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Putt Putt/Golf/Mini Golf, What’s the Difference?
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Putt Putt, the History

Don Clayton founded the game of Putt Putt because he loved his putting skills but was not a fan of the obstacle course usually associated with mini golf courses. This happened way back in 1954 and needless to say that it was a complete success. Mini golf is usually associated with some kind of obstacle course and this really did not appeal to Mr Clayton who wanted to show his skills without having to worry about frills. Putt putt courses make it possible to score a hole-in-one with a particularly skillful putt.

What is Putt Putt?

Technically speaking, putt putt is a type of golf, similar to miniature golf, but putt putt is far less traditional than mini golf. A miniature golf course tends to be more simplistic, whereas putt putt courses have obstacles like statues, pipes, small hills, and metal rails. Themes are also common for a putt-putt course.

Playing putt putt often require less skill, with most of the holes being designed to enable getting a ‘hole-in-one’. That being said, the main objective of any golf course is to get the ball in the hole in as few strokes as possible.

What is Mini Golf?

As its name suggests, mini golf is simply a miniaturized version of regular golf. In miniature golf courses, you can expect to find similar features such as holes, flags, water hazards, sand traps, and terrain obstacles. You play mini-golf in the same fashion as golf, with the only significant difference being that you use a putter for every stroke due to the close quarters of the game.

Are golf balls and mini golf balls the same? 

No. There are stark differences between golf balls and those used in a mini golf course or a putt-putt fun center. Normal golf balls have far more bounce in them and I’m not just talking about the high-test, competitive balls. Real golf involves distance, you want the ball to jump off the club face.

Golf putters in mini golf – especially those new to the game – tend to put too much oomph into their shots. If they were using ordinary golf balls, they’d be shooting chili peppers all over the place.

A round of golf would take hours and people would be chasing the bouncing ball everywhere. 

Putt-Putt vs mini golf, what is the difference?

The main difference between mini golf and putt putt lies in the way they are played and scored. In mini golf, all players take their first stroke, and then the person furthest from the hole takes their second putt, as in real golf. In putt putt, the first person must complete the hole before the second person can commence their turn. Putt putt also has a maximum par of two for each hole, whereas the par score for mini golf can range from two to six.

Putt putt courses are usually much easier, with the obstacles being limited to little blocks or rails, small slopes and pipes. Most of the holes are designed to be completed in one or two straight putts. This makes the game much faster, and great for those who are frustrated easily, but also less exciting.

Obstacles in modern mini golf courses, like those made by Mini Golf Creations, are hugely varied, with the holes in amongst terrain features like hills, water hazards, caves and sand traps. They are usually much more complex in design and theme which makes for an immersive experience. Becoming proficient in mini golf is all about learning to ‘play the course’ and use the elevation changes and obstacles to your advantage. This makes the game a little more skill focused and more strategy based which is great fun. Mini golf is also an excellent opportunity to improve your putting skills to put to use in real golf.

In short, Putt-Putt is a registered name that is made for players who are interested in the fewest strokes. Mini golf can be fun for the whole family and is more likely to feature obstacles and larger-than-life decorations.

Putt-Putt is fun, too. It’s just a little more serious version of fun than Prof. J. Quakenbush’s mini golf adventure and gem mining emporium. In 1986, Putt-Putt changed the rules to allow decorative animals and other features to liven the place up, but only as decorations, never on the regular golf course.

Putt-Putt does allow for elevation changes and very rarely, minor water hazards. Maybe there’s even a slight change in the speed of the greens, but mostly it’s just you and your ability to ricochet your ball off the piping. The standard is an 18-hole course – just like regular golf – but some facilities may have multiple Putt-Putt courses. 

In the 1990s, Putt-Putt recognized the opportunity to upsell and realized that most of their franchises were in perfect spots to add to their offerings. Therefore, Putt-Putt Fun Centers added arcades, bumper cars, go-karts and more. 

What is the difference between Putt-Putt and golf?

I mean aside from the distance, equipment, and skill level required?

Regular golf doesn’t come with a stroke limit. If you’re dropping Titleist after Titleist into a creek or off a ravine, you just keep hacking away until shame or lack of golf balls drives you from the game.

Putt-Putt comes with a stroke limit of five strokes per hole. Can’t get it in the hole in 5? Shove off and let somebody else have a go. In both cases, a round of golf is 18 holes and the goal is to have the lowest number of strokes.

We hope this blog has helped you to understand how mini golf and putt putt differ. Remember, whichever game you end up playing, the most important thing is being able to share your love of golf and have fun!