Edward Knapp, CEO of the Hello! Haigeng MiniGolf Park in the suburbs of Kunming, Yunnan province , is facing a tough challenge. He is making a presentation to the principal and some 35 teachers of Xiaodong Primary School about a unique concept - bringing school work out of the classroom and into an outdoor environment with mini-golf as the medium. His problem is attempting to translate to mainland educators a concept that's groundbreaking even in Europe and the United States. But Xiaodong Primary is up for the challenge, hoping to get Education Bureau approval for a rooftop mini- golf course. If the proposal gets the green light, Xiaodong Primary will be the second on the mainland - and in the world, according to the World Minigolf Sport Federation - to build a course on its campus, and to incorporate the sport into its curriculum. Anning Experimental Middle School in Yunnan was the first. Some 35 kilometres northwest of Kunming, the school's sprawling campus is home to about 3,000 students. And the mini-golf course there - still under construction - is the latest addition to facilities that include a planetarium and a weather station. The Anning school may be pulling off an educational world first. But, as a tool for teaching, there are precedents: The Hall of Science Rocket Park Mini Golf in New York - complete with real Nasa rockets - teaches astrophysics to young people on an interactive course. Meanwhile, the Big Backyard, at the Science Museum of Minnesota, US, is a nine-hole course that teaches young people how water moves from the mountains to the sea and creates landscapes as it flows. But the Anning course is in some ways even more ambitious. When it is completed in June, the 18-hole, tournament-class course will take students on a journey through our planetary system, natural weather patterns, sustainable water resources management, urban planning and 14 other environmental subjects. Mike Medcalf, a 28-year-old engineering graduate who grew up partly in Hong Kong and now lives in Kunming, explains how every hole on a mini-golf course can act as a lesson. 'Imagine every time you play a hole on a mini-golf course, next to the hole there is a knowledge board and that board represents a lesson,' says Medcalf, who works as a design consultant and translator. But there is more to the lesson than simply the knowledge boards, which are placed close to the end of each hole on the course and can be changed, depending on the nature of the lesson. The hole itself is designed to teach a lesson. Take the so-called gravity whip hole that Medcalf designed for the Anning course, for example. It features a mini-moon and a hole that sees the ball - when hit right - spinning in a controlled arc much like the trajectory of planets around the sun and moons around planets. As New York's Rocket Park Mini Golf director Eric Siegel explained to the New York Times in an interview last year about his educational mini-golf course: 'If you can imbed the actual physics of ballistics in the game, then they're actually learning as they do it.' Back in Kunming, Knapp concludes his presentation to the Xiaodong Primary School: 'There's a global push to develop rooftops as environmental spaces, and we're fortunate that in Kunming the government is making that a priority. That's a good opportunity to use mini-golf, which can be about the environment, learning, family interaction - and a little relaxation.' Out at the Anning campus, Knapp ponders the design of the water resources hole. When he's stretched a curve of the course to his satisfaction and marked it with lime ahead of the pouring of concrete, he says with quiet satisfaction: 'This is going to be a killer hole. Every hole is like a puzzle.' Moments later he tosses a ball gently onto the already completed tornado course - which will also feature an imitation tornado made from recycled steel. The ball rolls into the vortex of the tornado and makes a leisurely, twisting journey into the hole at its centre. 'Hole in one,' he exclaims with a laugh. 'You've got to give them one easy one.'