Mini golf is a classic summertime activity that people of all ages enjoy, whether at outdoor adventure parks or indoor entertainment venues. But when trying to plan a mini golf outing, a common question arises – how long can we expect a typical mini golf game to take from start to finish? The time required to complete 18 casual holes can vary greatly depending on the course, number of players, ages, skill levels, weather conditions, and other factors. In this guide, we’ll break down the elements that impact pacing and provide estimates for average completion times. You’ll learn techniques for shortening duration as well, so you can better schedule your upcoming mini golf group outing or family activity. By the end, you’ll have a stronger grasp of the time commitment involved in tackling a mini golf course.

1. What is Mini Golf?

What is Mini Golf?

Mini golf, also known as miniature golf, is a popular recreational activity played on specially designed golf courses featuring small putting greens and various obstacles. Unlike traditional golf, mini golf is played with a putter on shorter courses typically with 18 or fewer holes. Players take turns putting the ball into each hole, keeping score as they progress through the course. Mini golf is a more accessible and affordable version of regular golf that can be enjoyed by players of all ages and skill levels.

2. Factors Affecting Completion Time

Factors Affecting Completion Time

Complexity of the course layout

The complexity of the mini golf course layout is a key factor in determining how long it will take to complete 18 holes. Courses with more elaborate obstacles like bridges, ramps, and water features will require more skill and take more time than basic flat courses with minimal obstacles. Intricate course designs with banked curves and undulations will also increase the length of time for beginners unfamiliar with judging the speed and trajectory needed on uneven lies.

Number of players

The number of players in a mini golf group affects timing in a few ways. More players mean more ball traffic and potential bottlenecks waiting to take shots. With just 2 players, one can putt while the other moves ahead to their own ball rather than waiting. The more players in a group, the more time spent waiting. Large groups may want to consider splitting into 2 or more groups to speed up pace of play.

Skill level of players

Unskilled mini golfers who lack experience will generally require more strokes and time to complete the course. Skillful putting and knowledge of how to read the greens and make bank shots around obstacles can shave many strokes off a player’s score. Beginners who struggle to make contact and keep the ball on the putting surface will have lengthier completion times as balls are retrieved from water hazards or Astroturf.

Age of players

Kids tend to take longer to play mini golf than more experienced adults. Younger children have less patience, take more practice swings, and have more difficulty with putting concepts like controlling swing strength and reading slopes. Adults who regularly play mini golf or real golf will move through the course faster with more accurate putting and less time taken per shot attempts.

Quality of clubs and balls

Substandard clubs with plastic heads and cheap balls that don’t travel smoothly will make the game more challenging, increasing completion time. Higher quality putters and regulation mini golf balls like those used on professional courses will allow players to complete holes faster and in fewer strokes.

Weather conditions

Inclement weather can negatively impact the time it takes to finish mini golf. Strong winds affect ball direction and heavy rain can lead to grip issues and delays. Hot sunny conditions can also slow pace as overheating golfers need more water and rest breaks. Comfortable mild weather is optimal for quick completion times.

3. Expected Completion Times for Different Types of Mini Golf

Expected Completion Times for Different Types of Mini Golf

Standard 18-hole course: 45-90 minutes

The most common length for mini golf courses is 18 holes, mimicking the number on a full-sized golf course. For experienced adult players, an average 18-hole mini golf course takes between 45-90 minutes to complete depending on the factors discussed earlier. Groups of 4-5 casual golfers playing a course with some challenging obstacles should expect to spend about 60-75 minutes finishing their round. With 6 or more novice players, completion times on an 18-hole layout could extend to over 90 minutes.

Shorter kids courses: 30-60 minutes

Family entertainment centers often have compact 9 or 12-hole mini golf courses tailored for younger children. These abbreviated layouts usually have simpler putting surfaces without extreme undulations or complicated water hazards. The shorter hole lengths and easier configurations allow 2 adults and 2-3 kids to wrap up a kids course in under an hour. Solo adult players could potentially finish in as little as 30 minutes on a very simple course.

Indoor courses: 30-60 minutes

Indoor mini golf facilities allow golfing during inclement weather and at night. Indoor courses have climate-controlled conditions and lighting, removing weather as a timing factor. But these courses also tend to use compact spaces and have more decorations and obstacles than outdoor courses. Tighter spaces lead to more congestion between groups and leave less room for error when putting around close obstacles. Games may start taking longer toward the 45-60 minute range as more players are added and late-night fatigue sets in.

4. How to Shorten Completion Time

How to Shorten Completion Time

Don’t spend too long at each hole

To help speed up pace of play, players should limit their time spent sizing up shots, taking practice swings, and analyzing miss-hits at each hole. Take a quick read of the green and obstacle layout before stepping up to putt. If you take more than 1 or 2 strokes, pick up your ball and keep the game moving rather than excessively trying to sink a hole. You can come back to problem holes if time allows after completing the full course.

Minimal talking, stay focused on hitting

Socializing and chit-chat certainly add to the fun atmosphere of mini golf with friends, but should be kept to a minimum to avoid elongated games. Well-timed celebrations on great shots or words of encouragement on misses are fine, but aim to spend as little time as possible between putts so players stay mentally focused. Quieter concentration leads to improved scoring efficiency.

Take shots alternately to save wait time

In larger groups, make sure players aren’t stuck waiting for multiple opponents to shoot before taking their turn. Have teammates hit shots in an alternating order that keeps everyone engaged rather than standing around. With alternating shots, the next player can move into position immediately after the previous player hits rather than waiting for 3-4 players to shoot.

Opt for a course with lower complexity

For quicker completion times, choose basic courses with minimal obstacles, straightaways, and flat tee boxes. Avoid intensely themed courses with decorations that intrude on playing surfaces and could block putts. Newer courses tend to be thoughtfully designed with seamless ball roll in mind for better pace. Also consider easier courses during crowded peak season when congestion will already slow things down.

FAQs about How Long Does Mini Golf Take

Q: How long does a typical 18-hole mini golf game take for adults?

A: For experienced adult players, a standard 18-hole mini golf course usually takes 45-90 minutes to complete. On average, groups of 4-5 casual golfers can expect to spend about 60-75 minutes finishing a round on a course with some moderate challenges. With 6 or more novice players unfamiliar with mini golf, completion times may extend beyond 90 minutes.

Q: If we are taking kids mini golfing, about how long should we plan to stay?

A: On a compact 9 or 12-hole kids course designed for younger children, plan for a total time of 30-60 minutes. Kids courses typically have simpler putting surfaces without extreme slopes or tricky obstacles, allowing faster completion. Two adults with 2-3 children should be able to wrap up a kid-friendly course in under an hour.

Q: How long does mini golf take at indoor facilities?

A: At indoor mini golf courses, you can expect a similar time frame of 30-60 minutes. Being climate-controlled and having lighting removes weather as a timing factor. However, indoor courses utilize tight spaces and have more decorative obstacles. This can lead to some congestion between groups that may lengthen play closer to 60 minutes as more players are added.

Q: What factors make some mini golf courses take longer to complete than others?

A: Complexity of the layout is a key factor, with courses containing more elaborate obstacles, undulations, and decorative features taking more time. The number of players in a group and their skill levels also have an impact, with large groups of unskilled golfers requiring the most time. Kids, beginners, low quality equipment, and bad weather can all potentially increase mini golf completion times as well.

Q: What are some ways groups can try to speed up how long a game of mini golf takes?

A: Strategies include taking shots alternately rather than waiting for multiple players, minimal talking/socializing to stay focused, not overanalyzing every hole but keeping the game moving, and choosing basic courses with fewer obstacles. Making smart decisions and staying organized as a group provides the best chance for quicker completion times.

Q: If we book a mini golf party package, how long should we book the course for?

A: For a mid-sized group of 10-20 people of varying ages and skill levels, booking a party package for 2 hours is usually sufficient. This allows enough time for everyone to play at a comfortable pace while still fitting in food and drinks. For very large groups or if most players are inexperienced, booking for 2.5 hours may be safer to ensure you don’t feel rushed.

Final Thoughts

Mini golf is meant to be a fun, low-stress activity, but keeping pace of play moving is still important for maximizing enjoyment. With a standard 18-hole course, plan for a completion time window of 45-90 minutes under typical conditions. Use strategies like taking alternating shots, minimal distractions, and choosing lower-complexity courses to narrow that range on the quicker side. Kids’ courses or indoor facilities may only require 30-60 minutes in many cases. No matter what format you choose, proper planning and organization as a group will help ensure you can make the most of your mini golf experience. Now that you know what to expect time-wise, you can head to your local mini golf destination with confidence for an afternoon or evening of family bonding and friendly competition.

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