The History of Mini-Golf

By September 26, 2016Resources
Mini-Golf Games

Many people play golf, a long and tough-to-master game that can lead to as much frustration as joy.

Many, many more people play mini-golf, a fun game that is not tough to master, provides far more fun than frustration and features cool things like windmills and treehouses along the course.

The game has reached such high popularity in the United States and Europe that almost every town has a course. And now people can rent their own courses from party rental companies such as Fun Crew USA, which offers a 9-Hole Portable Golf Course rental. The course features obstacles that make it very difficult to get that elusive hole in one.

The Fun Crew USA site says the rental proves especially popular for big corporate parties, fundraisers and other large events where people enjoy the element of competition.

The First Mini-Golf Course

So who took the idea of golf and made it into a fun game enjoyable by people of all ages?

A man trying to get people to come to his hotel, of course.

Most people trace the first mini-golf course to James Barber of North Carolina, who had a mini-golf course built on his estate called the Thistle Du.

Then, in 1922, Thomas McCulloch Fairborn, an Englishman, had a course built on his estate in Mexico. He used crushed cottonseed hulls mixed with oil and rolled onto a sand foundation for the course surface.

However, Garnet Carter of Tennessee generally gets the credit for the first public mini-golf course, which he called Tom Thumb Golf. He built the course on Lookout Mountain in Tennessee to draw customers to his hotel. His wife, Frieda Carter, did much of the design of the course, which had a fairyland theme.

By 1930, Carter had created the Fariyland Manufacturing Company and licensed 3,000 of his Tom Thumb courses all over the country

The Popularity of Mini-Golf Games

The ability to rent a portable course offers proof enough of the popularity of the game.

And the popularity also is high Europe. Most trace the origins of mini-golf in Europe to German Frederick Schroder, who constructed a course on his estate in 1926 after seeing courses on a trip to the United States.

The Swedish developed an appreciation of the game, forming the first sporting association for mini-golf back in 1937. There has been a national championship for mini-golf in Sweden since 1939. The international governing body for the sport – the World Minigolf Sport Federation – has its home in Goteborg, Sweden.

So playing mini-golf now connects players to a long and rich history of a fun sport that remains popular both in the United States and Europe.

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