If you have ever been to a miniature golf course in a tourist area, then you are probably familiar with pirate and dinosaur themes. Big structures help the business to look more appealing from the outside, converting passing traffic into customers. Even up close, the public is quickly bored with a flat series of holes on reliably level ground. Design flourishes can make the whole game more enjoyable.
Find Your Giant Windmill
It may seem like a cliché in the industry, but a great windmill has always been a classic attraction. The blades rotate and momentarily block the path where putters need to aim. The obstacle adds the challenge of timing your stroke, and swinging too soon (or too late) results in laughter and frustration. Of course, your big feature does not need to be a windmill. Think of something large and memorable, preferably with movement or some other unique challenge. This is your opportunity to make an impression on guests.
Small Bodies of Water
Some beginners design their courses around routine rectangles of AstroTurf. When players see this simple type of miniature golf course, they think of how they could do better themselves. Water obstacles are one easy way to make the whole setting more impressive. Consider having streams and small waterfalls incorporated into a couple of the holes. Needing to avoid (or jump over) a small stream can make the experience feel more like a day out on the links.
Ramps and Level Changes
When descending into a hole on a lower plane, a ball rapidly picks up speed. Slopes add all kinds of fun calculation and challenge to the relatively simple task of lining up a shot. Slopes can take a ball off course or even send it back to the person putting, providing added opportunities for displays of skill and finesse. When designing the layout for a putt-putt golf course, it's critical to avoid being too simple. Playing at different elevations produces a more layered experience, and players at higher levels can enjoy a better view of lower sections to come.
Pipes and Transfer Tubes
There's no point in pretending that putt-putt is as skilful or complicated a game as actual golf. To help give players a sense of levity, it's often helpful to include challenges where the ball is funneled into a chute, exiting closer to the destination. Pipes of PCV can be incorporated during the construction phase, big enough to accommodate balls and straight enough to clean in case of blockage. For even more fun, give the players a choice of their initial openings; they can guess which one will put them in the best position for a final shot.
When you are designing a miniature golf course, there are clearly a lot of factors to keep in mind. It's also a great idea to decide on a primary theme or gimmick. Pirate and safari themes are common, but a theme is not enough on its own. Remember these tips so that your guests will have a fun time.