An obsession with the game of golf can lead to a lot of strange behaviors. But as anyone who's been bitten by the golf bug knows, there is nothing that can stand between an avid golfer and their lust for the game. Some even like to take their golf game home with mats and nets; in extreme cases of golf addiction, they build backyard putting greens. The success of any backyard putting green is affected by a few factors: Do you have a green thumb? Are you dedicated to making it work? Do you have the right climate?
Difficulty: Moderately Challenging
Choose your location. Location is going to be one of the key elements in the success or failure of your putting green. You'll want an area that gets full sunlight. This is essential for the grass to grow and mature. The green shouldn't be sheltered from the wind and should be slightly elevated as opposed to being in a depression. This will allow you to control the moisture content.
Collect the right materials. The only material that you have to buy is the grass seed. A backyard green can grow on pretty much any type of soil, so it's unnecessary to truck in sand for the base but the seed is vital. Creeping Bentgrass is used in moderate climates and is generally the preferred type of grass. According to the University of Purdue Turfgrass Science Program, the spread rate should be .5 pounds of seed per 1,000 square feet of surface area.
Grow the seed. For the most part, growing grass requires that you water it based on the specifications of the brand and type of seed you buy. The best rule of thumb is to follow the guidelines put forth by the provider. As your seed grows, you can begin to treat the grass with nitrogen. This is something you'll want to do twice a year, during the late spring and early fall. During the late spring, use .5 pounds of nitrogen per 1,000 feet of turf. During the fall, use 1 pound of nitrogen per 1,000 feet (what is known as winterizing the green).
Maintain your putting surface. When your grass has taken root and is growing well, you'll have to keep it mowed. A typical lawnmower cannot cut the grass at the tight proportions required without destroying it. This means you'll have to either purchase or rent a grassmower which cuts in the same fashion as those you will find at golf courses. Generally the putting green should be mowed to a length from 3/16 to 1/4 of an inch three to four times a week.
Keep your green free of pests and fungus. The best way to do this is to get a good head of bentgrass growing. A healthy lawn will help keep away all sorts of fungus and insects. Pesticides and anti-fungal treatments can be purchased at your local lawn and garden store, but you may want to consult with the store where you bought the bentgrass in order to find the proper protection. Add a topdressing 1/8-inch thick to the entire surface of the green using clean, screened soil. You can then work it in using a broom.