Much of the appeal of miniature golf is the casual atmosphere. No one, bar the occasional rich eccentric, cuts business deals on a fairway with felt carpeting and a loop-de-loop. Many people would not even think to call it a sport. More often than not, they simply see it as a way to enjoy time with friends and family.
Of course, this reputation does not necessarily stop anyone from wanting to get really good at it. For certain putters, mini-golf is still a competitive sport where keeping score is not optional. These types do not always grind to be the Tiger Woods of the game, but just want to get better scores than before. More importantly, they want to get better than anyone they bring along.
If you like the idea of getting more birdies, eagles, or even the rare hole-in-one, then the first step is mastering your swing. We will start there, with an in-depth and somewhat over-the-top guide to proper mini-golf putting.
It Ain’t Got That Swing
Regular golf courses are substantially different from those used in mini-golf. The latter requires minimal space, and freeways may average between 30 and 45 feet in length. The former is played on sprawling courses consuming dozens of acres, with hundreds of yards separating teeing points from their hole.
Many of golf’s most iconic aspects only exist because of the sheer size of the playing field. Consider why mini-golf does not require carts, enormous lakes, or shouting “Fore!” to alert other players that balls will soon rain from above like missiles. (Note: you can still shout “Fore!” during mini-golf if you want.)
With so much distance to cover on the golf course, players must start each hole by taking a big swing. Only when they are close to their destination do they switch up their approach to soft, controlled putts. Meanwhile, mini-golf is all about those soft, controlled putts. There is too little space for a dramatic whack of the ball. Every play is a shot at the goal, more so than in golf.
For these and other reasons, elitist types tend to dismiss mini-golf as a children’s game, unworthy of much effort. These people are fools, and they will be the easiest to destroy on the green. Landing a hole-in-one may be easier in mini-golf than on the gargantuan greens of golf. However, it still requires precision, lateral thinking, strategy, and, yes, effort. You also cannot win without respecting the game. Keep this in mind before each hole and your scores are bound to go down.
Getting a Grip
The golf club may be the only legal way to touch the ball, but it is not your one instrument for victory. It would be nothing without your hands and arms, and only by controlling these appendages can you use the club with any success. Before you can learn how to successfully drive a ball into a hole, you must first learn how to wield your tools.
Firstly, we must note that you should strive to keep both hands on the handle. If you feel the cool sting of metal on your palms, then you need to scoot them back until they reach rubber. Some people believe that keeping one hand on the end and another on the middle part of the club will give them better control. In our experience, it just makes the ball harder to hit at all, let alone in a beeline to the hole.
Secondly, you should try starting with the backhand position. This means keeping both hands close together, with your dominant hand in front of the other. This way of holding the club is the most common among mini-golf fans. Your arms alone will provide all the strength, with only limited torso movement. Moreover, it gives you more control over which direction the club falls during your swing.
Of course, there is no law or rule dictating that people can only use backhand. Many folks elect to knit their hands together instead, with their thumbs pressed side by side. If backhand is not working for you, then you can try this way. If neither feels quite right, you can test other configurations, or even switch positions based on the circumstances of the game. Remember, you are only wrong if you miss.
What’s Your Stance?
By now you should know what to do with your hands and arms. Next, you have to figure out what to do with your legs and feet as well. It is not nearly as much work as it sounds — at least you will not be running around like in other sports. Still, if beginners pay attention to their stance, they will quickly see a great deal of improvement.
Do you keep your feet pressed against each other? If so, then stop that. They should be at least a foot apart, lining up with your shoulders. Many players stand even wider, sometimes three feet apart. No matter how far apart you keep your feet, you should experience greater stability, which enables greater control, which is the whole goal.
The positioning of your feet will also affect the way you hit the ball. Standing closer to the ball means a wider swing, which may be better for distance but require more strength. You should strive to find the balance.
Lastly, try to keep the club end parallel to the ground. Hitting it too high will send the ball spiraling, and hitting from too low may send it bouncing off the course. If you swing and miss entirely, then do not get flustered. It happens to everyone, including the pros, and it beats swinging and hitting it the wrong way. Just be confident, take a deep breath, and focus on your putting.
Grips and Putters for Mini-Golf
For people who consider themselves casual putters, mini-golf can be enjoyable yet tricky. Understanding the need to control your swing, and figuring out the right grip and stance for putting, can substantially lower your scores.
Something else that can affect a player’s performance is the quality of their equipment. If you take mini-golf seriously enough to get your own gear, then you should look for the best of the best. Tackimac offers a diverse selection of clubs, putters, and other equipment for mini-golf. We are dedicated to outfitting players with everything they need. Check us out today!