Backyard mini golf courses are all about the obstacles, and the best way make your own obstacles is to get creative with common household objects.
First stop, the toy chest. Do you own any toy car racetracks? Sections of track make great ramps and jumps. How about large animal figurines or trucks? You can use them as obstacles where the object is to hit the ball through their legs or wheels. What about a set of Legos or wooden blocks? Build yourself a huge tower with a narrow opening for the ball to roll through, or a complex maze to navigate.
Have fun with ramps and jumps. Making a ramp is as easy as leaning a piece of plywood against a cinder block. You can set up two ramps face to face with a space in between, creating a jump. For added drama, place a shallow pan full of water in between them. Or attach a short run of PVC pipe to the top of each ramp and make a tunnel to safety.
Don't forget to mine the garage for ideas. Old tires make great obstacles, as do coils of garden hose. Blocks of wood can be strategically placed for difficult deflections. The folks at This Old House even came up with a nifty design for a loop-de-loop using the bottoms of two 5-gallon (19-liter) plastic buckets. Also check out their instructions for making a cool ramp with three holes leading in three different directions.
Last but not least, every respectable mini golf course needs brightly colored balls. To paint golf balls, you need to buy spray paint that is designed for plastic. For the best results, spray with a plastic paint primer first, then with your colors [source: Riker].
For lots more information about backyard family fun, check out the related HowStuffWorks links below.
Author's Note: How to Build a Backyard Mini Golf Course
As the father of three kids under the age of 8, I love writing articles like this. Now I know what we're going to do at the toddler's next birthday party! As parents, I think we mistakenly believe that our children's most memorable childhood moments will happen at expensive theme parks or vacations. We forget that kids often have the most fun when they can be free to use their creativity and simply play. I once took our very young kids to a real mini golf course and they hated it. It was too hard and they thought they were "bad" golfers. But I love the idea of giving the kids a bunch of harmless household objects and letting them build their own backyard version. I hope this article gave you some great playtime ideas, too.
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- Bandon, Alexandra. "How to Build a Miniature Golf Course." This Old House Television. (July 25, 2013) http://www.thisoldhouse.com/toh/how-to/intro/0,,20258510,00.html
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- Emory, Pamela. "The Ladies' Putting Club." USGA Museum. April 16, 2010. (July 25, 2013) http://www.usgamuseum.com/about_museum/news_events/news_article.aspx?newsid=111
- This Old House. How to Build a Miniature Golf Course. (July 25, 2013). http://www.thisoldhouse.com/toh/how-to/overview/0,,20258510,00.html
- Par-King Skill Golf. "History" (July 25, 2013) http://www.par-king.com/history.html
- Riker, Melissa. "Plastic Playhouse Paint Makeover." The Happier Homemaker. April 12, 2013. (July 25, 2013) http://www.thehappierhomemaker.com/2013/04/plastic-playhouse-paint-makeover.html
- University of California, Agriculture and Natural Resources. "The UC Guide to Healthy Lawns: Creeping bentgrass." (July 25, 2013) http://www.ipm.ucdavis.edu/TOOLS/TURF/TURFSPECIES/creepbent.html