our blog readers!

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Why minigolf is the perfect Summer date

An evening at the local mini golf course is fun and challenging, and a great way to get to know your date. It’s a bit of a classic dating idea over in the USA, tinged perhaps with 1950s-type nostalgia. It’s an innocent pastime that breaks the ice and brings out people’s personalities. And it gives you something to do with your hands while you’re fighting those first- or second-date nerves. Meeting someone new is an emotional roller-coaster at the best of times, so why not simply do something fun?

minigolf dating take your date to play crazy golf

Crazy golf is affordable – much cheaper than taking your date to a restaurant or even a film these days. It fosters social interaction, which is what you are after on a date, right? Almost anyone can play it as well. You might think naked bear wrestling is a cool thing to do with your date, but they might not be quite as enthusiastic. Minigolf is a tried and tested way to have simple and relatively safe fun together.

Top Tips

  • Wear sun protection – a wide-brimmed hat, or slather yourself with sun cream. You’ll be out on the course for a while and getting fried to a crisp would spoil the fun (unless it’s a ploy to have your date apply lotion to your shoulders. If so, well played.)
  • Don’t be over-competitive. You’re on the minigolf course to get to know someone, not just to beat them at minigolf. Celebrate their good shots as well as your own.
  • You can make a friendly wager at the beginning, though, like buying a drink or an ice cream afterwards.
  • Wear trainers, sandals or flat shoes. You know, suitable footwear for playing minigolf. No boots or high heels.
  • If you want a quick date, choose a 9-hole course. If you want a more extended meeting, choose an 18-hole course. If Cupid’s arrow has at least left his bow and is on its way, then go round again!
  • Here are a few style tips for ladies: http://the-coastalconfidence.com/mini-golf-the-best-summer-date/

Date idea: minigolf crazy golf

Got a date lined up? What are you waiting for? You can either head down to the nearest crazy golf or adventure golf course or hire a course from Putterfingers.

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Putt-Putt turns 64 and is still popular

Much-loved American putting game Putt-Putt turned 64 last week and is still going strong, which shows that the U.S. putting population’s answer to the question “Will you still need me, will you still feed me when I’m sixty-four?” is a resounding “Yes!”

Some British readers might not be familiar with Putt-Putt, but rest assured it’s miniature golf, just a specific version of it that was commercialised and popularised in the USA in the 1950s. Here’s a bit of its history and one notable occurrence.

Putt-Putt course 1954

When the first Putt-Putt® course opened in Fayetteville, North Carolina in 1954, the Putt-Putt mission statement was simple and honest: “To provide families with a safe, clean, wholesome entertainment venue where they can have an enjoyable experience for a reasonable cost in their own community.” A game cost 25 cents and the courses were standardised to give as equal a challenge as possible from one course to another. Doing away with windmills, fountains and other paraphernalia, they consisted of simple geometric shapes and standardised carpet and rails to give even roll and predictable bounce. The holes are designed so that a hole in one is always possible. So it’s a game of pure putting skill and judgement.

A franchise business right from the start, Putt-Putt courses spread quickly and became a household name in family entertainment. It is still possible to apply to become a Putt-Putt franchisee! Soon the brand had its own league, the Professional Putters Association (PPA) which still exists today and offers relatively substantial prize money.

Here’s a video we’ve shared before which not only shows what Putt-Putt holes look like, but also one of the very few occasions on which a player has hit 18 consecutive aces – the perfect game (see original post here). It’s a superbly made animated video that documents the most exciting moment in the putting career of an IT manager called Rick Baird.

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Some thoughts on disabled minigolf

Word of the week: Shlubs

On The 18th and 19th of May the US Prominigolf Association’s U.S. Open Championship was held in Hendersonville, North Carolina. One professional player stood out in particular, a man by the name of Niko Manou. What is different about him is that he does not use a putter. Niko has a debilitating condition that causes his wrists to dislocate very easily and without warning, which is painful and makes using a putter almost impossible. Refusing to be ‘disabled’, he has overcome this by designing special attachments to his shoes that present a putter-like face to the ball – and he putts with his feet.

disabled minigolf platyer invents shlubs
Shlubs

He calls them shlubs, a portmanteau of shoes and clubs. And they are not just for himself – he makes them for other minigolfers and sells them. Here’s the shlubs Facebook page. Niko also plays big golf with shlubs and can drive a ball quite a way. He calls this sport shloffing.

Other pro players accept Niko and respect him for his resilience and creativity, and for the simple fact that he is a nice guy. Here’s a video of Niko talking about shlubs, shloffing and what makes him happy.

The sporting world is full of examples of people who play despite apparently overwhelming odds. Though his case is completely different, Niko reminds us of another disabled American by the name of Matt Stutzman, who has risen to the top of the sport of archery despite one tiny problem – he was born without arms. Want to see how he overcomes that one? Here’s a video about Matt, the amazing Armless Archer, who shoots as well as his able-bodied peers.

While we’re on the subject, it might be worth mentioning that Putterfingers minigolf courses are wheelchair-friendly. Because the putting surface is so low, wheelchair access is easy, and people using wheelchairs can enjoy a game if they are otherwise able-bodied. The only obstacles on Putterfingers courses are the ones they have to get the ball over!

Disabled minigolf wheelchair access
Wheelchair users can just roll up to the tee, and onto the course as well

There are special putters out there for wheelchair minigolfers. The shaft hinges just before the head to enable a good putting angle from a seated position. Unfortunately we are unable to source them at the moment, but we’re trying to get a supply line to help make our courses even more inclusive.

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Why are abandoned minigolf courses so creepy?

Look on my minigolf course, ye mighty, and despair!

The whole idea of adventure golf is to get ‘lost’ in a far-away world that takes you away from your mundane existence. So when the courses themselves get lost, i.e. abandoned, there is a very special feel to them as the observer becomes doubly lost. Walking among the gaudy, peeling obstacles, the ghostly laughter of players from the course’s sunlit heyday can almost be heard. It speaks directly to the soul about how brief our enjoyment is, and leaves us with a profound sense of  … something or other.

Creepy abandoned minigolf courses
This YouTube video gives some examples of creepy abandoned minigolf courses.

Why are abandoned minigolf courses so creepy? It’s hard to put your finger on it really. Philosophers and writers have tried to pin down our fascination with decay for a long time. Nietzsche had a stab at it with his musings on cultural decadence in Twilight of the Gods, and in the books The Aesthetics of Decay and The Memory of Place: the Phenomenology of the Uncanny, Dylan Trigg explores the thrill of decay in chapters with titles like An Uncanny Memory, An Impossible Nostalgia, Dark Night of the Soul and The Post-Industrial Sublime. Going back a bit further, the Romantic poets nurtured a love for the wild and abandoned. The most famous example is probably Shelley’s Ozymandias, a tale of hubris and destruction featuring the crumbling statue of a once-great king lying in a desert.

Creepy abandoned crazy golf courses
The statue of Rameses II, thought to be the inspiration for Ozymandias.

It’s funny how so many adventure golf courses feature Mayan temples, Inca gods, dinosaurs, pirates and jungle themes. And that’s before they are abandoned! It’s almost as if they are foretelling their abandoned creepiness before it has even happened.

This all ties in with the urban exploration craze. Abandoned factories, tunnels and fairgrounds attract slightly weird yet understandable people who want to go on adventures that make the hairs on their necks stand on end. Post-industrialist urban decay is a fertile place for the imagination, so in a sense, those old derelict crazy golf courses just keep on giving.

Here are some links to photos and videos we’ve found on the web that feature abandoned crazy golf courses. If they give you a thrill, you’re probably an urban explorer at heart. Where is your nearest abandoned crazy golf course? Here are some in the UK visited by Richard Gottfried’s The Ham and Egger Files.

Hole In None: 12 Abandoned Miniature Golf Courses

A good slideshow of abandoned crazy golf courses: http://nextimpulsesports.com/2016/06/01/abandoned-mini-golf-courses-are-both-creepy-and-oddly-fascinating

More creepy abandoned minigolf courses: http://www.placesthatwere.com/2015/12/creepy-abandoned-miniature-golf-course.html

And more: https://www.telegraph.co.uk/travel/galleries/The-worlds-eeriest-abandoned-theme-parks/

We would like to stress that out minigolf courses are not creepy. They’re fun! Here’s info about Minigolf course hire in the UK from Putterfingers.

 

 

Minigolf is booming in North Korea!

Nuke-happy leader gifts minigolf course to inexplicably cheerful populace

General Kim Jong-Il of the People’s Republic of North Korea is said to have played the inaugural round at Pyongyang’s golf course in 1987 with a score of 34 strokes, including 5 holes-in-one. The feat was witnessed by 17 bodyguards, a handful of officials and no-one else, so it is of course true. Now his son Kim Jong-Un, no doubt also capable of smashing the best PGA score of all time by 25 strokes before breakfast, has further enhanced the fun-loving image of North Korea by revamping the minigolf course situated next to the golf course. Thanks to the generosity of the little man who runs the country with an iron haircut, grateful North Koreans have flocked to the glorious facility to unwind after a hard day’s applauding wildly. Here they are enjoying the minigolf course:
Minigolf Pyongyang North Korea Kim Jong-Un
Photo: Dylan Harris from Lupine Travel
In a cheeky attempt to upstage this enviable fun palace, soldiers of the free world maintain a golf course with a single hole in the demilitarized zone between the two Koreas. It is sited in Camp Bonifas, named after a United Nations soldier who was murdered with an axe by angry Norks in a dispute over pruning a poplar tree. Often called the world’s most dangerous golf hole, it is lined with live land mines and it is one place where you don’t go looking for your ball if it goes out of bounds. It’s listed in our blog post The World’s Most Dangerous Golf Courses. If you really wanted to, you could try to recreate the atmosphere there by using our exploding golf balls!
North Korea golf DMZ
The course is between two countries who hate each other and is surrounded by landmines.
North Korea crazy golf, mini golf, minigolf, Pyongyang minigolf
The red velvet-covered bench is where the Leader sat as he directed construction. Photo: Dylan Harris from Lupine Travel
Dylan Harris, the man behind the unusual-location company Lupine Travel, had the awesome opportunity to play the inaugural Pyongyang Minigolf Open Tournament, a precursor to the equally surreal DPRK Amateur Golf Open Competition. Thanks to him for most of the photos in this post. Here he snapped a Western competitor playing a hole under the watchful eye of one of the course staff.
Minigolf in North Korea
Photo: Dylan Harris from Lupine Travel
We’ll never use the words ‘adventure golf’ in quite the same way again after hearing about this trip!

Low bounce balls and why we use them

Low bounce balls

There’s always one. Sooner or later someone rocks up on the minigolf course and inexplicably feels the need to wallop a minigolf ball as hard as they can with their putter, just to see how far it will go.
This is a bad idea because a) it doesn’t do much for safety and b) minigolf is a game of precise control and finesse that takes place in the confined area of the putting green.
But there will always be excitable individuals who attempt to make what they fondly hope will be 200 yard drives off the tee for no reason other than to have fun. With a full-bounce ball this will not end well – our budding Rory McIlroy will probably never see the ball again, and if they do it will be as they try to retrieve it from an old lady’s hat, a pond, or from behind a pane of freshly-shattered glass.
These people are the reason we provide special low bounce balls with our minigolf kits. They bounce perfectly well off the foam bumpers and obstacles, but just enough to make for an enjoyable game. When sensible, non-maniac players have got used to the speed of the low bounce balls on our putting surface, they can make controlled shots and enjoy the game.
Low bounce balls
Now you’re probably thinking, ‘Is this a low bounce ball or a regular ball?’
Want to try a 200 yard drive?
Make my day, punk!
Let’s look at how golf balls have evolved to get bouncier, just so we can say that our low-bounce balls deliberately reverse hundreds of years of history.
The first golf balls were made of wood. They were terrible, but nobody knew it yet because modern golf ball manufacturing techniques hadn’t been invented yet and they didn’t know any better.
The next generation of ball (17th century) was a stitched leather case stuffed with boiled feathers. They must have resembled a little hacky sack and were also rubbish. Notwithstanding, the game remained popular.
A breakthrough came in 1850 with the solid gutta percha ball, and then – finally – rubber-cored balls appeared on the scene in about 1900. The Open Championship winner of 1902 used a rubber-cored ball and that pretty sealed it as the standard ball from then on.
Modern balls consist of a liquid or solid rubber core wound with highly elastic rubber thread and encased in a dimpled, injection-moulded plastic cover. That makes them super bouncy, unlike our low bounce balls which, as the name suggests, have as much bounce in them as a bog-snorkeler’s hair.
What's inside a golf ball
Here’s a video of someone sawing various types of golf ball in half, just to see what’s inside, basically. We applaud this endeavour because it’s weird and interesting.
 And have you seen the other balls we sell? Airflow balls, foam practice balls, lake balls, floating balls, flashing balls, exploding balls (honestly!), novelty balls and more. Check them out here!