Miniature golf has come a long way since its first inception. Today a course must meet different criteria than in the past. Miniature golf players have far greater entertainment expectations when they visit miniature golf courses. The play on the course has to be interesting and challenging, without becoming overwhelming. It must entertain youngsters as well as senior citizens and everyone between.
The days of people flocking to low par, gimmicky courses are almost gone. The reasons are many. For one thing people are looking for “more bang for their buck” in terms of realism and challenge. Youngsters are far more aware of golf as a sport and miniature golf as a form of entertainment. A major reason for this has been the increasing exposure to golf on television and in the newspapers. This has been accompanied with the expansion of driving ranges and public golf courses, introduction of golf oriented video and arcade games and golf simulators. As a result, more people aware of the sport and have become interested in miniature golf as a recreational pastime. It provides camaraderie, socialization; light hearted entertainment and a perceived valuable use of both for disposable time and money.
With the ever- increasing coverage of golf on television and increased emphasis in scholastic golf, even elementary school children are playing miniature golf with the understanding of par. The advent of Tiger Wood, Anika Sorenstam, Michele Wie and others have generated celebrity interest in golf by many who never were interested before.
Years ago there was astrong interest in “gimmick” miniature golf. Today we see far more interest in “golf in miniature” with realistic fairways.challenging play and often a themed background. Where tourists comprise the major traffic, facilities often rely on heavily themed facilities in order to attracted business from their competitors. Local markets require more challenging play over theming to maintain repeat business.
Miniature golf offers a relaxing, time- consuming form of entertainment that blends well into the planning of family entertainment facilities in terms of extending times of stay. It is an ideal attraction for family units as it can involve a broad age span in a common entertainment venue. Miniature golf also lends itself to date- nights, as it doesn’t consume funds as rapidly as many other entertainment formats and provides an easygoing entertainment form.
Miniature golf also serves as an excellent format for senior citizen group activities. These can be in the form of informal outings or regularly scheduled league competition. It is also an excellent activity for church outings, school activities, day camp outings, birthday parties, corporate functions, charity events, team building exercises and other occasions. It is a form of entertainment that does not require athleticism or special skills. It can mean entirely different things to different guests.
(to be continued in next post)