Big-Name Resorts Installing Tiny Golf Courses

Natural-grass putting courses are a ton of fun, but you can't really call them "new."

The most famous example -- the Himalayas putting course next to The Old Course at St. Andrews -- has been around since 1867 and dozens more have existed for years in the UK, Ireland, and North America.

What is new, however, is the recent addition of these courses by several, big-name golf resorts.

For example, this past summer North Carolina's Pinehurst Resort unveiled Thistle Dhu, an 18-hole natural grass putting course located next to its practice area.

New Jersey's Seaview Resort did something similar; its nine holer is called the Turtle Course.

Even the mighty Bandon Dunes Golf Resort is getting into the act. It plans to open a huge Tom Doak/Jim Urbina-designed putting course (with a minimum of 18 holes) this fall. The course is tentatively being called, "Punchbowl."

This is a great trend, in my opinion.

These courses, which often mimic the topography of their bigger siblings, usually cost nothing (or next to nothing) to play, and the ways to have fun on them -- and who can have fun -- is virtually limitless.

You can use them as warm up holes, as bet settlers; as après golf wind downs, for family bonding, couples competitions, or simply to play a little golf when you don't have the time or desire to swing the big sticks.

Whenever possible, my favorite way to play them is with drink-in-hand and flip-flops on feet.

How about you? Have you ever played a natural-grass putting course? Would you like to see more of them built at the places you visit?

Please share your thoughts or read what others are saying below.

Craig Better is one of the founding editors of Golf Vacation Insider. In addition to traveling to 15 foreign countries, he has twice traveled across America to play golf courses in all 50 United States. Prior to joining Golf Vacation Insider, Craig was a freelance writer who contributed to GOLF Magazine, Travel + Leisure Golf, Maxim Magazine, USAToday.com, and co-authored Zagat Survey’s book, America’s Top Golf Courses.
29 Comments
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Ulric

Have once read that Jack Nicklaus had built putting courses somewhere in the US, but have never seen pictures oth the courses or read any review by golf journalists. You know better?
Thxs

Gretchen

Having written a miniature golf book, "Amazing Strokes," it was Arnold Palmer (not Jack Nicklaus) was involved in building miniature golf courses in the U.S. and abroad. Most are known by the windmills and other novelty trappings usually associated with mini-golf. Most no longer bear the Palmer name, and many have gone by the wayside. There is one I'm aware of in Auburn, NY. Miniature golf has evolved both on traditional courses and on putting courses (golf courses) to mimic the challenges usually found on the greens with more natural obstacles to navigate.

Karen and Clark

Have played on an 18 hole putting course in Clarkston, Was. Is no longer there but we thoroughly enjoyed it every day we camped nearby.
Now live in the east valley area from Phoenix. Have searched for one and have had no luck. Will keep searching.

Stan

That''s an absolutely great idea to attract not only golfers, but their family too. Imagine a putting only course that consist of the 18 most famous golf holes in the world from all top courses, but scaled 1:10 or 1:15 depending on the available area. We've designed a similar course in a way that requires minimal area and provides maximum putting length and pleasure. Have a look at www [dot] miniaturegolfplans [dot] com or make an inquiry to backyakrdminigolf [at] yahoo [dot] com and I'll be happy to send you the layout

Gary Riddle

Re: the Pinehurst puttting course, is it only for those who've played a round at the resort or staying on property? I only ask as I visit my in-laws there often and my young boys would love to play the putting course. Thanks in advance for any/all feedback.

Gretchen

Having written a book, "Amazing Strokes" in 2018, there is a chapter on putting courses on golf courses. Thistle Dhu does have a putting course, and it was being relocated last year closer to the clubhouse. My understanding is you are supposed to be a resort guest to play the course -- but it never hurts to ask.

Gary Randall

keep building them, would love to play putting course with my wife of 40 years as her back will not allow her to swing the big clubs after 4 back surgeries. the east valley near Phoenix, az. is where i hang my hat.

JonD.

My sons and I have enjoyed the grass putting courses at World Woods, World Golf Hall of Fame and Angel Park. I haven't been in a number of years, but we also used to have fun at several bermuda grass putting courses in Kill Devil Hills and Nags Head, NC, along the Outer Banks.

D. Leslie

My wife and I had a great time playing the putting course at St. Andrews. Wasn't this the original women's course?

Jim Mackrell

I would seriously recommend the putting green at Les Bordes in the Loire Valley, France. The 18 hole putting green surrounds a large broze statue in the center .

Russ

Great idea, especially when you have the kids along on a golf vacation.

Micki Sander

Fantabulous for famiiles and friendship. If anyone knows of one in North Texas or the Dallas, Tx area please let me know. Getting acquainted with kids, grandkids and just meeting new golfers would be a very special incentive for a company to make this happen.

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Big-Name Resorts Installing Tiny Golf Courses
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