Miniature Golf: Just for Kids?

While golf has been a popular sport in Europe since the 15th century, the first golf course in America wasn’t created until the end of the 19th century. The game has evolved from its primitive roots to become one of America's favorite sports, as reflected by the $23 billion industry’s 10,752 clubs and courses across the nation. The formal game of golf doesn't appeal to everyone… that's why there's miniature golf.

How Mini Golf has Changed the Face of Golf

Miniature golf, aka Putt-Putt, is one of many popular family-centric outdoor games. In 1916, the first miniature golf course opened in North Carolina, but it didn’t grow as a popular recreational activity until 1920. At first it was simply a shortened variety of actual golf, as the original name “Golf in Miniature” implied. But by 1929, the recession led to the majority of Americans unable to afford the luxury of playing the regulated game. “Rinky Dink” golf was born from American intuition. It involved household members of all ages playing a version of golf in miniature which incorporated obstacles of any and all kinds: barrels, cans, windmills – whatever families and friends could get their hands on at the time.

In the 1930s, an estimated 30,000 rooftop miniature golf existed were in America. Various businesses recognized the untapped market and hopped aboard to create highly entertaining courses for the entire family. Putt-Putt was one of the main trademarked names at the time. The company added flash and extra gimmicks to the game to appeal to all ages on a whole new level. And in the 1950s, the company shared miniature golf with South America, Australia, Africa, and parts of Asia and Europe. Today, miniature golf is found all over the globe. But if you think it’s just for kids and fun time, think again.

Miniature Golf: An Iconic Outdoor Games

Miniature golf has had a longstanding reputation for being a kid’s game. But like all good sports and fun activities, it had to adapt to survive. As kids grow, their love for putt-putt grows as well. The 1990s led to a surge of miniature golf courses, once more providing Americans with the option of playing Golf in Miniature as it was originally intended. Courses put aside the gimmicky recreation equipment known to putt-putt family centers and opted for a country club feel with additional waterfalls, rock formations, streams, and gardens. The more realistic miniature golf selections were built around and added to many adventure parks as a more adult-friendly option.

Miniature golf has been a popular championship sport in Europe since the 1930s. The World MiniGolf Sports Federation was conceived to spread the opportunity of competitive miniature golfing to the rest of the world – now with active members in over 30 countries. And in 2000, the WMGSF became a member of the General Association of the International Sports Federation, hoping to one day become an Olympic event. So feel no shame in going putt-putting all summer long. You or your kids may just one day win the gold!

Introduce your family to the sport of miniature golf. Contact Wolverine Sports for the golf equipment you need to get started. 

Wolverine Sports
745 State Circle
Ann Arbor, MI 48108