The World Minigolf Sport Federation (WMF) is the internationally recognised governing body for the sport of miniature golf, or also known as minigolf, crazy golf or putt-putt. It takes after the parent sport of golf, with the difference that it focusses solely on the putting aspect. The playing area is also much smaller with the series of holes normally a multiple of nine. The distance to the hole is usually within ten yards and the surface area is either concrete or an artificial turf. The aim for any player is to score the lowest number of points. The layout of each course is normally characterised by non-traditional putting lines that include moving obstacles like windmills, bank shots, tunnels and ramps. The first documented mention of a geometrically-shapes minigolf course appeared in June 1912 in The Illustrated London News. Commercial mass-production of courses emerged about four years later in Pinehurst, North Carolina. By the 1920s there were over 150 rooftop courses in New York City alone, but this quickly changed in the 1930s with the start of the Great Depression. Almost all the courses closed or were demolished during this period. A surviving example is listed in the US National Register of Historic Places. The course is the Parkside Whispering Pines Miniature Golf Course near Rochester, New York.
By the late 1930s and nearer to the end of the Great Depression, the brothers Joseph and Robert Taylor from Binghamton, New York, designed their own courses that included several different obstacles like windmills, pipes, banks and tunnels. Interest grew in their designs and by the 1940s, their business was to build these courses or the obstacles for them. They even had their courses shipped abroad to both the Korean and Vietnam Wars specifically for the US soldiers. Hamburg in Germany was the first documented location for a minigolf course built in 1926. The game also then spread to Sweden and Great Britain much as a result of visits to the States and witnessing the boom of the 1930s. The Swedish Minigolf Federation was founded in 1937 and is the oldest minigolf federation in the world. It was in the 1960s that felt was used as a playing surface as it allowed for play in wet weather. The rain would soak though the felt into the ground, while the surfaces of beton and eternite created pools of water stopping the ball from rolling.
The role of WMF is to develop and grow minigolf as a competitive sport. At the same time the attraction of the game being a fun leisure activity further generates participation and growth. WMF oversee the World Championships played every two years, including Continental and Regional competitions. WMF is a member of SportAccord and AIMS.