5 Factors: How Long Does Mini Golf Take?

how long does mini golf take

Meet Jake

Jake was a competitive golfer for over a decade dating back to the days of being the Captain of his high school golf team. He has played more than 200 courses across 32 different states in the US. Now semi-retired, Jake continues to golf 3-4 days a week with a current 2 handicap, gives golf lessons to his friends and family, and provides a wealth of knowledge to Golf Circuit from his competitive playing days. Jake combines practical expertise with technical knowledge to create golfing strategies and training techniques for both beginners and scratch golfers.

Mini golf is one of the few activities that we all can enjoy. You do not need a reason except that you want to enjoy a mildly challenging form of entertainment. How long does mini golf take to play?

That depends on these five variables. 

How Long Does the Ideal Mini-golf Round Take?

It takes three to four people about an hour and a half to play 18 holes of mini-golf.

That figure is based on each hole for four people taking about 5 minutes, ten at the most. If ten minutes is more likely, 3 hours is a more reasonable time estimate.

There is no set time, however, and every round is affected by a few factors that can impact overall playing time.

Setting up for a round of mini-golf does take a little time. Here is an instructional video that outlines the steps necessary to get started if you have never played mini-golf before.

How Many People Are Playing?

If it is a group of four, plan on about five to ten minutes for each hole. That means 18 holes should take about 90 minutes. A party of five will take a little longer, while two people out on a date will likely get through the course the fastest. 

The slowest parties tend to be a mix of old and young. Young children need more time to manage and learn to golf, while older folks tend to move slower. When the two get mixed, you get the best of both worlds in terms of time spent on a single hole.

So, if you are taking your young child and elderly father, plan on 18 holes taking longer than you and three friends of the same age.

How Skilled Are the Players?

Experienced players can fly through a course, even completing 18 holes in under an hour. Inexperienced or new players can take longer. Young children can take longer as well as they get used to a new game.

Most players, even adults, are not very good at the game because they rarely play. Even ardent golfers seldom have to hit a ball through the moving blades of a mini windmill. If your party is all newbies, playing through if you stick to the rules can take longer than being laxer.

Will You Have Stroke Limits?

By limiting strokes per hole, you avoid that player who cannot hit the broadside of a barn or always seems to hit their ball off the course. Ending strokes at six or seven gives everyone a reasonable chance of getting the ball in the hole without taking a ton of time.

When stroke limits are put into play, it may be helpful to know the basic putting techniques. Before you hit the course, check out this video to brush up on your skills. 

What Type of Mini-golf Course Is It?

Miniature golf courses come in all shapes and sizes. Some barely cover a few thousand feet and can be played much quicker than an elaborate course with multiple styles of holes and obstacles.

The type of course makes a big difference in the length of time it takes to navigate it. 

Many mini-golf courses have become highly interactive with their players. Customer interaction might include on-the-course promotional offers or running mini-tournaments of players of like skills.

Apart from playing putt-putt, any interaction will add to the time it takes to play through.

Is Drinking Involved?

Most courses are alcohol-free, but some offer a limited number of alcoholic drinks to promote a more social atmosphere.

Courses that offer alcohol tend to have slower rounds as the focus is more on the socializing aspect of the outing than on mastering the course. 

If drinking is allowed or if you plan on drinking during a round, pay attention to how long you are taking. Alcohol can make you want to socialize more.

According to a study conducted by the University of Chicago alcohol will also cause you to play slower or take longer as the booze affects your skills

What is The Difficulty Level?

Every course has its level of difficulty. Some courses are so easy it is surprising when you are finished.

Other courses are so complicated that every hole is a challenge that takes some time to figure out. Knowing the difficulty level beforehand can help you plan your time better.

The average course is a mixture so that players of all levels can remain engaged. A hard 18 holes can lose the interest of new players and children.

A too easy course can bore players of average to superior skills.

Most courses try to have a mix that runs in cycles: simple, intermediate, difficult, and then very difficult, with the 9th and 18 holes being the most challenging. That ensures that each round has a mixture of easy to difficult so that every player stays interested and focused.

Who is Playing in Front of You?

The groups in front of you can make around go quickly or slower. A party of four adults on a date will usually play faster than a party with one or two children.

If the party is one adult and three children, it can take quite a while to work through each hole. 

Sometimes, mini-golf are planned activities for church groups where the goal is fun and socializing.

The parties in those outings typically play through slower. Ideally, slower parties stand aside and let faster parties play through, but that is not always possible with children. 

What Time Are You Going?

A beautiful Friday evening in the summer will attract more golfers than nine in the morning on a Monday.

The time you plan on playing will affect how many people want to play, which will affect the time it takes to start playing and play through.

In some circumstances, busy nights can mean a wait of close to an hour, and the time spent waiting on golfers in front of you can be five or more minutes. A long wait means your average time to complete the course will run closer to two and a half hours.

So, How Long Does Mini Golf Take?

The length of time depends on every variable mentioned above. If you are pressed for time, there are ways to cut minutes off without affecting the quality of the game.

The key is to give some thought to your party, the course you are visiting, and why you are playing.

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