Eco-Friendly, ADA-Compliant Mini Golf Course Delivers Fun for All

April 25, 2024, Department, by Phil Callighan

0524 operations mini golf 410

For an enhanced digital experience, read this story in the ezine

A miniature golf course championed for many years by the mayor of the City of Leesville, Louisiana, was installed in 2023. The city is home to Fort Johnson (formerly Fort Polk), and although the military base has several recreational attractions, the mayor believed adding a miniature golf course to city property would provide more convenient access to family fun for all ages without having to pass through military checkpoints.

The site for the 16,000-square-foot miniature golf course was an old city pool that had been taken out of service prior to 2015 and filled in. During the intervening years, fundraising for the mini golf course began.

ADA Compliance

Once the budget was established, the city set out to create an 18-hole miniature golf course that was fully ADA compliant and eco-friendly with Adventure Golf and Sports.

ADA compliance requires wheelchair accessibility. While such a course does not prohibit elevations of the playing surface, the design requires a great deal of calculation to determine elevation degrees and the lengths of pathways/playing surfaces needed to manually power a wheelchair through the elevations.

Low-impact obstacles also are required to ensure ADA compliance, so higher pile turf and shallow faux bunkers were incorporated into the design to slow ball speed and add difficulty to the course.


To construct the course, high-density polyethylene modular interlocking panels were used. The panels are 100 percent permeable, have various degrees of flexibility and are made from recycled materials. This panel method creates the look and feel of a permanent concrete course without the added cost of pouring concrete while providing the flexibility to move the course in the future, if necessary.

The panels also avoid typical concrete disadvantages, such as the inability to make alterations to the course inexpensively once a hole has been poured; drainage problems, such as water pooling on a nonporous playing surface; or surface cracking from freeze/thaw/shrinkage common with concrete courses in northern regions.

Once the city had completed a rough grade of the site for the mini golf course, the project required dumping locally sourced gravel and then some fine minus rock into the general mini golf hole shapes, and those shapes were compacted so that all was water permeable. Modular panels cut to match the shapes were applied over the top with 100 percent permeable turf over the panels. Then all the turf was infilled with sand. Ceramic ballast infill holds the turf down and makes it putt like a true professional putting surface.

With permeable panels and turf, water runs right through, creating an eco-friendly course that enables preservation of natural landscaping and allows play to resume quickly after rain. Depending on the level of flora and fauna, routine maintenance is as easy as using a leaf blower to remove leaves and light debris and hosing off bird/plant droppings as necessary.

The mini golf course is already a hit, and the city is hopeful it can add more visual interest to the course by incorporating some local-themed elements down the road.

Phil Callighan, on behalf of Adventure Golf & Sports, is Senior Account Executive at Knorr Marketing.