Last weekend at Gibson my awesome coworker friend Nicole and I did a library mini golf after hours program for teens and tweens and it was a HIT.
We got the idea from this pin but couldn’t find any follow up post about holes or course design, so we decided to just wing it. A few weeks before we sat down and brainstormed a bunch of hole and component ideas and I walked around the library planning where the holes would go. We decided that space and time constraints meant we would just do 9 holes, rather than 18 (and if kids were really into it and had time they could play through twice to get 18 holes). A few days before, we gathered up the materials we would be using that weren’t library materials (books/book ends/trashcans/etc):
- hula hoops
- pool noodles
- red plastic cups
- paper shreddings (for “sand pit”)
- butcher paper (for grass, water features)
- book tape (we seriously used it for EVERYTHING)
- Putters (we borrowed putters from library staff. We asked a local mini golf course to borrow, but they couldn’t since it was Saturday- their busiest night. If you did it a different night you might have more luck with this)
- Ping pong balls (for safety and budget reasons, we used these instead of golf balls)
I assembled several box tunnels and covered them with butcher paper.
Our course had these on just one hole, but it would work well to have them scattered through out.
We also assembled a bunch of ramps using recycled cardboard and covering them with butcher paper and grass die cuts (then to make it a ramp, we just taped it to the ground and stuck a red cup underneath.
We also cut out a bunch of random die cuts (animals and plants) to use to decorate the holes and library (why there is a spider on the box above, ha).
Rather than a tee, participants knew where to start based on a green dot taped to the ground, that had a cone with the hole number and par nearby.
Par was determined by our department head and two teen volunteers who played the course as we (frantically) set it up in the hour between the library closing and the program starting. If you aren’t familiar, par is basically determined by taking the average of 3 players scores on the hole (although if there is a hole in one, it’s adjusted)
I had made a score card with rules prior, so once we knew par I quickly filled that in and printed it out. I found out later that most of the teens didn’t know how to score golf, but it wasn’t too hard to explain while they played. A lot didn’t want to score anyways.
Hole 1: ramp into a hula hoop, par 3
Hole 2: one long shot down an aisle, par 4
Hole 3: book tunnels and a curve (using Worldbooks), par 4
Hole 4: table tunnel to a double ramp, another table tunnel and a water feature, par 7
Hole 5: tube tunnels and a sand trap, par 6
Hole 6: a ramp into a curve guided by pool noodles and sand trap, par 4
Hole 7: 3 box tunnels (see above) with book baskets guiding into the first one, par 7
(sorry, no picture apparently!)
Hole 8: book ends and ramps, par 8
Hole 9: two ramps, a sandtrap, and a lego castle (made by another awesome coworker), par 3 (this might have been our easiest hole, I think there were several holes in one on it)
We had four teen volunteers helping with various tasks (decorating, finding par) before the program started, and then they all worked as “course maintenance” and basically made sure that things were working properly and that there weren’t issues (if they had wanted to play, that would have been fine too). Afterwards they helped with tear down and clean up.
We had had 5 groups of 5-6 kids play the course and about half finished in the 70 minutes they had to play. We also raffled off 3 sets of free mini golf games (from the aforementioned local putt putt place, they were happy to support us even though they couldn’t with putters) as a door prize.
Things I might do differently next time:
- Have teen volunteers (and maybe librarians) wear the same color to make them easier to identify if needed.
- MAYBE make the holes/course a little easier?
Really though, the teens had fun, we had fun, so I don’t think we would do a lot differently if we did it again. It went far better than we could have imagined (and the course looked FAR better than we could have imagined when we were brainstorming/assembling, haha).
Sorry this is SO LONG, I just wanted to be sure to cover everything I thought of, since there wasn’t much out there when we set out to do this. Please feel free to comment or email (firstname.lastname@example.org) with questions!