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Ask Men's Fitness: "Can playing mini golf improve my putting in real golf, or will it screw up my form?"

Banking putts through windmills and into drain pipes has very little in common with driving down a fairway. But there is a correlation between the skills you use in mini golf and those that come into play on a real putting green, says pro golf coach Mike Bender.

“Good distance control is directly related to athletic ability and hand-eye coordination,” Bender explains. And while in mini golf you’re putting around obstacles you won’t have in real golf, you’re still reading the break of the green using visualization and imagination—skills that help develop putting prowess.

That said, “in miniature golf the speed of the greens is usually very fast,” Bender says. “I wouldn’t go to the miniature golf course to be better at putting in real golf; I’d go to the regular golf course to practice putting and let that improve your miniature golf.”

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