Build a Backyard Mini Golf Course for Some Summer Family Fun

Today’s summer activity for kids, #5 in our 51 Summer Family Fun Activities series, is to build a “golf course” in your backyard. Obviously you won’t be 18 holes around your yard but you can build a mini golf course for the kids to have fun and to encourage to practice if they are taking golf lessons.

I got the idea from my husband who designed a “9-Hole Golf Course” when he was a kid in their yard in Iowa. Even as adults he and his brothers still go out and play a few rounds whenever we visit Grandma’s house. You start at the garage and shoot towards the well, then the next hole involves hitting the old oak tree, now shoot towards the road and get the ball in the drainage ditch, etc. Last summer when we were visiting Grandma, my husband introduced our kids, the next generation of backyard golfers, to the course and the rules of play. They had a blast! Although, his childhood house is in rural Iowa, you weren’t allowed to shoot off of the property. All holes are in the yard, so there is a lot of chipping and putting and very little long shots.

Now granted, depending on your kids age and how close your neighbor’s house it to your yard, you may want to scale this course down to be a mini golf course. That’s fine. We all need help putting. But, you don’t need a rural environment for your course. Use plastic cups or sand pails for the holes. Or use flower pots and designate each hole with gardening stakes you have in the garage. FamilyLiving.com has some great ideas for creating mini golf holes and even golf clubs for young kids.

You can also have the kids make flags for the holes out of old fabric – T-shirts, rags, etc. – and tape them to some stakes. If you want it to really look nice, cut triangular flags out of felt and staple them to a wooden dowel. Nesquik, the chocolate drink, has templates for mini golf score cards and hole flags that you can download for free.

Hint: garage sales are great places to find cheap, sturdy, weather-resistant obstacles. If you have some old putters, use them. Check your phone book, you can also pick up some used kids clubs at your local used sporting equipment stores.

Now you are ready to design your course. Build on the natural topography of your yard to increase difficulty and keep the game interesting. (It’s OK to have to shoot through the patio furniture, under the deck or chip over the tree stump to make it more fun.) If your kids are older and good at this game, make it hard. Putt uphill. Put the hole behind a tree. Put the hole halfway up the side of the ditch. Try not to put any holes near a neighbor’s window, too close to the street, or in the direct line of fire to Daddy’s car.

Have the kids practice all summer and then host a neighborhood tournament in August. Give prizes out to the closest to the cup, hole in one, ball still on the grass, etc.

Want to make this even harder, but more cool? This Old House gives you instructions on how to make your own mini golf course which is totally cool.

Want even more ideas like this for your family this summer. Read our 51 Ideas for Summer Family Fun Activities to get inspired.

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