Whether you call it putt-putt golf, mini-golf or par 3 golf, miniature golf appeals to both children and adults. Around our region, we have indoor and outdoor courses — and even one combination indoor/outdoor course so you can still play even if it’s not sunny. Besides being fun for the entire family, easy and economical, this sport offers a wealth of opportunities for educating and socializing your children.
Dwight Bain, a nationally certified family counselor in Orlando, Fla., says that the mini-golf course can be used to teach patience, confidence, self-control, creativity and how to discover options. When the players in front of you putt slowly, etiquette requires you and your child to wait for them, thereby teaching patience. As your child’s eye/hand motor skills increase and her golfing improves, she gains confidence in her abilities. When a shot doesn’t work out the way she expected, she learns to practice self-control by not getting angry. You can show her how to creatively find new angles and approaches to the next shot and also discover new strategies for putting the ball into the hole.
Kids any age can golf
“For miniature golf, a child should be at least 5 years of age,” says Bain. “Because of their lack of eye/hand motor skill development, younger kids may get the concept, but won’t be able to effectively putt, making it a frustrating day for both parent and child.”
Bain and his 14-year-old son frequently play miniature golf together. They have been doing it since his son attended kindergarten, and it has forged a strong connection between them.
“He would pick his friends over lots of other activities with his dad, but not when it comes to putt-putt and the joy of beating me in a round,” says Bain.
Golf teaches math skills
Miniature golf can teach a child about the value of money as an exchange for an activity. You can mention how this activity gives more value for the dollar than, say, a carnival game that takes lots of money but doesn’t offer much in return. Money and math go hand in hand.
Let your child keep score and he can calculate how many strokes over or under par each player scores, and develop his addition skills when totaling scores at the end of the game.
For the tween or teen, you can explain different angles and approaches for the ball in the context of the basics of geometry.
Your kids can learn a lot about life on a mini-golf course, so why not give it a try?
Here are some local courses you’ll want to visit:
The Commons Mall
2027 S. Commons, Federal Way
1101 Supermall Way, Suite 1153, Auburn
Indoor/Outdoor 18-Hole Adventure Golf Course
Funtasia Family Fun Park
7212 220th S.W., Edmonds
Miniature golf at Interbay Golf Center
2501 15th Ave. W., Seattle
Rainbow Run Putting Course at Willows Run
10402 Willows Road N.E., Redmond
Miniature Golf at Family Fun Center
and Bullwinkle’s Restaurant
7300 Fun Center Way, Tukwila
Olson Mansion Miniature Golf
21401 244th Ave. S.E., Maple Valley
Kent Valley Miniature Golf
at the Kent Valley Ice Centre
6015 S. 240th St., Kent
Riverbend Miniature Golf
2020 W. Meeker St., Kent
The Putting Zoo
6326 114th Ave. Court E., Puyallup
10636 Sales Road, Tacoma
Heather Larson, a writer in Tacoma, frequently writes about parenting, health and travel. She’s also an avid miniature golfer.