How to Maintain a Miniature Golf Course
Miniature golf courses can require little to major maintenance depending on how elaborate your course is. For example, a smaller basic course with no sculptures or water features wouldn’t require much maintenance. However, a larger course with water features, moving animatronics, and other effects would require a lot more work to maintain. The theme that you have chosen will have a great effect on this, as it depends on the features that you have. Some features that may need maintenance would be:
- Sculptures – Repainting, replacing if damaged.
- Animatronics – Regular maintenance, general repairs, quality assessments.
- Water features – Water source dependent, malfunctions, quality control.
- Lighting and sound – Repairs, electrical issues.
- Equipment – Wear and tear, replacement.
- Flooring – General wear, safety issues, damages.
Maintenance can be costly and should be greatly considered during the planning and developments stages to ensure maximum sustainability. It is an important factor to consider in terms of whether your miniature golf course is going to make a profit or not. Daily maintenance is usually relatively simple. It typically includes cleaning the course and equipment and for outdoor areas, clearing any debris that is littered around the course.
Maintaining Golf Course Flooring
An obvious area of concern when it comes to maintaining a miniature golf course is flooring. One of the main materials for golf flooring is AstroTurf. Flooring is one of the most used parts of any golfing area, meaning that it is one of the main things that will need replacing or repairing. If there are any tears or damage to your flooring, these need to be highlighted and fixed as quickly as possible as to avoid any unnecessary accidents on the property. Flooring can also be replaced every few years or so, depending on the condition, to make sure that it is the best possible quality. Dirt and other debris are often tracked on to the flooring of any outdoor course which means that it needs to be cleaned daily, or sometimes even multiple times a day. This is to ensure that accidents are minimised and that you are providing a safe and clean environment for your customers. Flooring can also be damaged by the golfing equipment being used, particularly in the tee- off area. There are special mats called ‘tee-off mats’ that can be used to minimise the damage to the flooring. It may also be a good idea to ban food and drink on your course to eliminate any spills and staining.
Animatronics are electronically engineered machines, or puppets, that are essentially replicas of different beings. Animatronics are often used in different attractions and even movies to portray a certain character or creature. For example, for the Jurassic Park movie, two life-sized Tyrannosaurus rex animatronics were built to mimic what a real-life dinosaur would look and act like. Animatronic animals, dinosaurs, and creatures are often used in theme parks and other leisure activities to provide a real-life element. This is an enticing quality that has expanded into the miniature golfing business. It is a great way to provide a more immersive experience and attract more customers by providing something that isn’t found in many places. The only downside to animatronics is cost and the fact that they need regular maintenance.
There are different companies that provide animatronics and the prices range depending on what you’re looking for. These companies use materials such as anti-rust steel frames, high- quality silicone and fireproof sponge. Whilst the materials vary from different companies, ultimately, they are made to last and to withstand outdoor weather conditions. Often, these products come with a warranty and companies offer maintenance services and sometimes packages. These complex machines will need maintenance and wear parts such as cylinders, costumes, and electronics need to be maintained. They often have a life expectancy on certain parts that need to be replaced when their time is up. To be aware of potential issues and keep these products running smoothly, it is best to inspect them once a week.
Maintaining Miniature Golf Course Equipment
Just like any special features on your course, the actual equipment itself needs to be maintained. There is more equipment used in miniature golf than you may think. Whilst some products such as scorecards may only be used once and then replaced, other equipment like golf balls, require maintenance and care. Some equipment that needs to be considered is:
- Scorecards/clipboards – Consumables.
- Putters – Replacement grips.
- Golf balls.
- Hole Flags.
It is possible to use reusable scorecards that wipe clean and can be used for longer without needing to be replaced. Though these don’t cost much, it saves money long-term. Putters and golf balls are essential items for any miniature golf course as without them, you can’t play the game. Poor quality or damaged putters and balls can affect the quality of the game being played and so it is important to look after them and make sure they are in good condition. This means replacing damaged items with new ones and ensuring high standard quality equipment. Ultimately, you should aim to make people want to return to and spread positivity about your course. Having good quality equipment will increase the likelihood of this happening.
Maintaining Lighting and Sound Equipment
Specific lighting and sound effects are going to be key features in displaying your chosen crazy golf theme. You may have speakers playing animal noises, background music, or even rerecorded speech. Without the element of sound, your theme may not seem as immersive as it intended to be. Lighting also plays a huge part in setting the scene with controlled lighting in indoor courses and even outdoor courses after dark. Effectively, without lighting, an outdoor mini-golf course wouldn’t even be able to stay open due to safety concerns about playing in the dark. These reasons highlight the importance of sound and lighting maintenance.
For indoor courses, lighting is a huge part of the overall experience, especially for those with backlight systems or fluorescent light themes. If the lighting stops working, so does your theme. Therefore, it is important to regularly check and maintain your lighting. Some lighting companies that specialise in indoor mini-golf come with a maintenance guarantee and they will service your lighting on request. For outdoor courses, you need to maintain lighting so that you don’t have to close when the sun goes down. It is an important safety measure to ensure that you have fully working good quality lighting. Sound, though less important than lighting, can bring life to your miniature golf course. If the quality of sound coming from your speakers starts to deteriorate, it may be time for you to repair or replace your sound equipment.
Maintaining Mini-golf Water Features
Water features are often seen in many different crazy golf themes. Whether these features are fountains, waterfalls, or even lakes and rivers, they often fit into most theme ideas. Many issues can arise due to unmaintained water features such as blocked pipes, dirty water, and harmful algae blooms in ponds. Harmful algae blooms are overgrowths of algae that are often found in ponds. Algae is not only harmful but also smells awful and looks very unattractive in comparison to clean features. There are water treatments available to prevent or fix this problem that should be considered. Any water features should be cleaned daily to prevent any dirty unappealing water and they should also be cleared of any debris that can block pipes and prevent the features doing what they are supposed to. It would also be a good idea to completely drain and clean your water feature to prevent any build-up that you may not be able to see. Finally, you could cover up your water features when they are not in use.
Miniature Golf Course Renovation
If a miniature golf course is left unmaintained for too long, it may be too late to save it. A lack of maintenance can cause many problems to keep adding up, until the cost of fixing everything just becomes too much. If this happens, it may be worth completely renovating your course and turning it into something new. If this is the case, some signs to look out for are:
- Broken or damaged equipment – Beyond repair.
- Damaged flooring – Safety concern.
- Dodgy sound or lighting.
- Lack of atmosphere.
- Dull surroundings, worn features.
- Multiple important maintenance issues within a small time period.
- More negative reviews than positive.
- A lack of customers.
- An increase in complaints.
These are just some of the reasons that you may need a complete renovation, but if the cost of repairs outweighs the margin of profit, then maybe it is the best option for you. The level of renovation is completely up to you. This could mean creating a completely new theme and starting the whole process from scratch to create a new brand for your business. Alternatively, you could keep your existing theme and adopt an ‘out with the old, in with the new’ approach. This could entail getting rid of all your existing equipment and features and purchasing new. Both ways could be beneficial in re-starting your business and bringing the
passion back into your miniature golf venture.