ADA Requires Miniature Golf Courses Meet Accessibility Standards.
Although the ADA has always required miniature golf courses undertake modest renovations to improve access, the ADA was recently supplemented by express provisions for miniature golf course. Do you know of any accessible miniature golf courses? Please let me know. I don’t know of any. Miniature golf courses should be a perfect venue for persons with disabilities. These courses are typically created out of flat terrain. That is, by and large, the elevation changes and paths and greens are all installed. Underlying everything is concrete. It is time that miniature golf courses are made accessible.
The new accessibility standards specifically require that 50% of the holes be accessible and that these holes be consecutive. Even in those rare circumstances where compliance with that standard is not readily achievable, a miniature golf facility still has the obligation to do the best that it can with the constraints that exist. And yet it seems as though there are no facilities doing anything to provide access. The level of misunderstanding and non-compliance is staggering. None of the miniature golf courses I know of are accessible. Given that the ADA has been around for 25 years, it appears this will not change without forced change by activist, advocates and the judicial process.
The sad truth is that you are the agents of change. A person with a disability who encounters an inaccessible miniature golf course and decides to take a stand need only contact the Center for Disability Access to set into motion the wheels of justice. Sound corny? Perhaps. But the evidence is plain. Unless persons with disabilities are willing to assert their rights and haul these law breaking businesses before a judge, there will be no compliance with the law.
The law is designed for persons with disabilities to enforce with their own private lawyer. The Department of Justice will pursue a few high impact cases but the vast majority of litigation is brought by private action. Congress provided a private right of action in persons with disabilities to sue non-compliant businesses and passed legislation that provides for an attorney to get paid by the law breaking business.
The California Legislature amended the civil code to provide for statutory minimum penalties to be awarded to the person that brings the case, regardless of whether they suffered any actual injury or deprivation. It is up to you to force the compliance issue. If you know of an accessible miniature golf course, please let me know because I would like to congratulate them for making it accessible and I would like to use their course as an example of how it can be done. If you know of an inaccessible miniature golf course you wanted to use, please let me know and I will see if I can force the owners to make it accessible.
Putter Handy, LLP
If you are a person with a disability and encounter barriers to access, whether policy based or architectural in nature, please do not hesitate to consider your role as an advocate. Your decision to challenge unfair and discriminatory practices benefits numerous people that you will never meet. You have an effective and willing partner in this endeavor. The Center for Disability Access has been litigating these cases for two full decades. Whether it be consultation or representation, we represent our clients for free. Please don’t hesitate to call the Center to explore or discuss any issues that you have encountered.