Wednesday, June 03, 2020

Definitions of minigolf

A look at names for the game of minigolf.

There are a number of different names for the game of minigolf. While there are some design standards for courses, most would be regarded as 'fantasy' courses where the end result is limited only by imagination, budgets and building regulations.

In the UK many people would refer to minigolf as crazy golf
In the UK many people would refer to minigolf as crazy golf. This is the sign at the Crazy Golf course at Fletchers Family Garden Centre in Eccleshall, Staffordshire

Here's a look at the common names for the game of putting:

Minigolf (also Mini Golf, Mini-Golf, Miniature Golf) – Minigolf is a catch-all name for the game and can be used to describe every type of course no matter its make-up or design.

Some Pitch & Putt and Par-3 Golf courses also describe themselves as Minigolf / Miniature Golf.

Adventure Golf Adventure Golf is a relatively new name for the game and mostly describes a course with theming such as pirates, jungles, dinosaurs and space.

Crazy Golf Crazy Golf is a name most commonly used in the UK. It is seldom, if ever, used overseas except in tourist spots popular with UK natives.

An equivalent name in the USA would be Goofy Golf.

Mini-putt – Mini-putt courses are similar in appearance to Putt-Putt courses however they have distinct standardised hole designs and are particular to Canada.

"Mini-putt" is the Québécois term for the game of minigolf, thanks largely to the popularity of the Quebec cable sports show 'Défi mini-putt' in the 1970s and 80s.

Pitch & Putt – Sometimes Pitch & Putt courses will use the name Miniature Golf or Minigolf.

Putt-PuttPutt-Putt is a trademark and denotes specific patented types of miniature golf courses. Most courses can be found in the USA, with some in South Africa, Australia and New Zealand.

Putt-Putt is sometimes incorrectly used as a catch-all / interchangeable name with Minigolf to describe a course or the game.

PuttingGrass Putting courses and Putting Greens are a type of minigolf and are often found at the seaside or in parks and gardens.

We have found 91 synonyms, types and variants of minigolf on our travels to date.

What do you call the game? Do let us know in the comments.

Number of holes

Most minigolf courses consist of either 9 or 18 holes. There are also a number of 12-hole courses. Some venues have two, three or four separate 9-hole or 12-hole courses to create 36-hole centres.

There is a 4-hole course in Halifax, Yorkshire and a number of courses classify themselves as 19-hole courses by including a Lucky Last Hole where a free game can be won.


There are also a number of pop-up minigolf courses created for retailtainment activity and promotions, sports tasters, marketing events, art installations and more.


As well as being played as a fun, leisure activity there is also an official competition side to the game.

Tournament play is more established in continental Europe, although the UK and USA have governing bodies and hold a number of competitions each year.

World Minigolf Sport Federation

The World Minigolf Sport Federation (WMF) is the governing body for minigolf and has 63 member nations. There are currently a further three countries awaiting recognition as full members.

  • There are 900 registered member clubs worldwide.
  • 38,000 people around the world play in a tournament each year.
  • 1,000 approved tournament courses.
  • 1,500+ competitions held each year.

Players competing in tournaments tend to use putters specially designed for the needs of minigolfers as well as minigolf balls made of rubber and designed with competition players in mind, allowing them to find the best hole-in-one shot.

Tournaments are held on four types of minigolf courses and the WMF has its own definitions:

FeltgolfFeltgolf courses (also known as Swedish Felt) are a type of course made of a felt covered wooden base consisting of 18 holes from a selection of 32 standardised designs.

Concrete Concrete courses (also known as Beton) are a type of course made of a concrete base with metal rails as borders. They consist of 18 standardised holes. Some courses have a mirror-image of certain designs.

MiniaturegolfMiniaturegolf courses (also known as Eternit) are a type of course made of a thin concrete material consisting of 18 holes from a selection of 28 standardised designs.

Minigolf Open Standard (MOS) – these are courses that do not fit into the above standard types and would be more recognisable to most players in the UK and USA. MOS courses include Adventure Golf courses, Crazy Golf layouts and Minigolf courses that take inspiration from regular golf. Each hole on a WMF-sanctioned MOS course can range from 3 to 40 metres in length.

Competitions are also held on the Stern Golf and Cobi Golf systems, although these are not well known outside of Germany.

You can see the many types, styles and names of 'Minigolf' we've found on our travels in our blog post 'Types and Variants of Miniature Golf visited and played on the Crazy World of Minigolf Tour'.

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