How to Create Your Own Backyard Putting Green

By Mike Pile

More strokes are taken with the putter than any other single club. Practicing right outside your door will help you post some low numbers.


Difficulty: Challenging
Step 1
Creating your own backyard putting green is not hard, but it is laborious and time consuming. And while it is worth the dollar investment, it does not come cheap. Expect to spend anywhere from $10 to $30 per square foot to do it yourself. Even the pros don't have the patience to maintain a real green, so almost every backyard putting green is synthetic.
Space limitations allow only for the basics, but any reputable synthetic grass dealer has extensive step-by-step instructions for doing it yourself.
Step 2
Prepare the site. Using paint or stakes and string, create an outline of the putting surface. Remove the sod and enough dirt to be 3 inches below grade if needed. Smooth, level and compact the soil using a rake and a compactor or hand tamper.
Step 3
Lay in the base. An appropriately prepared base is vital to installing a good synthetic putting green. Fill the area with 2 to 3 inches of compactable aggregate. This is variously known as "decomposed granite," "rock dust" or "¼-inch minus." Spread it evenly around the site and compact it so it is smooth and level. Attach a 4-foot level to a long, straight 4-by-4 to help level large areas. This is a tedious and painstaking task, so be patient and do it right.
Step 4
Dig the cups. Locate the cups where you can obtain the most variety of lines and distances. Install the cups according to the manufacturer's directions and then mark their location on a piece of paper by measuring in from the perimeter in two spots so you can later locate them after you install the turf.
Step 5
Install the turf. The turf rolls out like carpet and installs similarly. Secure one end with galvanized 20d nails driven into the aggregate, and then stretch it out by kick-shuffling across it. When it appears taut and smooth, secure the perimeter with more nails. Locate the cups and using a utility knife, carefully cut out a circle in the turf to reveal the hole.
Step 6
Install top dressing. Some types of turf benefit from a top dressing of sand or crumb rubber that helps the grass fibers stand upright. If your turf needs this, distribute the infill with a fertilizer spreader at the rate of about 3 lb. per square foot. Using a stiff push broom, work the infill against the grain into the turf.
You are now ready to putt away.

About The Author

Mike Pile is a professional golf writer. Pile has been writing for 11 years with work appearing in Golfing Magazine, Solar Industry, North American Clean Energy, Electrical Construction and Maintenance, and GolfLink among others. He holds an MBA from the University of St.Thomas.

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