A backyard putting greens can be easily made from finely textured artificial turf, simulating that smooth putting surface that professional golfers play on. They’re easy to design and install and require very little maintenance once they’re set up.
But how do you go about installing one? What will you need besides synthetic grass? To answer these questions, we’ve created a rough guide on how to make your very own putting green.
1. Select an appropriate site
The first thing that you need to do is to survey your outdoor space and find an appropriate site for your putting green. Ideally, you want a piece of land that’s relatively flat. Try to avoid areas of your backyard that have depressions. When it rains, these deformations will end up collecting water, ruining your synthetic turf in the process.
Also, make sure that the surface area is just the right size. A putting green that’s too small will be no challenge. And if it’s too big, it’ll be a lot harder to maintain. Try to find the right balance for you. Consider how much maintenance work you’re willing to do and how much backyard space you’re willing to give up.
Another big factor to consider is exposure to sunlight. You want an area that gets a lot of sunlight throughout the day. Try to avoid areas that are partially shaded by trees or outdoor structures like patios and pergolas. These shadows can be distracting while you’re playing.
2. Dig up your lawn
Next, you need to prepare the soil for the foundation. Start by outlining the shape of your putting green and removing the sod that’s within it. To do this, you can use a sod cutter that cuts the soil into rollable strips. You can also do it the old-fashioned way with a shovel. We recommended digging as deep as 25cm to allow for the sub-base material.
After you’ve dug up your green area, use a rake to get rid of any debris that might have been left behind. Make sure that the soil is as flat as possible. You don’t want any bumps or indentations showing through the turf.
Once you’re done raking, you should take this chance to add drainage paths. We recommended creating a trench around the outline of your green as well as a few paths that go across the whole area. Make sure to use perforated or vented plastic pipes to ensure proper drainage.
3. Add gravel and sand
Now it’s time to add the sub-base material. For this purpose, you can choose between crushed stone or decomposed granite. The most common material, however, is gravel. The important thing about these materials is that they allow for adequate drainage.
After you’ve covered the whole area with gravel, make sure that the surface is level and compact. We recommend renting a plate compactor for this step. A plate compactor has a vibrating plate on the bottom of the machine that compresses the material beneath it. To help the compacting process, some machines even have water tanks that lubricate the material as you go through the surface.
Once that’s done, add some golf course sand on top of the compacted gravel. Use a rake to roughly even it out and then leave it under the sprinklers for a few minutes. The moisture will dampen the sand, making it easier to compress. It also reduces the amount of dust that flies into the air while you’re working. When it’s damp enough, use the compactor again to level the surface.
4. Insert the putting hole and lay down the turf
To plant your hole, you can use a golf hole cutter. This tool will ensure that you have a perfectly circular hole that’s perpendicular to the foundation. Usually, hole cutters will install the putting cup as you’re making the cut. If yours doesn’t do this, simply place the cup into the hole afterwards.
Now it’s time to lay down the synthetic grass. When you’re buying turf, make sure that you get a little bit more than what you need. This is especially important if your putting green has an irregular outline. Having excess turf allows you to cover the whole area with material without the need for seams.
After you’ve trimmed the turf to your desired outline, nail down the edges of the grass, making sure to leave 10cm of space between the nails.
When you’re done securing the turf, add white sand to the surface. This sand will rest in between the artificial blades of grass and hold them upright. It will also weigh down the turf, giving it further reinforcement. We also recommended adding green sand on top of the white sand to give your turf a uniform look.
5. Cut the turf to reveal the cups
Last but certainly not least, it’s time to reveal the putting cup. There are a number of ways to do this. One way is to hammer a nail through the turf and into the hole that you made earlier. Remove the nail and use that pierced hole to cut out the turf that’s on top of your putting cup.
Finally, plant the flag into the hole and you’re done.
This was just a rough guide on how to make your own backyard putting green using synthetic turf. Of course, there are plenty of other ways to go about this. If you’re up to it, you can even install a putting green made of natural grass.