The challenge in designing a miniature golf course is to make it interesting to play by making it possible for players to score a hole in one, but keep the course competitive enough to ensure their skill will be tested to achieve the same result consistently.
How a course plays is the key to bringing people back to play it again and again. Miniature golf is NOT golf in miniature. However, miniature golf does have a lot in common with regulation golf. To be interesting, miniature golf holes must have the contour changes found on the regulation green, which cause the ball to break and turn as it rolls toward the cup. Undulations and banking, rock obstacles, sand and water traps give the game an element of challenge and fun.
Unlike traditional Putt Putt, windmills and standing bears are not found on today’s courses. Miniature golf courses, however, do need unique elements to hold the players interest. Greens that bring water, sand traps and rough turf into play add this uniqueness, while still maintaining an interesting and challenging game.
Designing today’s courses must bring all of these elements together in a beautiful, natural setting, so that it will appeal to all ages and capture the interest and excitement required for a profitable business. It is this ability that has made Mini Golf Australia Pty Ltd a leader in design, construction, maintenance and management of miniature golf courses.
Giving players a variety of options of play for each hole, and interesting shots bring repeat business. Undulations, banking, the size of the greens, the position of the cups, the mix of easier holes with more difficult holes to prevent ‘people traffic jams’ on the course, and a hundred other little refinements, which come only from experience, are the difference between success and failure.
On a well-designed course a player is rewarded for a good putt without being overly penalized for a poor putt. If you hit the putt correctly it will go in the cup. If you hit poorly it may take two or three putts to get it in the cup, but you are not “out of play” or holding up the group behind you.
On a well-designed course players should feel that they are in their own space. Buffers between shots are an important design element to create this feeling. The three most common buffers used in modern miniature golf course design are streams, landscaping and elevation changes.
People love the sounds of running streams, creeks and waterfalls and they add a clean, refreshing atmosphere to the course. They separate the holes, but they also make play more interesting. On a well-designed course, streams come into play on almost every hole they flow past. Landscaping adds natural beauty to the course.
Elevation buffers offer a two-fold benefit. In addition to giving the players their own space, elevation buffers enable the course designer to build more interesting holes with uphill and downhill shots. Elevation changes also give a much more interesting overall appearance.
Elevation changes do not have to be extreme or expensive. Four or five foot changes in elevation will use a minimum of fill and produce a wide variety of shots on different levels throughout the course. If the site has existing elevation changes, the course can be designed to take advantage of the land’s natural topography.
While miniature golf is widely associated with being an outdoor activity, MGA recognizes that, due to climate, some areas will have a limited outdoor activity season. This doesn’t mean your income potential should be limited.
The process typically takes about eight to fourteen weeks depending upon the complexity. Much of this time is simply the result of thinking through the issues and exchanging ideas and information.
The design detail is extensive and therefore we can deliver a high degree of quality and design/construction integrity to the project. We will bring in our own crews for most work, however, electrical (because of the permitting/inspection process) and landscape are commonly handled by local licensed contractors. MGA has contacts and is associated with many professional trades people in all states.
The process starts with a Concept, Location, Budget and Time Frame. use our contact form to send us your details and we’ll put together some options or even draw up a layout for your site. There is NO OBLIGATION for general information, layouts or estimates.
MGA believes that the best environment for a miniature golf course is natural landscaping, streams and waterfalls. Natural landscaping has almost universal appeal, particularly if the course is kept clean and flower arrangements are changed regularly. When it’s time to give the course a ‘new look’, it’s a lot cheaper to spend a few hundred dollars on new flowers than it is to spend thousands of dollars on a new dinosaur. Landscaping also has the added advantage of looking better every year as it grows.
Courses with a particular theme often do well in indoor settings and resort areas, where competition is everywhere and repeat play from regular customers is not the primary goal. Resort courses have new players each week and “themeing” helps to draw attention to their course. In non-resort locations themed courses get old very quickly and lose their customer appeal. Non-resort locations must depend on interesting holes and repeat play from regular customers for their success. MGA has designed indoor landscaped courses, but has also a variety of themed courses that are innovative and exciting courses to play.
Thirty-six holes provide your customers with two choices of play, something your competitors may not offer. Customers may play one day and come back and play the second eighteen another day. Some customers get excited and pumped-up when they finish playing eighteen. If another eighteen is available, they may play again, producing a lot of repeat business on the same night.
However, the most important reason for a second eighteen is evening and weekend business. Birthday parties and functions in general are mostly held on the weekends and having two eighteen hole courses gives you much more control over player traffic. If your business is typical, with only eighteen holes you could loose thousands of dollars on evenings and weekends because you can’t handle the crowds. With thirty-six holes you eliminate long lines, and you never have to turn a customer away. MGA can supply valuable operating instructions dealing with controlling player traffic and maximizing playing time, and coordinating party and functions so they run efficiently.