Many people know miniature golf as a younger cousin of golf. The game made its entry into the United States in the early 1920s. By 1930, the United States had over 25,000 mini-golf courses around the nation. In fact, at the time, enthusiasts of the game built courses almost everywhere; from rooftops to vacant parking lots.

For many people, mini-golf is also more interesting and engaging than regular golf. Participants play this mini-version of regular golf on small greens/courses. Each course consists of a series of holes. To successfully putt a golf ball into one of the holes players must hit it through an obstacle. These obstacles are meant to make putting more challenging and more fun.

Yet, unlike regular golf, which many people consider an elite sport, mini-golf is a social sport. This is largely down to the fact that it is more affordable and takes a shorter time to learn. These two factors make miniature golf outings an ideal activity for family, lovers or even the whole community. Simply put, mini-golf events can help families and communities bond through healthy competition. Additionally, this miniature version of golf also has positive impacts on health, concentration, and even hand-eye coordination.

How Organizations are using Mini-Golf Events for The Community

Everywhere in the Nation, organizations are using mini-golf as a community involvement activity. Below are some of these organizations and the different ways they are using mini-golf to involve families and the community.

1. Greenwich Library, 101 West Putnam Avenue, Greenwich, CT

Although the library can trace back its history to the 1800s, it opened its doors at its current location in 1960. The library currently has a total circulation of over 1 million; making it one of the highest in Connecticut. However, it is the library’s engagement with the community that has truly set it apart from other libraries.

For example, since 2011, Greenwich Library has held the Greenwich Reads Together community reading event. Here, residents are able to read and discuss books together, screen films and tell stories. In 2016 alone, at least 7,500 residents took part.

In 2017, the library started yet another initiative in a bid to involve the community; it held a miniature golf event. This saw organizers turn the library into a temporary 18-hole mini golf course with stacks as the obstacles. The event involved various stakeholders from the community including; local businesses, schools, and other organizations. These stakeholders were also responsible for sponsoring each of the course-holes.

While families had their special Family Fun Day, adults had their own After Hours event. Ultimately, through the mini-golf event, the library was able to pull both patrons and other members of the community to the library. The design of the course also meant that some people got to see previously unknown parts of the library. Lastly, the library was able to create awareness about some of its products and services to the attendees. With such initiatives, it is no wonder the Library Journal named the Greenwich Library a 5-star library.

2. Crown Point Community Library, 122 S Main St, Crown Point, IN

Like the name suggests, the community is at the core of this public library’s strategy. Indeed, the library regularly holds free and inspiring community involvement programs.
Most recently in April 2018, the library held a miniature golf event, “A Hole Lot of Fun”. The mini-green featured 18 decorated holes complete with obstacles. The course even featured a hand-made gutter system for a hole that runs down the library’s main staircase. To encourage participation, the library partnered with Crown Point Parks and Recreation to provide free transport to attendees.

After completing the course, players and their families headed to the family fun zone situated in the library meeting rooms. Here, the library treated them to free refreshments as well as a balloonist, tattoo artist, and games.

2018’s mini-golf event saw a record of 566 players across all ages playing on the course. This was an increase from the 450 players who participated in the 2016 library putt-putt event. In addition to that, over 1, 700 members of the community ended up visiting the library on the day.

During the event, Crown Point schools also competed in a hole decorating contest with golfers voting for the best hole. Three winning schools were chosen with each receiving a cash prize based on position.

According to the Library, mini-golf events such as these help it to raise funds for programs. All this while knitting the community closer together in a fun and healthy way.

3. Alden Library, 30 Park Place, Athens, OH

Children of all ages love it when they get to bond with their fathers. However, with even busier schedules, this is often hard for some families. In recognition of this, Ohio University Libraries hosts an annual Dads Weekend miniature golf course at Alden Library. The aim is to give fathers a fun platform to bond with their children and with other families.

This putt-putt golf event features two courses; a 9-hole and an 18-hole. The courses include holes in each of the three library floors and even a stairway hole. With this design, organizers ensure that parents and students walk through the whole library. In 2017 event organizers invited students to design two of the course-holes. The 2017 event also included a 19th hole which gave golfers a chance to win a bonus prize.

In the 2017 event, more than 500 golfers took part with entrance fee profits surpassing $3,000. The University Libraries then channel these profits to another community involvement event; Student Research and Creative Activity Expo. Apart from miniature golf, this annual event often includes a wide range of tabletop games and free light refreshments.

Parents, students and other members of the community are all free to attend this annual putt-putt event.

mini golf course

4. Chaminade Julienne Catholic High School, 505 S Ludlow St, Dayton, OH

For many people, miniature golf is a fun and exciting past time. However, in this Catholic high school, mini-golf is also an educational opportunity for students. For example, Engineering Design students recently went on a field trip to a mini-golf entertainment center. The trip, part of Project Lead the Way curriculum, saw team members learn about creating and designing mini-golf courses.

Based on the competition rules, students were given two weeks to pick a theme and design a 9-hole course. One team designed a course with a video game theme including games such as Minecraft, Pong, and Pac-Man. Most importantly, students who took part in the trip were able to sharpen a range of skills including;

  • Teamwork and collaboration
  • Problem-solving
  • Communication

This mini-golf course design project illustrates that mini-golf can also enhance education and particularly within the STEMM subjects.

5. Impact 4 Good, West Orange, NJ

Impact 4 Good is an organization that provides team-building services that are socially responsible. Such services result in positive effects on employees and on the communities within which organizations operate.

One of the company’s ideas is on using miniature golf as a socially responsible team building activity. More specifically, the company proposes that organizations could use mini-golf to collect food donations for local soup kitchens. This is based on the fact that millions of families rely on these kitchens to fulfill their need for food. Subsequently, these kitchens often find it difficult to sustain demand.

This activity would involve different teams designing putt-putt course holes from canned food items. The teams would then compete in a hole-in-one tournament so as to identify a winner. In addition to competing, teams would also collect food items and pack them in readiness for delivery to beneficiaries.
Mini-golf, therefore, emerges as a social activity and a mentally stimulating activity which can also encourage social responsibility. In this case, team-builders use the sport as a recreational activity that enhances creativity and teamwork.

6. Woodbury Senior Community Center, 265 Main St S, Woodbury, CT

The center provides resources, information, and referrals for senior Americans and their loved ones. It also provides guidance on issues such as elder abuse, health-related problems and even the need to belong.

For 9 years, the Center has hosted an annual indoor miniature golf fund-raiser with proceeds going to local charities. In 2017, the 9-hole course underwent a change in design. From these change, the course developed new challenges for golfers of all ages. This particular event encourages bonding between seniors and younger members of the family such as grand-children.

In 2017, this unique miniature gold event made profits $1200. The proceeds were donated to the Community Services Council of Woodbury.

putter and golf ball

Unique Mini-Golf Venues for Family and Community Involvement Event

Due to the popularity of mini-golf in the United States, there are thousands of mini-golf courses in the nation. However, some of these courses stand out for their unique features and exciting greens.

1. Urban Putt, San Francisco, CA

This indoor miniature golf course was the first of its kind in San Francisco. The 14-hole course has a technology-focused theme; a fine contrast from the historic Victorian building which houses it. Some of the obstacles include an earthquake-themed hole, a duck shooting gallery, and even a submarine.  The indoor space is roomy, clean, organized, and well laid out.

One thing that gives Urban Putt an edge over other courses is that it features a restaurant which serves delicacies such as;

  • Buffalo chicken sandwiches
  • Spaghetti and meatballs
  • Pizza
  • Fried Chicken

These features make it an ideal location for families and groups of friends seeking good food and sporty fun.

2. Indianapolis Museum of Art, Indianapolis, Indiana

Anyone who has visited IMA knows that the museum offers one of the best experiences for art lovers. Not only do they choose exhibits carefully, they execute them beautifully. In 2015, the museum commissioned national and regional designers to create an exciting and challenging 18-hole course.

The course officially opened in 2016 and featured unique hole themes and designs such as Vonnegut doodles and even a grid. Additionally, an estimated 30,000 golfers played on the course. In 2017, the museum once again commissioned a redesign of all but three of the holes from the 2016 course.

Some of the new holes included a Water Play theme, a Jungle Paradise hole and even a Japanese inspired Stroll Garden hole. This is a special event and may only be open seasonal.

Source: Newfields

3. Can Can Wonderland, St Paul, Minnesota

To identify the most exciting mini-golf hole designs, Can Can Wonderland sorted through 200 suggestions and chose the 18 best proposals. Can Can then enlisted the help of a team of designers, engineers and others to turn the proposals into reality.

Ultimately, their efforts resulted in an exquisite 18-hole course featuring unique themes such as; a comet, blue toad, hot tub time machine and even a natural disaster in the form of a tornado. With each hole comes a new and exciting experience for golfers. Can Can is a wonderful place not only for the family but also for community involvement events.

What to Consider When Organizing Mini-Golf Events For The Community

As noted, miniature golf is a great activity for community involvement initiatives. However, with so many mini-golf courses in the United States, settling on one is a challenge.

There are certain factors that one should consider when selecting a course for a family or community event;

1. Location

The ability of members of the community to access a course may determine how well people attend an event. Experts recommend choosing a course that is centrally located and one that reduces the transport burden as much as possible.

2. Size

Miniature golf courses are naturally smaller than regular golf courses. However, when it comes to hosting community involvement initiatives, size matters. For example, many indoor venues are small and ideal for family events and small events. On the other hand, outdoor mini-golf venues are often larger. This makes them better suited for larger events such as those involving the whole community.

3. Cost

Again, putt-putt golf is generally more affordable than regular golf. When it comes to hosting events such as mini-golf charities, cost emerges as a key issue. Many times organizations donate proceeds of events to local charities. However, high costs have the effect of reducing possible profits. This means less money to the charity. Cost is also an important factor for organizations that intend to fund-raise for other purposes other than charity.

4. Level of Difficulty

The excitement of miniature golf lies in the ability of an individual to avoid obstacles and get the ball into the hole. Ideally, the more challenging a course is, the more exciting and competitive it is. Challenging courses also help to enhance skills such as strategy and problem-solving.

Getting the Family and Community Involved with Mini-Golf Events

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