Miniature golf or mini golf courses is the most popular and common kind of tournament courses. The course is mostly developed with fibre cement. It requires very little space and a course of eighteen holes can be made in about 600 to 800 meter square.
There are around 28 different kinds of holes that you can choose to set up your own golf course. The golf course requires adequate maintenance in spring, just after winter.
In this article, you will learn more about miniature golf which you can set up in your backyard, all the golf equipment required and what are the measures you should take for proper maintenance of the course in the backyard.
What is Golf/Mini Golf?
Mini golf or better known as miniature golf, midget golf, putt-putt, or crazy golf, is a branch of golf sport that focuses mainly on the putting part of the parent sport. The objective of this game is to target or score the minimum no. of points. The course consists of several holes and they are usually in multiples of 9, just like the parent sport. However, in terms of length, the course is much shorter generally within 10 yards from cup to tee.
Mini golf employs the use of artificial turf and putting surfaces such as concrete or carpet. The layout is geometric that that may require non-conventional putting lines like bank shots as well as artificial obstacles like tubes, ramps, tunnels, and moving obstacles like windmills, and walls made of either metal, fiberglass, or concrete.
History of Mini Golf
It is quite too hard to accept that one of the most common and popular leisure past-time was actually initiated by Scottish women golfers. St. Andrews from Fife, Scotland has been tagged as the “Cathedral of Golf” and it is an amazing site for one of the oldest of the 4 major championships in golf, the British Open. In 1867, the Ladies’ Putting Club was formed for the first time in St. Andrews.
It all started with the golf course with 18 holes and short greens that was developed for the womenfolk who were interested in this spectacular golf sport. But under the pressure of social conventions of those times, the women could not play in a conventional way. The sport was quite restricted for them and the rules for women were different. They were not supposed to swing their golf clubs past their shoulder levels.
Societal conventions made it unacceptable for women golfers to perform in public, the violent movements that a proper swing required. To solve this problem, these women started playing on a string of short putting greens and named its mini golf, the version that became extremely popular, not only among the women but also, men.
American Mini Golf
All the credit for constructing a mini golf course goes to James Barber. He constructed the course in the backyard of his home in 1917. It was after this time that mini-golf was first recognized in different parts of America. James Barber constructed the course with 18 holes just for sheer entertainment for his guests in Pinehurst, North Carolina. Barber’s target audience consisted of experienced golfers, and his course was known as Thistle Dhu, pronounced as “that’ll do”.
Barber meticulously designed the course and included fountains, pathways that were geometrically patterned, and gardens. The holes on the course were made in just 1 shot. However, the course was not constructed for children. The shortest hole was just 12 ft while the longest one was 71 ft. The attention paid by all the journalists and media led to the use of the name Miniature Golf.
Who invented the modern Mini Golf?
The publicity and popularity of the miniature Thistle Dhu golf course by James Barber stimulated the development of these pitch-and-putt golf courses all around America. The courses were mainly par-3, smaller or larger courses available primarily to the affluent sections. But Thomas McCulloch Fairbairn did not appreciate this fact and started developing the artificial green course that is widely recognized and used today.
In 1922, Fairbairn constructed the artificial green course by using a mix of sand, oil dye, and cottonseed hulls. This playing surface was not very expensive and so, it became accessible to everyone and everywhere. But the contributions made by Fairbairn does not stop here. He made notable additions such as artificial curves, bunkers, water hazards, etc.
How do you play?
The aim of playing the mini-golf game is that you can have finished all the holes and the person who has the lowest score, wins the game. Playing this game is not very challenging but to become proficient, it may require some time. For beginners, you may face several obstacles set up on the mini golf course but the experience is truly enjoyable. The aim, however, is exactly the same as the regular game – complete every hole with the fewest possible strokes.
First things first, it is important that you study and concentrate on the entire layout of the holes before you take the first shot. Examine all the bumps, angles, raised levels, and other obstacles that come in the way to the hole and then determine the course or flow of action.
Tee the golf ball on the given space at the start of every hole. There will be one putter and one colored ball and you have to put the golf ball in the designated place to make your 1st shot on a hole. Now, simply put the ball on them and prepare to take a hit.
The best way to hit a golf ball is you need to hit it firmly but very smoothly. Just light tapping will not get the golf ball into the hole. Once you have examined the layout, try to determine how hard you should hit the ball in order to get it into the hole in the fewest move possible.
You must be aware of the rules of playing a mini golf. Normally, in mini golf, players are allowed to move the ball once it comes to rest against any obstacle or the walls. This allows the player to hit the ball properly on the second shot. Many courses also restrict strokes to 5 per hole, so regardless of how you play for a specific hole, the worst score will always be a 5.
Play different angles on your golf course. You can get different courses for your backyard; some holes may be placed straight while others may have angled holes. For angled holes, the player will require to hit the golf ball of the wall to move it to the hole. Study the angle, and do not be too shaky while hitting the ball.
Use your timing sense while making the ball through the obstacles. The most and toughest memorable mini golf holes are generally the ones that have openings through which the ball passes in order to reach the hole. The movement is often restricted by obstacles such as the windmill. Examine such obstacles and find out how you can tackle the ball and move it through clear areas.
Be very critical on the short putts. The majority of a mini golf course’s short putt is a straight putt, once the golfer has got the ball near to the hole. This implies that if the golfer hits the ball with a putter, squarely, it goes into the hole, only if you hit the ball hard enough.
The entire game of backyard mini golf may seem challenging and difficult for beginners, but with practice, this is going to be a piece of cake. You will learn how to make the best strokes to hit the golf ball just hard enough to make it into the hole and no loss of momentum will cause the ball to deviate away from it at the very last second. Do not hit it too hard or too soft.
What equipment is required?
Generally, holes are constructed on flat surfaces of hard-packed sand or concrete. Every hole has its ramps and dips which adds more to the golfing challenge. Nevertheless, these holes should have a pattern or design. For a game of basic miniature golf, there are 4 simple components you will require – the holes, the artificial grass, the obstacles, and the boundaries.
You can create a grass golf course with artificial short-pile carpet or turf. The holes are formed by inserting an appropriate container with a minimum diameter of 180 mm. You can lay the boundaries with any material that you want. Wooden boards and bricks are an excellent option for starters.
Now, when it comes to these obstacles, there are plenty that you can use and it all depends on your budget. You may use anything to make the sport more interesting and enhance the challenges, fix the theme but ensure that it is secure and safe.
To make sneaky tunnels, you can use the basic PVC pipes, anywhere on the course. While preparing your golf course in the backyard make sure that you buy more of these resources than you require. You will definitely require them later for modifications and repairs.
Once the golf course is placed in the right way, and the path is clear between every hole, all you have left to do is give the finishing touches. Once again, all of this is based on your brief and budget. The finishing touches are important and after that, you are all set to go. Spray paint at the starting point and add flags into the holes and provide adequate balls and putters.
How big should my backyard be?
If you are planning to construct a mini golf course in your backyard, the best way to select the course is by examining the area of the backyard and what design of the course you can fit there. You can reproduce your favorite golf hills, dips, and holes. For the best fit of the golf course, concentrate on the areas that you want to set the course and allow it to help you decide which design or shape will best fit in your backyard.
If you are getting a mini golf course with 18 holes, the recommended size may range from 15000 to 22000 square feet for a proper playing surface. But you can also employ courses that are around 9000 square ft. The parking areas and clubhouse are simply the extras to your playing surface.
How many people can play it?
Miniature golf can have both individual and multiple players. However, the recommended maximum number of players of 1 hole is four players. If you are playing with a group, every player has to play consecutively and sequentially that needs to be determined before you start playing. The goal of the game remains the same as the regular sport, and that is to move the ball in the fewest strokes possible.
For what age is this sport suitable?
There is no denying that mini golf is an incredibly famous family activity. It is enjoyed by both men and women and not to forget, the kids and the teens too. The playful scenery and the challenging sport are meant for children and younger kids, who are between the age group 3 to 5.
What do you have to pay attention to?
If you are setting up putting greens in your backyard, you must find out an appropriate spot for your golf greens. The spot should receive adequate air movement, sunlight, a proper drainage system, and lastly a water source. The drainage system is important since it helps in getting rid of any excess water after you have irrigated the green grass.
You must also keep in mind the location where you wish to install the greens. If your objective is the enhance the game and improve your skills, select a spot that has dips and hills. This will make the game more challenging for you and your buddies. If the dips and hills are not available naturally, look for another location where you can easily create them in your backyard. Healthy turds have a lot to offer in pleasing your putting experience.
How to improve your golfing experience?
We have provided some important tips that can help you transform from a novice golfer to an expert player. So, follow the steps to improve your overall golfing experience –
Ensure that you have a putter of the right size. You may find it hard to score if you are bending over the top much.
Think about success and visualize it. visualize dropping the golf ball with every hit you take. The power of optimism works in wondrous ways!
It is wrong to think of striking a straight ball. Mini golf is more than just hitting straight, it is also about the speed. The right speed makes a great difference to your success rate on the golf course.
Keep an eye on other players who play before you. Many holes can be reached with several options. Observe them and select the easiest and best route.
Know all the obstacles. For most of the holes, all that matters is hitting the ball at the right time with the right force to avoid any danger. Observe and learn.
Types of Mini Golf Courses
Miniature golf courses are the most popular and common kind of tournament courses in the world. There are 28 distinctive hole types and the courses need some level of maintenance, especially just after the winter, during spring. You should not walk on the obstacles or the golf course but again, it is not necessary during the game.
Finland and Sweden are famous for these felt courses. As the name goes the surface is made of felt and the borders are wooden. The course can be a bit difficult since the holes are longer than the regular ones in miniature golf. These courses need more space around 1000 to 1500 meters square and the length may vary from 180 meters to 200 meters. You can plan the entire constructions around the area and landscape and select holes from around 40 different kinds.
The third kind uses the concrete course. You can get up to 18 kinds of obstacles. The course is built in concrete but the borders are made of hard steel. This course is very expensive and also requires much more space than the above-mentioned courses. The length may range from 10 to 12 and may also go up to 25 meters. Despite being expensive, it is quite attractive and has large clubs for casual players.
Points to Consider While Designing Your Mini Golf in The Backyard
Artificial greens are a perfect addition to the backyard but you will need to keep in mind the following considerations regarding the design of your mini golf course.
Backyard Space and Size – The size of your artificial putting green will be based on the space available in your backyard. First, you need to find out if you want to try different kinds of shots and putts or you just want to improve your hitting skills. Once you figure that out, you can decide on the size of putting green to set up.
Is the surface suitable for growing grass? – The best spot for a residential golf green course should have adequate air movement, a water source, a proper drainage system, and most importantly, sunlight. If you want dips and hills to improve your golfing skills, but do not have them naturally on the surface, you can move the location and place it where you can create them easily.
Artificial turf or real grass? – If you are looking for hassle-free, low-maintenance turf, you should opt for artificial golf greens. Real turfs may require you to look after the course but the synthetic ones have many advantages compared to the real turf. You can also install the turd indoors if you happen to have a large space inside your home.
Install special features – In case you have played in the real course, you must have seen unique features like the sand traps. These features certainly make the sport more challenging and exciting. You can make these amazing additions to your home putting green too. However, these special additions require a larger backyard. If you already have a large one, you may include more holes too.
The shape of the putting green – You can set up any design of putting green that you want, based on the available space in your yard. You can duplicate the golf dips, hills, and holes.
Playing mini golf in the backyard has become a trend and it is surely not going to die down anytime soon. More and more families are becoming interested in improving their golf skills or learning how to play it. Miniature golf courses are also the most popular type of tournament courses available in the world. There is no doubt that the Mini Golf Courses are gaining popularity by the day and there are no more seen as the sport played by the rich-only.
Many families are encouraging their children to learn this game because now it is accessible to almost everyone, everywhere.
Construction of your own mini golf in your yard does not take much effort or money. Once you set up the course, after the final flag is put in place, you should give it a test run.
Invite your children and other family members who will be seeing the design of your golf course for the first time and check out their genuine reaction when they see your challenging yet exciting layout. Start playing with them in groups for a test run and find out the scores for every hole.
This will help you improve your course since it is now open to maintenance, reviews, and modifications. Make the sport popular and improve your skills with more challenging obstacles.