Note: This guide was written before Command Blocks were a thing.
Miniature golf (or mini golf) is a fun, little mini game which can be played on your own or with many friends. The aim of the game is the same as the real life version, which is to get the “ball” in the hole in as little throws as possible. The player with the lowest score at the end will be declared the winner.
Miniature golf in minecraft is played by throwing blocks on paths of ice. The ice will make the blocks slide further than they would if they were thrown on normal blocks. You can throw any kind of block on the ice, though most people use snowballs as they most resemble real golf balls.
The aim is to get the block into the hole in as little throws as possible. Once a block has been thrown, the player then gets to throw from the spot the block landed on, as long as it’s within the limits of the area.
A golf course usually has 18 holes, though you can create any number of holes with any type of obstacle. The possibilites are pretty much endless.
A well designed golf course with a great decorational area around it will always be more fun to play and it gives the waiting players something to look at. So spend a little extra time to make your golf course look special, perhaps in a specific theme.
Each hole will usually be assigned a “par”, this is the number of throws you need to score 0 points. If you manage to get the block in the hole in 1 throw below par, you score a “birdie”, which gives you a score of -1.
If you manage to do it in 2 throws under par, you score an “eagle” or “double birdie”, which is -2 points.
3 throws under par is an “albatross” or “double eagle”, which is -3 points.
If you need one throw more than the par you score a “bogey”, which means you get a point. Two more throws is a “double bogey”, worth 2 points and three throws is a “triple bogey”, worth 3 points.
It’s sometimes possible to get the block in the hole in one throw, which is called an “ace” or “hole in one”. The scoring for this will be based on the par.
So if a course has a par of 3, scoring a hole in one would give you -2 points.
If a player needs more than 7 throws, the player will usually have to forfeit and leave the course with a score of +7, otherwise it could go on forever.
Anybody who has every played miniature golf in real life will probably know at least 10 different holes to build, though if you need a little inpiration, try one of the following.
Corners, Turns and Slopes
You can create various different shaped golf courses with sharp angles, long curves or slopes. Note that blocks cannot go up a slope, only down. So players will have to try to throw the blocks over the slopes. However, if a block is sliding over an ice block, pushing that ice block up with a piston will not stop the block from sliding, so it is possible to create a timed piston mechanism which will carry to block onto another platform.
You could add various holes on a top layer in which the block has been throw. It will then land on a layer below it, which will then either lead to the end hole or even more layers. By creating 3 of these holes, seperate tracks could be created, some more difficult than the others. So players will have to try to get their block in the more difficult to reach hole in order to get an advantage on the layer below.
Anybody who has ever played miniature golf will have most likely encountered the windmill challenge. For those of you who have no idea what I’m talking about, the windmill’s blades will rotate and constantly block off the whole through which the ball has to be shot. This means you need to time your shot (or by lucky) in order to get the golf ball into the hole.
This can easily be recreated in minecraft, though obviously without a rotating windmill. A simply system of sticky pistons with a redstone clock will allow you to block the only hole through which the ball can be thrown on a constant rythm.
The players will have to time their shot perfectly or their ball will be blocked by the piston.
Blocks will be carried by water, which makes water the perfect way to create shortcuts on your course. Players could then chose to go for the easier, but longer route or try to get the block into a water flow, which will carry the ball further but is often difficult to reach.
Boundaries, Bridges and Sand Banks
Water could be used to set boundaries around your course. If the block falls into the water, the player will have to start back at the beginning of the course. Small bridges could be created as the only passage across the water, which make it quite difficult to succeed on this course.
Sand (and any other block) can be used to stop the blocks from sliding across the ice, so players will have to aim their blocks well in order not to get stuck on those blocks.
Fire, Lava and Other Heat Sources
Fire and lava should never be used in your courses, as they will melt the ice. So will torches and many other heat and light sources. Though it is possible to prevent this by using mods or server plugins.