It’s a big deal that World Miniature Golf Day
is on July 11. Mini golf, like full-sized golf,
was invented in Scotland at the famous
St. Andrew’s golf course. The first miniature course was a putting green set up for the wives of golfers to amuse themselves while their husbands played 18 holes. But this course, called the Ladies’ Putting Club, with its lush, rolling greens, bears no resemblance to the tacky miniature courses we have come to love with their rotating windmills, waterfalls, and all manner of gimmicks and obstacles.

The rightful inventor of these beloved mini-golf courses was Garnet Carter, owner of the Fairyland Inn hotel outside of Chattanooga, Tennessee. In the late 1920s, Carter created
a tiny course that matched his whimsical
hotel theme. He called it Tom Thumb Golf
and littered the course with fairyland statues, hollow logs, sewer pipes, and other fanciful obstacles. By 1930, 25,000 mini-golf courses had appeared across America, each one just as fanciful as Carter’s.