Mini Golf Tips
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Mini Golf Tips

By Fossil

My mini-golf courses in RCT2 usually resulted in a flood of "I want to get off..." messages. This rarely happened to me in RCT1. Some examination was needed.

To cut to the chase quickly, here's how to build a Mini Golf Course that avoids the problem and will make your peeps jump.

  • Holes "D" and "E" take longer to play than the other holes. If you use them, one of them should be the first hole.
  • I recommend a course length of 8 to 12 holes.
  • It's okay to repeat hole types, and omit hole types. One of the best courses is also the simplest, repeatedly using holes A, B, and C, omitting D and E entirely. A course starting with D or E, and using A, B, and C for all of the following holes is also good.
  • Avoid very long walks between holes.

Basically, that's all you need to know. The rest of the article describes how I developed these rules.

Like every "ride" in the game, there is a "ride time" associated with Mini Golf. If the ride is too long, the riders start losing their enthusiasm. If the ride is extremely long the riders may finish with an attitude poorer than at the beginning. The challenge is to find the "sweet spot" - the length that provides sufficient excitement to improve attitude, yet not so long that they "want to get off."

I conceived of this article because I noticed that even my very short courses had problems. The first order of business is to determine the cause. My first course design was a simple 5 x 6 rectangle. I built courses from zero to five holes. The land around the course did not have trees or other scenery. Here are the somewhat surprising results:

Course Number Number of holes Holes used Course length People on ride Ex/In/Na
0 0 - 193 ft. 2 0.21/0.45/0.00
1 1 A 252 ft. 4 1.80/0.90/0.00
2 2 A,B 364 ft. 4 1.91/0.90/0.00
3 3 A,B,C 423 ft. 5 2.01/0.90/0.00
4 4 A,B,C,D 593 ft. 20 2.13/0.90/0.00
5 5 A,B,C,D,A 603 ft. 20 2.23/0.90/0.00

There are some oddities here. The course length more than triples by adding five holes. The courses all have an identical 5 x 6 rectangular footprint. Course length is used as a proxy for ride time, since ride time is not recorded for this attraction. Somewhat like other gentle rides, the longer the ride, the higher the excitement rating.

Course 1 has a long walk to the exit. A player could play the hole more quickly than walk to the exit, which explains how the course could hold four players - two were walking to the exit..

Course 4 adds Hole "D", the right turn hole. It results in 20 players on the course. This is the source of problems.

Think about Course 4, illustrated here. Twenty people on a four-hole course. It looks like about seventeen of them are stacked up on hole "D", which is the right-turn hole. This is a disaster. Hole "D" takes considerably longer to play than holes A,B, or C, so a queue forms at this hole, and it keeps growing until the ride is at its maximum number of players, 20.

Six players want to get off the course. A month later, four of them are still on the course, making the ride over ten minutes long. Not surprisingly, they all had an attitude adjustment - straight down.

The fact that they were stuck at this hole for so long indicates that once a queue forms at the hole, players do not pass through "first-in-first-out." I'm not sure what ordering sequence is used. Whatever it is, some players are stuck for extended periods.

Now the question becomes, is there any way to salvage hole "D." Let's build a one-hole course with it, and see what happens.

The hole has a maximum of three players on the course at any time. This occurs when one player has finished the hole and is walking towards the exit, one player is walking towards the hole, and one player is waiting at the entrance. In examining the players' behavior, I had my "ah-ha" moment. A player does not enter the course until the first hole is cleared. This means that if hole "D" is the first hole on the course, then we should be all right, since a queue will never form at the hole.

Success! The course on the left, Mini Golf 7, which is a two-hole course (D, A), has three players. Mini Golf 8, also two holes, but holes ordered (A, D) has twenty players with the same logjam as above.

Hole "E" is the mirror image of hole "D". In my tests these two performed exactly the same way.

There is only one Mini Golf design delivered with the game, "Garden Golf." It suffers from the exact same problem as Mini Golf 8. It also has a queue line that is too long. The result is a flood of "I've been waiting..." messages followed by "I want to get off" messages. It is not an asset to any park.

Course Length

Now let's try to find the best course length.

Number of holes Holes used Course length People on ride Ex/In/Na Jump %
6 A,B,C,A,B,C 757 ft. 7 2.38/0.90/0.00 30%
7 D,A,B,C,A,B,C 935 ft. 6 2.44/0.90/0.00 50%
8 A,B,C,A,B,C,A,B 954 ft. 9 2.67/0.90/0.00 80%
9 A,B,C,A,B,C,A,B,C 928 ft. 10 2.54/0.90/0.00 70%
10 A,B,C,A,B,C,A,B,C,A 1,151 ft. 11 2.62/0.90/0.00 80%
12 B,C,A,B,C,A,B,C,A,B,C,A 1,378 ft. 11 2.75/0.90/0.00 60%
14 A,B,C,A,B,C,A,B,C,A,B,C,A,B 1,578 ft. 16 2.87/0.90/0.00 30%

The "jump percentage" was calculated by observing 10 consecutive players as they exited the course to observe if they jumped. The park was with "peeps prefer gentle rides" so Mini Golf is in the intensity preference range of the peeps, giving the best chance at jumping peeps.

While not enough peeps were observed for statistical significance, trends emerged. A graph of the "jump index" would show almost a bell-shaped curve. This, I believe, is a better measure for Mini Golf than the excitement rating. The very short courses lack excitement. The long courses have an excessive ride time. It's possible that a shorter course that is heavily themed would hold appeal, but I did not test this - I was looking for the best "raw" courses.

The 7 hole course had only six players. This is because the first hole used was hole D. This lowers the course "throughput." The 9 hole course had a somewhat lower ex rating than expected. It was located at the edge of the park. The course with 8 holes had a somewhat higher ex than expected. It was centrally located in the test park.

The 12 hole course had a long walk to the first hole, reducing the maximum number of players on the course. The 14 hole course had a long walk from the last hole to the exit, resulting in an extra player on the course.

Adding scenery can add a full excitement point to a Mini Golf course. Scenery adjacent to the track is helpful. The real joys of Mini Golf are that courses are easy to build (once you know how) and fun to theme.

After performing these tests, I created a park with "regular" peeps and filled it with Mini Golf courses. Many of these peeps have intensity preferences higher than Mini Golf's 0.90. My impression is that most of these peeps also enjoy a good game of Mini Golf.

Obviously I observed a lot of Mini Golf in preparation of this article. To answer the most obvious question - yes, the players occasionally shoot holes-in-one. Once in a while I saw a 2-stroke hole. Most of the time it took 3 strokes to complete a hole, but never more than 3. Some of the players are left-handed, which is a nice touch.

Here's hoping that your next Mini Golf course is suitable for the PGA tour. That's "Peep Golfers' Association" around here!