Pretty much everyone has dreamed of building a mini golf course in their own backyard. But if you've got DIY skills and the will to do it, you can actually make this happen even in a small yard area. With a few tools and supplies, you have what you need to build a mini golf course in your backyard.
Consider Your Space
Unless you have an uncommonly large outdoor area, you might not have the space for a full 18 holes of golf. However, you can build a few holes even if you have a small space to work with.
Before you start to design any individual holes, determine how much space you have to devote to your overall mini golf course, also known as a putt-putt course. This way, you can start to decide how much of a course you can build, what features it will have, and how it will look in the end.
A standard-size mini golf course comprised of 18 holes takes 20,000 to 22,000 square feet of space, on average. If you use space economically, it can take as little as 9,000 square feet for a mini golf course of 18 holes.
But you can build your mini golf course with fewer holes and design small holes to fit the space you have, if need be. The beauty of doing it yourself is that you can create something to perfectly suit your backyard. Even if you only have one hole, you can have a mini golf course of your own, so don't let size stop you.
Mini Golf Cost
Building a mini golf course is going to take more than landscaping and hard labor out under the sun. You will also need to buy specific materials and make certain big changes to your outdoor area in order to build a functioning mini golf course.
Don't forget to factor in all the materials you're going to need to make this project happen, such as putting green material. This stuff costs between $15 to $25 per square foot, on average.
You will also need wood, PVC pipe fittings, and various odds and ends to build obstacles for the holes. Think about the mini golf courses you’ve been to in the past, and you’ll start to get an idea of all the little extras and embellishments you’re going to need to complete your course.
Don't forget the stuff like lighting, plants and of course, the golf equipment itself. You want to have all these expenses covered as well, or your course is going to feel incomplete. Balls, clubs, and lights are necessary for your course to be usable, while plants add the decorative effects you expect to see in a mini golf course.
How to Build a Mini Golf Hole
What does it actually take to build a golf hole? You will need some standard tools, such as a power saw and a power drill, along with wood, felt to cover the holes, wood glue, and wood tacks.
You need PVC pipe fittings for each of the holes, something that even commercial mini golf courses might use because these items work so well for this purpose. And of course, you’ll need time and some elbow grease. But if you have all this stuff, you can put it all together to create a great mini golf course.
Step 1 - Design the Hole
Visualize the hole first. This is very important, obviously. You need to know exactly where the green will be and where the hole will be. Each hole should be several feet long.
Step 2 - Build the Putting Green
Start with a sheet of MDF, an affordable wood composite material that is sold in home stores. Cut the green to the shape you want. This will serve as the hole, so think about the shape and size you want.
Once the hole shape is cut out, next cut wood balusters to match the perimeter of the hole. Glue the balusters all along every edge with wood glue. You will likely need a miter saw to make all the cuts to get the pieces to fit the perimeter well. The balusters can be reinforced with small wood nails if you want to further secure them in place.
Step 3 - Repeat
Once you cut all the wood balusters, cut a second set to the exact same size. This is not a wasted step at all and will make sense later in the project. Set this extra set of balusters aside and continue building your putt putt hole.
Step 4 - Place the Hole of the Hole
Cut a four-inch hole wherever you want your hole to be. This is where the golf ball will go, and this is an essential element of the design, of course.
Step 5 - Cover the Green
Flip the hole over and spray it with glue. Cover it with felt, pulling tightly. Pull the felt over the edges and over the bottom of the balusters. Use glue and wood tacks or staples to hold the felt in place.
Green is a traditional felt color for mini golf, of course, but you can use any color of felt that you like. When you’re done, the entire top and sides of the hole should be covered, including the hole. Cut wedge-shaped pieces out of the felt in order to fold it back over the hole and cover the inner rim of the hole with the felt, too.
Step 6 - Finish the Hole
Flip the hole so that it’s right side up, with the green felt facing up. Cut a four-inch PVC pipe fitting down to about 2 inches tall and drop it down into the hole to complete the golf hole. You can also glue this into place to secure it into its position.
Step 7 - Add the Rails
Take the second set of balusters you cut earlier and glue them in place along the edges of the top of the mini golf hole to create the rails for the hole. This will keep the balls on the hole instead of bouncing all over your mini golf course, and it will give the hole a nice, finished look.
You can even paint or stain this set of balusters if you want to really add some “oomph” to your mini golf course. Add small wood nails if you want to make sure the balusters are well-secured.
Step 8 - Finish the Hole
You can now add little obstacles and extras to the hole. Glue on pieces of artificial turf to create a rough area, add pipes to make little obstacles or create a shortcut to putt through. You can use rocks, plastic toys, or anything that comes to mind.
Use glue and nails to secure these obstacles in position. Have some fun with it because, above all, mini golf is supposed to be fun and even a little silly, at times. Get creative and play around to see what you come up with.
Building a Mini Golf Course in Your Backyard
Once you know how to build a hole, you can start playing around with different hole designs. Consider building ramps, right angles, and other features. Look at pictures of public mini golf courses to get ideas and inspiration.
You can even add extra holes and use PVC pipes to build tunnels. Your course is limited only by your imagination and the space you have to work with.
Don't forget about all the extras. Once you have all the holes designed and placed in the backyard, you might want to dress the course up a little. You will certainly want lighting.
You can add ground lighting, bury posts to put lamps on top or even string up overhead lights. The course needs to be lit well enough that you can easily see your way around to walk on the course at night. The course should be well light enough even to play a game at night, if you want.
You might also want to add landscaping, rock footpaths, and other embellishments. The more you dress up the mini golf course, the more finished it's going to look.
Gravel and many landscaping plants are very inexpensive, so with a little hard work, you can create all sorts of interesting landscaped areas to really make your backyard mini golf course pop.
A few rocks, some grass plants or flowers, and maybe even a small water feature is not difficult or expensive to pull off, and it adds a lot to the course.
You might also want a small bench or two or some other little extra areas on the course. Consider all of this when you’re thinking bout your course and planning all the holes.
With a good design, a few materials, and a lot of work, anyone can build a mini golf course that will be fun to play and nice to look at, too. Put all your DIY skills to use and have fun with this project.
Golf Course FAQ
How Long Does It Take To Build a Mini Golf Course?
How much time can you expect to spend on building your course? That depends on how long it takes you to build each hole and add any decorative and practical items around the course, such as lighting and landscaping.
The size of the space matters, of course, along with the number of holes you want to have. The bigger the course and the more embellishments you add, the longer it will take.
If it takes you a couple of hours to build each hole and 20 minutes to add decoration and lighting around each of the holes, you can assume that building the entire course will take this amount of time for each one of the holes you're going to build, plus some extra time for finishing touches and odds and ends.
How Do You Determine Par for a Mini Golf Course?
Par is a common golfing term, and it's an important one. Par is a way to score the course and each hole of the course. If you've ever played golf or mini golf, you know that you're supposed to count the number of hits you perform on the ball to get it to the hole, starting from the first strike off the tee box.
You count this first hit as a stroke and then add another stroke for every time you swing the club and connect to the ball, even if the ball goes only a short distance. This is how the score is kept in golf.
Par is the average number of strokes it takes for a good player to go from the tee to the hole. A par three hole is the shortest and easiest. Par five holes are typically the longest and most challenging holes on the course. But how do you determine what the par is for your mini golf holes so that people can keep score?
The best way to determine the par for each of your mini golf holes is to get a ball and try out the holes. See how many strokes it takes you to get the ball to each hole. Do this a few times, and you'll get an idea of how you should score the hole.
You can even use wooden stakes and number signs, available at any home improvement store, to show the par of each hole. You can use the same trick to number your holes.
This makes it much easier to keep score and allows players to properly keep score by determining whether they are over or under par for the course, which is the number you would get as a score if you hit par on each hole.
How Do You Winterize a Backyard Mini Golf Course?
Unless you have a particularly harsh climate, the mini golf course should be okay through the winter. You'll probably want to give it a good pressure washing after winter is over, however. If you have any flags on the course, remove those and store them until winter is over.
When heavy snow and water are coming, you can cover the holes with plastic to protect them from moisture, if you want.
5 Tips for Using Medium Density Fiberboard Outside
An Adhesive for Every Purpose: Choose the Right One the First Time
Do It Yourself Landscaping Ideas
The Fundamentals of Using an Electric Miter Saw