how to keep score in mini golf

How to Keep Score in Mini Golf: A Quick Guide

Mini golf is a fun game that can be enjoyed alone or in the company of family and friends. Even though it’s most often played to unwind and relax, there is a competitive and challenging element to it. 

Therefore, we always recommend to properly keep track of your scores, so that you can improve over time and see who performs the best in your group. You can also easily identify who the winner in your group is. 

Keeping score is extremely simple in mini golf, as all you need is a score sheet, a pen and the understanding of score keeping! Let’s jump right in!

  1. Keeping Score
  2. Who Keeps Score?
  3. Where to Keep Score?
  4. Frequently Asked Questions

1. Keeping Score in Mini Golf

The scorekeeping process in mini golf is extremely simple and straightforward, as there are only a few things that you’ll need to remember. Here they are:

  • Holes are played in numerical sequence 
  • Each players takes their first short before the next
  • Players whose ball is closest to the hole go next
  • Each putt/stoke counts as 1 point 
  • Balls that go off-course get a 1 point penalty 
  • All points are tallied after each hole
  • The player with the lowest overall score wins

Those are the basic rules of mini golf scorekeeping. However, keep in mind that most miniature golf courses have their own set rules that you may need to follow. When courses leave the scorekeeping and rules open, you’re free to decide how you and your group would like to keep track of everyone’s score. 

There are also scorekeeping techniques where a player finishes their entire turn per hole, before the next player’s turn. Another common scorekeeping rule is where players restart at the beginning of the course if the ball goes out of bounds. 

Therefore, you should take the above scorekeeping rules only as a guideline. Mini golf is a flexible game and its main intention should be to have fun. Don’t be afraid to play according to your own style and preferences if the course allows it. 

2. Who Keeps Score in Mini Golf?

There is no official scorekeeper in mini golf, which means that you are free to assign anyone in your group. The person who keeps track of the scores is usually rotated in sequence, so that everyone gets a few turns. 

If you have someone in the group who isn’t playing, you can also assign that role to him or her. While this is the most convenient option, it may not always be available. 

3. Where to Keep Score in Mini Golf?

Scores are tracked in a mini golf scorecard for each player and each hole. On the scorecard you’ll see that the columns are reserved for the player names and each row represents the holes on the course. 

Total18 (1st)21 (2nd)24 (3rd)26 (4th)

In the example above, you’ll see that each player’s scores are summed up in the bottom column, with Thomas finishing in 1st place (18 points), followed by Regina in 2nd place (21 points), Amanda in 3rd place (24 points) and Charles in 4th place (26 points). 

What Scorecard to Use?

Mini golf scorecards are typically available at the concession stand of the mini golf course you’re playing at and handed out to the group or the individual before each round. All you and/ro your group would have to do is fill in the scores after each hole played.

You can also bring your own scorecard that you can print from a template or design yourself. Additionally you can also download and use an app that lets you track mini golf scores. 

4. FAQs About Mini Golf Scorekeeping 

As there have been several questions on the topic of scorekeeping, we’ve decided to create a frequently asked questions section in order to address them. If you have any questions to add, please feel free to write to us so that we can answer them. 

Do I Need to Bring My Own Scorecards?

Most mini golf courses will hand out scorecards at the concession stand. Therefore, you aren’t required to bring your own, unless you prefer using your own template or an app that helps to keep track of your scores. 

Do I Need to Bring My Own Pen?

Upon handing out the scorecards, you’ll also receive a pen or a pencil for you to keep track of the scores. However, there’s no harm in bringing your own, just in case. 

Does It Count As A Stroke If I Accidentally Hit the Mini Golf Ball?

Rules may vary from course to course or depending on how you wish to play. Generally speaking, each stroke counts as one point, even if a player accidentally moves the ball with any part of their body or the putter. 

If you’re playing with kids or players who are slightly more inexperienced, you may want to be more lenient on this ruling. 

Can I Move the Ball if It’s Too Close to an Obstacle?

This also depends on the mini golf course that you’re playing at. Most course rules state that you may move the ball one putter head length away from the obstacle. Moving the ball away for a clearer putt does not incur an additional point on the scorecard. 

If you’re up for a challenge you can also play with stricter rules whereby players are not allowed to move the ball away from obstacles, unless they are willing to incur a 1 point penalty on the scorecard. 

What Happens When First and Second Place Tie in Points?

After all players have had their scores recorded on all holes, the points are tallied and the winner is announced. When the first and second place players score the same amount of points, they will typically go into a tie-breaker. 

There are a few ways tie breakers are handled, in order to determine a winner. Here are the best tie-breaker ideas for mini golf:

  • Putting Tie-Breaker – Players putt once and the player whose ball lands closer to the hole wins the tiebreaker.
  • Reversal Tie-Breaker – Players play holes in reverse starting from the last hole. The moment a player scores a lower score on any hole, he or she has won the tie breaker. 
  • Lowest Score Tie-Breaker – The player with the most hole-in-one scores or the lowest single hole scores wins the tie-breaker.