What's a fun, friendly way to introduce a little competition into a series without having to commit to a multi-episode format like a Tournament Arc?
A Mini-Golf Episode!
A few rounds at a petite putting green could bring out the competitive side of the characters, or give them an opportunity to meet a villain on more friendly terms. Crafty characters might even build their own mini-golf course out of whatever materials are on hand if they can't get to a real mini-golf green. The courses themselves are likely to feature obstacles in the form of windmills, pirate ships, chomping monster mouths, and miniaturized versions of world-famous monuments - which opens the floodgates for some humorous Monumental Damage if the mini-golf round goes off the rails. Mini-golf rounds can (and often do) devolve into a Bizarre and Improbable Golf Game.
This trope is most commonly found in western media (due to the fact that mini-golf's popularity and cultural relevance has by and large been limited to the United States and Europe).
- In episode 60 of Pleasant Goat and Big Big Wolf, Wolffy plays golf with the goats. At first he plays golf and messes with the goats' golf balls, but he eventually uses the game as an opportunity to distract the goats and attempt to catch them.
- One arc of Big Nate featured Nate playing mini-golf with Jenny and Artur. Artur sinks nearly every shot perfectly (despite never having played mini-golf before), and Nate tears himself up trying to outperform Artur.
- Scooby-Doo (DC Comics) Issue 114, Fangs But No Fangs, included the short comic "A Horror in One." The comic followed the gang as they contended with a wolf-monster who appeared at the horror-themed "Golf Wolf Mini-Golf Course," all while Freddie competed in a mini-golf tournament.
- Issue #2 of the Teen Titans Go! comic, "Par for the Course", shows Beastboy and Robin raising the stakes of their mini-golf game by instituting humiliating punishments for the loser and arguing over whether the use of their powers and gadgets constitutes cheating. Cyborg steps in to referee, but he judges that there are no rules.
- Jonathan and Cammie play mini-golf during a date in The Singles Ward.
- The Bones episode "The Putter in the Rough" focuses on a murdered "superstar mini-golfer."
- The appropriately titled "Miniature Golf" episode of The Suite Life of Zack and Cody features Zack getting beaten at mini-golf by Ella. After asking Mr. Moseby to train him and winning the rematch, he becomes quite arrogant.
- While not an episode entirely devoted to mini-golf, the Angel Heart episode of Supernatural sees Dean and Claire taking a break to play mini-golf. Playing mini-golf gives Dean insight into how the Victim of the Week was killed.
- Cartoon Network's website once hosted a game called "Cartoon Cove Mini Golf," where players were presented with nine holes of online mini-golf inspired by the network's classic cartoons from the early 2000's, including Dexter's Laboratory, Johnny Bravo, The Powerpuff Girls, and Codename: Kids Next Door.
- Golf Story contains a hidden mini-golf green in Wellworn Grove, where players are tasked with proving a pair of scientists wrong by completing a mini-golf course in fewer strokes than predicted.
- There's a mini-golf-mini-game in PGA Tour.
- Due to a wrist injury, the author of Paranatural once substituted a regular page update with a short story called "THE ACTIVITY CLUB and the FINAL HOLE," detailing the exploits of Max, Isabel, and Isaac as they hunt a ghost that supposedly haunts the last hole of the mini-golf course at "Small Business Benson's Gas Station & Human Joy Emporium" on the outskirts of Mayview. They've been told the ghost can only be drawn out by playing a full round of mini-golf, so the Activity Club members are forced to golf their way past fake clowns and plastic skeletons, through pirate-ship lagoons full of stagnant water and swarming mosquitoes, and around a treacherous mini-windmill.
- The Arthur episode "Spar for the Course" is about Binky, Buster, and Muffy trying to build a mini golf hole.
- Episode 7 of Bless the Harts, "Myrtle Beach Memoirs", features mother-daughter duo Jenny and Violet entering a mini-golf competition with a cash prize to try and make a little extra money. Violet discovers that the last hole is rigged, and is forced to work around that as she tries to land her final shot.
- The "Doom's-Day-Putt!" episode of Chop Chop Ninja sees ninja Iro enter a highly competitive game of mini-golf against a mini-golf champion (though unbeknownst to him, it's a trap set by The General and Splat).
- The "M.I.N.I.-G.O.L.F." episode of Codename: Kids Next Door pits Numbuh 2 against "miniature golf" enthusiast Rupert Puttkin, despite the fact that Numbuh 2 has never played mini-golf. After Numbuh 2 wins by sheer beginner's luck, Puttkin goes nuts and becomes "The Great Puttinski", challenging Numbuh 2 to a rematch... one in which Numbuh 2 and various world monuments have been miniaturized with a Shrink Ray.
- Lilli-putt is introduced in the Darkwing Duck episode Getting Antsy as a villain who steals and shrinks monuments for "Goony Golf," his miniature golf course.
- Double D goes all out building The Ed's Miniature Golf Course in the Ed, Edd n Eddy episode "Eeny, Meeny, Miney, Ed". Eddy was more concerned with expanding the business, including the addition of a cart rental. Ed was busy playing with sock puppets. Then their scam gets side-tracked when a bored Eddy convinces Ed that their friend is a super-intelligent lizard-man in disguise.
- In the The Fairly Oddparents episode "Pixies Inc.", Timmy builds his own miniature golf course for a school project. Unimpressed with how it looks, Timmy decides to wish for a professional-looking one, only to find out the Pixies have acquired Fairy World and all the Fairies in a hostile takeover. When Timmy finds out from Cosmo that the Head Pixie loves golf, he challenges HP to a game of mini-golf. If Timmy wins, he gets one free wish, and if HP wins, Timmy has to give Cosmo and Wanda up to him. After Timmy wins the game and the Fairies get Fairy World back, he decides to use his own homemade mini-golf course for his school project after all.
- The Fillmore! episode "The Nineteenth Hole is a Shallow Grave" is dedicated to Fillmore (who was an excellent mini-golf player in his delinquent days) going undercover when mini-golf players at the school appear to be throwing their matches. Like everything else in this series, it's treated as Serious Business, with X Middle School having its own mini-golf team who treats the game as seriously as professional golf.
- Gravity Falls episode "The Golf War" sees Dipper and Mabel enlisting "Lilliputtians," the little golf-ball headed residents of Ye Royal Discount Putt Hut, in giving Mabel an edge against Pacifica Northwest. But the fiercely competitive Lilliputtians get carried away and try to kill off Pacifica, forcing Mabel and her rival to team up and fight their way to freedom.
- The Kaeloo episode "Let's Play Golf" had the main four play mini-golf. After seeing Quack Quack and Mr. Cat do an extremely good job, Kaeloo feels insecure and decides to cheat so she doesn't look inferior to them.
- The Phineas and Ferb episode "Put That Putter Away" features the titular characters building a gigantic miniature golf course in their backyard when they find out that Little Duffer's, the town's only miniature golf course, is going out of business.
- Popples: In "Popples Play Pee Wee Golf", Billy and Bonnie want to buy a birthday present for their mother but have only seven dollars to spend on it. When Billy notices the local mini-golf course is offering a twenty-five-dollar prize to whoever makes a hole-in-one and, in spite of his sister's reluctance, they enter the golf course and lose the money. Two dollars on entrance fees and the rest on snacks for the popples. In the end, one of the popples scores a "hole-in-none" by jumping into a hole and the Wagner siblings give their mother a certificate for a free play at the mini-golf course.
- The Powerpuff Girls (2016): Season 1, Episode 12, "Mini Golf Madness" has the girls at a mini golf course where a mechanical mascot goes on a rampage in Townsville when Buttercup takes her winning golf ball with her.
- Ready Jet Go!:
- The season 2 episode "Mini-Golf at the DSA" has the Deep Space Array install a mini golf course. The kids compete against the adults in the DSA's first mini-golf tournament, and they win by applying their knowledge of force.
- Mini-golf is a major plot point in One Small Step. Mindy is very eager to play mini-golf at the sleepover. The reason that Jet and Sunspot went missing is because they were building a mini-golf course on the moon. The kids then play mini-golf there. Towards the end of the movie, Mitchell and Mindy play mini-golf together.
- The "Daddy Issues" episode of Regular Show reveals that CJ's father is Carl Putter, a successful mini-golfer whose training caused CJ to hate the sport. At Rigby's insistence, she competes in the Putterpalooza mini-golf competition in order to win a "Cut the Cheezers" card (which would allow the holder to travel to the front of the line at Cheezers for the rest of their life). CJ's father also joins the competition, resulting in a father-daughter showdown.
- The Rugrats episode, "Ice Cream Mountain" has Stu and Drew who are playing mini-golf; the babies are more interested in the "Ice Cream Mountain" hole, which is dominated by a giant plastic statue of a sundae they believe to be real ice cream. When they reach the statue, they discover that it isn't really made of ice cream, and in doing so they un-rig the obstacle that was preventing Stu and Drew from getting a hole-in-one...
- The Simpsons:
- In "Dead Putting Society", Homer forces Bart to enter a miniature golf tournament against Ned Flanders' son Todd. Bart does a good job, but both he and Todd get tired of so much pressure being put on them and deliberately end the match as a tie.
- The episode "Natural Born Kissers" sees Homer and Marge visit a miniature golf course, though not to play, but rather to "get busy" inside the windmill hazard. Hilarity Ensues.
- The SpongeBob SquarePants episode "A Friendly Game" has SpongeBob and Patrick build a miniature golf course inside SpongeBob's house when it's raining. They then try to play a round without disturbing their Grumpy Bear neighbor Squidward.
- Steven Universe episode "Rose's Room" starts with Steven eating four cans of creamed corn so he can take the Crystal Gems mini-golfing, only to face disappointment when they must immediately leave for another mission. He resorts to playing a mini-golf video game, Golf Quest Mini, but misses the all-important final cut scene of the "secret ending" when the Gems accidentally blow up his television. He finally gets his wish at the end of the episode when the Crystal Gems make time to go mini-golfing - Garnet even wears Greg's old golf pants.
- Tiny Toon Adventures:
- In the short, "Miniature Goof" from the episode, "The Wacko World of Sports", Buster and Babs try to play a game of mini-golf on a course owned by Roderick and Rhubella Rat. After being treated unfairly by the Rats, Buster and Babs, disguised as Biff and Buffy Vanderbunny, challenge them to a game of mini-golf to claim ownership of the course.
- In the short, "Minister Golf" from the episode, "Sports Shorts", while playing a game of mini-golf with Buster, Babs, and Hamton, Plucky tells them about the time he first played mini-golf as a baby with his father.
- In the "Peril Patch" episode of Trolls: The Beat Goes On!, a mysterious mini-golf course grows right up out of the ground for the trolls to play in. King Peppy warns that it's actually a plant that plays on the irresistible urge of its prey to play miniature golf, and once the plant thinks its drawn in enough Trolls it will seal the gates and trap everyone inside.
- The What's New, Scooby-Doo? episode "A Terrifying Round with a Menacing Metallic Clown" features Shaggy competing in a tournament at "Putt Putt Paradise," a mini-golf course haunted by a clown-shaped course obstacle that seemingly comes to life and attacks the mini-golfers. Velma goes off cowering with Scooby because she's afraid of clowns.
- In the "Putt with Honor" episode of WordGirl, TJ, Becky, and Eileen compete against each other in a mini-golf tournament for a place on the golf course's hall of fame.