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Mini Golf Course Information

2011-06-09
 

Mini-golf courses are more than diminutive cousins of the greens played by the likes of Tiger Woods and Arnold Palmer. They are mini-landscapes complete with windmills, water features, colorful mini-buildings and, of course, the moving targets that challenge players young and old.

The Beginning
In 1867, the Ladies Putting Club was formed in St. Andrews, Scotland. An 18-hole putting green called the Himalayas was designed so that women could golf without swinging a club back past their shoulders, considered unacceptable at the time. This is the oldest miniature golf course and is now open to both sexes .

Early Courses
The first miniature golf courses were mini-versions of regulation golf courses with sand traps, ponds, trees and hilly greens. Initially, players used two clubs for play, a short driver and a putter.

Post-World War I
In Pinehurst, North Carolina, James Barber designed the Thiste Dhu. Opening in 1916, it was the first miniature golf course in a new compact, classical design that integrated fountains, planters and symmetrically placed walkways.

Sky High Golf
In 1926, mini-golf courses started to show up on rooftops of New York skyscrapers. The invention of dyed cottonseed hull carpeting helped launch this new industry. Eventually, there were around 150 successful mini-golf courses in the Manhattan area.

Tom Thumb Golf
In 1929, Tom Thumb Golf became the first miniature golf franchise. The creative individual designs of courses were replaced with static designs that were easy and inexpensive to set up. But interest in the sport declined, and profits wanted.
Saved by the Car
In the second half of the 20th century, the mini-golf industry took advantage of Americans' increasing use of their cars. Huge courses sprung up along highways with elaborate castles, fountains, and challenging holes. Some mini-golf courses, like Castle Park in Riverside, California, offer arcades, rides and restaurants on site.
 

 

 
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