Minigolf is not just a scaled-down version of classic golf – it is a very specific sport that is based on the basic rules of golf, but translates them into a scaled-down game plan with a different approach to tactics.
The difference between classic golf and miniature golf lies not only in the much smaller course that needs to be overcome with the ball, but in the overall approach to overcoming it. Minigolf thus stands alone as a special kind of sporting activity with its own types, equipment and competitions.
Specifics of miniature golf
A characteristic of miniature golf is the possibility of playing both indoors and outdoors (although mostly outdoor courses are preferred).
Like golf, miniature golf is generally played over 18 holes, which must be worked their way through various obstacles involving not only the quality of the course surface but also the placement of barriers.
In terms of game approach, there are several basic types of miniature golf, namely:
- certified minigolf – i.e. a miniature golf game played according to set competition rules on a course of a defined character
- home or hobby minigolf – has no strict rules and can be acquired for fun
Certified miniature golf can come in several designs depending on the course used. The most common ones include:
- miniature golf – the course is made of eternite in 28 variations of obstacle design or basic ball advancement direction
- concrete miniature golf – the individual lanes have a concrete surface and a fixed design of obstacles, no variation of obstacles is allowed in this type of miniature golf, the course containing 18 holes is always the same including the order of the individual holes
- Felt minigolf – originates from Sweden and uses felt-covered lanes with great variability in terms of length and obstacles
- adventure golf – this type limits only the length and width of the course, obstacles can be placed freely
Equipment for miniature golf
While in classic golf the tactics are mainly focused on choosing the right club to play the ball with, in miniature golf it depends mainly on the specific ball to be played.
For miniature golf, one club is used for all holes – it can be either a club directly designed for miniature golf or a putter from a classic golf game, the basic requirement is that the club head should have a playing area no larger than 40 cm2 and should not allow targeting.
Once a player has chosen a club that fits, he can play with it virtually continuously.
However, the same rule does not apply to balls – you need to have a whole set of them to play miniature golf – professional players always choose a particular ball according to the course and obstacles that await them, but also according to the current environmental conditions.
Although licensed balls (i.e. meeting the requirements of the professional game) must be used for the game, they may differ (even if only by a small amount) in hardness, radius, surface finish, weight or elasticity (which defines the limiting bounce of the ball at impact).
Game rules and popularity
A normal miniature golf game on a professional course has rules very similar to classic golf, i.e. the player must get the ball into the hole of each lane in the lowest number of strokes. In regular miniature golf, the player does not enter the lane at all, the shot is taken in a position outside the lane – entering the lane is only possible where it is permissible.
The winner is the player who hits the lowest number of shots on all 18 holes, while for professional players the number of shots is often minimized to a value very close to 18.
In addition to professional or amateur competitions, miniature golf also enjoys a relatively decent popularity among recreational players (although this popularity has been on a slight decline lately).
There are around 300 miniature golf courses of all categories in the Czech Republic.
The price per game depends mainly on the region, the course equipment and the age of the player. Courses are usually completely open to the public (unless a tournament is being organised) and the price is usually calculated per hour, with a value of between around 100-200 CZK for a normal adult.