We all enjoy a round of mini golf from time to time! It’s a fun escape from the traditional golf experience, complete with wild obstacles, funky designs, and a laid-back atmosphere.
But while mini golf may seem like no more than a leisurely activity, the question begs:
Does mini golf help putting?
Although you’re unlikely to encounter any ramps or tunnels on your traditional golf green, there are some key skills involved in mini golf that correlate with putting prowess in the regular game.
So, with that said, this article will delve into the relationship between mini golf and putting, and provide some practical tips to help you cut strokes on the green!
Let’s jump in!
how mini golf helps putting
Putting is a skill that can make or break a round in golf, so it shouldn’t be overlooked in your practice routine!
The stats reveal as much as 41.3% of golf shots are taken with your putter, which makes honing your putting skills a fail-proof way to bring down scores and improve handicaps.
But aside from the practice greens, can mini golf be a viable option to improve putting?
If you’re a fan of the miniature game, the good news is many of the skills you use in mini golf are transferrable to putting on the big greens.
First off, mini golf presents a variety of putting challenges that require careful reading and planning of each stroke.
This is thanks to the intricate nature of mini golf course designs, which are filled with obstacles, slopes, and shortcuts that put the skills of any player to the test!
Successfully navigating the challenges of mini golf requires players to make frequent judgments in touch, pace, and direction, all of which are crucial components of good putting.
Whether you’re aiming to bank a putt through a narrow tunnel or strategically maneuver around a hazard, mini golf helps to hone your precision with the putter and develop your overall ability to read greens.
Moreover, the relentless putting nature of mini golf means you get to practice sinking consecutive putts which helps to enhance your distance perception and hand-eye coordination.
Mini golf greens also give you regular opportunities to practice visualizing the greens’ break, in other words, how far the ball deviates left or right of a straight line in response to contours in the green.
The break in greens is generally the main obstacle you’ll have to overcome when putting in regular golf, so it’s worth getting to grips with!
Another advantage of mini golf is that it provides a low-pressure practice environment where you can focus on the fundamentals of putting without feeling the pressures of a real golf course.
While playing mini golf, you can experiment with a wide range of putting shots, from tricky side-hill putts to long, sweeping curves, which will help boost your technique on your next round of golf.
The downsides to playing mini golf
While a game of mini golf can offer lots of improvement opportunities for putting, it’s also important to be aware of the potential negative effects the activity might have on your game.
For example, the surface conditions and equipment used in mini golf are often quite different from those featured on a regular golf course, and if you are not mindful of these differences, your performance with the putter can be interrupted.
The majority of mini golf greens are made of artificial turf or carpet, which is generally a faster surface than the real grass of traditional greens.
Additionally, the quality of the putters and golf balls you’re provided with in mini golf is likely to be lower than what you’re used to using in your normal round of golf. Mini golf putters can often be lighter and shorter than normal putters.
The risk is that these differences may require you to make changes to your putting technique when transitioning from mini golf to a regular golf course.
When you take your game to the green, you might find that your putts are unpredictable if you have become too comfortable with the conditions of mini golf.
Having said this, by being aware of these differences, you can make the necessary adjustments easily enough and perform well on a real course.
To avoid confusion, we suggest taking some practice putts on a proper green before you begin your round. Most golf courses have a practice green available for this purpose, allowing you to reset your technique and ensure that your performance is up to par!
Related article: How To Use A Practice Putting Green – 4 Drills And Tips To Try
4 mini golf putting tips to test out!
Now let’s review 4 tips and techniques which are transferrable between mini golf and golf which you can use to help you become an all-around better putter!
#1: Read the green
As we learn from mini golf, analyzing the green is an essential putting step to help you play the correct stroke and avoid making unnecessary extra putts.
Reading the green is necessary for determining your line of aim and how much pace to put on the ball.
The two main factors to observe when reading greens are:
- Speed of the green
Green speed is determined by the length of the turf, and how wet or dry the grass is.
The harder the green, meaning a shorter cut and drier grass, results in a faster ball roll and therefore requires a smaller putting stroke.
In contrast, the softer the green, i.e the longer and wetter the turf is, the slower the ball will roll which might mean a slightly longer stroke to make the hole.
Mini golf’s small-scale greens allow for easier detection of slopes and obstacles that may affect your putt. Unfortunately, regular golf greens can often require a little more attention to detail since subtle breaks in the grass can be harder to spot.
To help read the contours of the green, we recommend walking around the green from different angles before making your putt.
Stand in various places with your feet shoulder-width apart and pay attention to any changes in elevation as you approach the flag.
#2: Strategize your putt
Once you’ve analyzed the green, it’s time to strategize your putt.
Putting in both golf and mini golf is sadly rarely as straightforward as stroking the ball along a straight trajectory toward the hole.
This is due to the potential for contours or, in mini golf’s case, obstacles on the green that obstruct a clear path to the pin.
To succeed, you’ll need to devise a strategy for how to best play your putt by visualizing how your ball is going to react as it rolls along the green.
Be mindful of potential breaks in the green, for example, if there’s a slope on your route to the pin, you may need to compensate by aiming slightly into the incline so your ball meets the hole.
Form a strategy in your mind before playing the stroke, which could be picking a closer spot of turf to aim for and you’ll make smarter putts in fewer strokes!
#3: Consistent stroke size
Having a consistent putting stroke is a game-changer that will get you closer to that hole for increased chances at pars and birdies.
We’ll be honest, a lot of this comes down to experience. The top players develop that ‘feel’ that comes with time and practice, especially in terms of gauging the perfect stroke size in each scenario.
But there are some great ways you can improve the consistency of your putting stroke, including playing mini golf!
Mini golf courses provide an excellent environment for refining your stroke size as they focus solely on putting. The repetition in making consecutive putts helps improve your putting skills by establishing a sense of familiarity with the putter’s weight and how much pace to put on the golf ball.
Our favorite tip for consistent putts is to have your putting stroke resemble a pendulum motion, with a consistent speed and size throughout. Your follow through should be no longer than your takeaway when putting.
You should also adopt a narrow stance when putting which helps to make a controlled stroke using your bigger muscles, ie. your shoulders, as opposed to any wrist action which isn’t necessary.
One of the biggest putting mistakes we see amongst amateur golfers is getting too ‘handsy’ with putting strokes. This will cause you to pull your putts all over the place!
#4: Line of Aim
Mini golf often involves aiming at small targets, such as a tunnel that’s as small as a golf ball or a narrow shortcut.
This challenge can help enhance our aiming skills, which can come in handy during a regular game of golf.
In order to achieve consistent aim, it’s important to locate the sweet spot on your putter, which is the center point of its face.
If you’re finding that your putts are straying off target, this may be due to inconsistent contact.
Modern putters usually come with a line on the top that can improve aiming accuracy.
Some players like to crouch down on the greens behind their ball and get a sense of the line of aim they need to take. You might find you benefit from squaring up your club face to your target from this position, then resuming your putting setup.
A final tip to improve your line of aim is to envision a dustbin lid around the hole and aim to stop the ball from rolling outside of it. By mentally increasing the size of the hole, you can picture the correct line of aim more easily and achieve a two-putt (or less!) every time.
The short of it
Whether you’re a seasoned golfer or just starting out, playing mini golf can help you develop better touch, control, and accuracy on the greens.
Be mindful of the differences between the two games, and you’ll be able to use mini golf to help you become a better putter and ultimately save strokes!