Learning how to play miniature golf is a relatively simple task. Becoming proficient at the game takes some doing. The beginner that starts out trying to learn the game will be faced with challenges such as how hard to hit the ball, at what angle, and how to get through and around the many obstacles set up on a miniature golf course that make the game so enjoyable. The goal is the same as regular golf--to complete each hole in as few strokes as possible.
Difficulty: Moderately Easy
Study the layout of the hole before you hit a shot. Examine all of the angles, bumps, obstacles, and raised levels on the hole to determine your course of action.
Tee the ball up on the allotted space at the beginning of each hole. You will be given a colored ball and a putter when you pay the fee to play, and be directed to the first hole. There are designated places to put the ball for your first shot on each hole. Place the ball on one of them, and then prepare to hit it.
Hit the ball with a firm but smooth stroke. Lightly tapping the ball will not get you into position to get the ball in the hole anytime soon, and flailing away too hard at it could cause it to actually bolt the course if it caroms off at high speed. After you have looked over the layout, try to judge how hard to hit the ball to get it in the best position to have it roll as close to the hole as possible.
Be aware of the course rules. Miniature golf courses normally allow a player to move a ball that comes to rest against the walls of the hole or against an obstacle the length of the head of the putter away so as to give the player a legitimate chance to strike the ball cleanly on the next shot. Know when and where you can take advantage of such rules as you play. Most courses also allow a limit of five strokes per hole, so no matter how badly you play a particular hole, the worst you will score is a five.
Play the angles on the course. While many holes may be straight, many miniature golf course holes have angled holes that require a player to hit the ball off a wall in order to send it toward the hole. Read the angle, and don't be afraid to hit the ball with authority once you have decided where on the wall it needs to bounce off to carom toward the hole.
Utilize your sense of timing to make it through moving obstacles. The toughest and most memorable miniature golf holes are normally those that have an opening that the ball must pass through to get near the hole. These oftentimes are protected by moving objects that can block the entrance every few seconds, such as a windmill. Study the obstacle, and determine how long you have to hit the ball once the moving parts are clear from the opening. Hit the ball straight and hard once the moving parts have passed.
Be decisive on your short putts. The vast majority of short putts on a miniature golf course, once the player has gotten the ball near the hole, are straight putts with no break to them. This means that if you hit the ball squarely with the putter, it will go in the hole, as long as you hit it hard enough.
With practice, you will soon learn that the best stroke is to hit the ball hard enough to make it to the hole so that a loss of momentum will not cause it to veer away from the hole at the last second. Be careful not to hit the ball too hard, as this will make it pass over the hole without going in or make it bounce once it hits the rim of the hole.