Out With the Windmills: Miniature Golf Goes Pro

Aug 26, 2014

Credit Alex Garcia / Creative Commons

Mini-golf was created for children but today's children are less and less interested in playing because of video games. Nintendo Wii for example, makes mini-golf video games. Now, that seems so wrong. You should go somewhere to play mini-golf. That's kind of the idea, or is it.

Today, we're going right to the heart of mini-golf which, when you look at it closely, contains essentially two irreconcilable belief systems. One of them says forget the clown heads and the little church with the mechanically opening and closing doors. Mini-golf is all about putting skills in deviously challenging terrain. The windmills, waterfalls, and volcanoes now compete with increasingly serious courses, designed for the competitive play, professional players, and sponsorships the sport seeks to attract. The courses are "tricked out" with tougher holes, complicated inclines, and unexpected undulations. While mini-golf remains a staple of summer family fun, the new players want to instill a dose of respect.

The other says mini-golf is a putting game with a colorful story line. I'm in that category. I love mini-golf! I remember playing mini-golf on summer weekend nights as a child, and later, with my own children on spectacular courses with waterfalls, windmills, and bridges. I love fishing my ball out the water trap, pacing my putt through the swinging chapel doors, and wishing for the elusive free game rewarded for a hole-in-one on the last hole. Bring on the toy volcanoes!


  • Bob Detweiler is the president of the United States Pro Mini-Golf Association. 
  • Ted Detweiler is working on a documentary on competitive mini-golf and works on the work of the association with his father, Bob Detweiler.
  • Pat Sheridan is an accountant and auditor by day. In his off-time, he is a competitive mini-golfer, and co-founder, with Mandy Ranslow, of the Putting Penguin, a web-based source for reviewing mini-golf courses and developers.
  • Steve LaMesa is the president of MGC Developers in East Hartford.
  • Nathan Adelman is the owner of Odetah Camping Resort