We loved to play miniature golf when we were kids, and we love to take our own kids to play a round with them today.

If you have ever traveled to a huge tourist destination with lots of high-tech animatronic miniature golf courses (such as Lake George, or even the summer Atlantic Coastal resorts), you know these million-dollar courses are a far cry from the "get the ball in the clown's nose" kind of courses we grew up on.

And, hey!  Did you know that miniature golf (as we know and remember it) actually got its start in Binghamton, NY with two brothers in 1938? True!

Best Mini Golf in Upstate New York

In this gallery, we shine the light on a dozen smaller, mom-and-pop miniature golf courses around Upstate.  Sure, some are elaborate, but others are the fun small places we find in rural towns in the Finger Lakes, Catskills, Southern Tier, and Adirondacks.

These are all charming and nostalgic places.  Their courses can be challenging, they offer an ever-widening array of tangent sports park games (such as go-karts and laser tag), and you can bet that you will find a delicious ice cream cone at the end of each one of these places.

Remember, if we didn't mention your favorite smaller miniature golf course in Upstate New York, please give it a shout-out over on our Facebook page.

And keep your eye out for one thing that never changes.  In this gallery, you will find a course that rewards you with a free round of golf if you get your final ball in the clown's nose!

Just like the old days....

13 Small But Mighty Upstate New York Miniature Golf Courses

Playing a round of miniature golf in Upstate New York is a rite of passage. Our region is the perfect place to play, too. Did you know that miniature golf (as we know it) got its start with two brothers in Binghamton in 1938? Read the story HERE.

This gallery shines the spotlight on a baker's dozen smaller, family run mini-golf operations around Upstate New York. We did not include the million dollar golf course/theme attractions you will find in Lake George and other summer meccas, but these little ones are just as much fun. And, yes, you will find the time honored tradition of getting a free game if you get the ball in the clown's nose at one of these little gems!

How to Travel All Around the World Without Leaving Upstate New York

There is an unusually high number of Upstate New York communities which carry the same name as international cities and countries. Some Upstate towns were named so in honor of that faraway place. Other naming seems rather random at best. So settle in and take a trip to Cuba, Amsterdam, Rome, Cambridge, Mexico, Warsaw and other places without even leaving Upstate New York. Kind of.

We know there are many more than the 18 on this list, so let us hear from you!