365 days of celebration


National Miniature Golf Day

Posted by Brittany

National Miniature Golf DayThe exact origins of miniature golf are unknown but the first course was likely conceived by the Ladies’ Putting Club of St. Andrews of Scotland in the 1800s.  In a time and place where social conventions prohibited women from enjoying the sport of golf, the club’s ladies had to settle for a “less violent” 18-hole course made of short putting greens. Within decades “garden golf” had become so popular that it had spread to England and across the Atlantic to America, with many hotels featuring miniature courses based on actual golf courses, but scaled down to only one tenth their size. In 1922 the leisure sport was revolutionized by the development of a weather-resistant artificial green that allowed the activity to be enjoyed in all climates. Over the next decade minigolf spread rapidly throughout the United States, but production of new courses came to halt during the Great Depression and almost all of the era’s miniature golf courses were dismantled.

After the depression people were drawn to the sport once again and courses began to pop up across the country, but with obstacles and landscaping rounding out the basic putting greens of the past. Taylor Brothers began to build miniatures courses and supply obstacles to the industry, and were even contracted to ship prefabricated courses overseas for the enjoyment of American soldiers during the Korean and Vietnam wars. Now miniature golf is a staple of many parks, tourist areas, and even indoor arcades around the world. In honor of this fun and whimsical sport National Miniature Golf Day has been celebrated on the Second Saturday of May since 2007.

When I was growing up in Woodbridge, VA there was a wonderful park just a short car trip from our home. Sometimes in the spring and summer my family would go there and play the 18-hole miniature golf course designed with multiple twists, turns, and water traps. I remember the rest of the family being pretty good, and I wasn’t too bad either, but I had a habit of losing my ball in the water. We spent a lot of happy afternoons in that park and I’ve had a soft spot for minigolf ever since. When I was just hitting my teen years one of the local shopping areas (where I had my first job at Weiss Markets) opened an indoor miniature golf course, but the venture was unimpressive and short-lived. And then Potomac Mills Mall opened an indoor arcade filled with air hockey tables, video games, and a small putt-putt course in suite’s rear.  

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