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Golfer’s Fantasy: How to Build a Putting Green at Home

Backyard Putting Green

Imagine how amazing it would be to have your very own backyard putting course! If you’re like most golfers, it would be a dream come true. You can make your game unstoppable with a simulator or outdoor hitting mat in your garage.

Most golf enthusiasts give up on the dream of a backyard putting court when they see the prices charged by companies. It can cost anywhere from a few thousand to $10,000 depending on the design. Some companies charge as high as $5,000-$10,000.

Financially, it’s just not in the cards for most people. We have a solution for you.  

We’re not here to sell you anything but instead, help you learn how to build a putting green at home. If you’re a handyman, this is the tutorial you need for sprucing up the backyard and making your golf buddies jealous.

How do you create a professional putting course? 

How to Build a Putting Green in Your Backyard

Before diving into the step-by-step process, it’s important to compare real grass vs. synthetic turf. First, real lawn is hard work. You might want it to feel just like a course on the golf course but it will need constant upkeep.

According to this article“Greens typically need to be mown at least once every three days. Without that regular tending, they become overgrown. Getting them back up to speed is tough. Sometimes it’s impossible, and the entire putting surface has to be reseeded, and you’re looking at least two months before they’re ready for play again.”

Unless you want to mow your putting surface every three days, “fake” turf is the way to go. Plus, depending on where you live, you will have to deal with weather issues too such as mowing your lawn. 

For the sake of simplicity, we’ll base thisArticle on synthetic turf as it’s almost maintenance free and something you can buy at Home Depot or Lowes. Plus, you won’t have to act like a greenskeeper every few days, making it a more enjoyable experience.  

Alright, let’s get into how to create a DIY putting green; this YouTube video does a great job of breaking down some of the major steps if you want to watch afterward. 

Step 1: Draw a Map of Your Area

First, assess the area (likely your yard) to determine where your putting green will be. It is important to choose a level spot as it will be more difficult to build it on a slope. It’s also a good idea to place it in an area where you can ensure proper drainage to cope with winter weather. 

Additionally, before deciding on the location you want to think about if you’re using it for putting or chipping too. If you plan to chip or pitch, you want to position accordingly, so a bad shot won’t damage the house or go into a neighbor’s property. You don’t want to put it next to a retaining wall as it will limit the space to hit chips into the green.

Once you have the exact location, map the area with an old hose. A kidney shape is a good choice for DIY putting greens. But, you have the option to make it any shape that you like. 

Once you’ve confirmed the shape and the size, spray paint the green outline and then remove the hose. This will give you a good visual preview of what’s to come and establish the foundation of your new DIY putting green.

Two things to remember before you start preparing the area:

  • Chipping Area: It might be a good idea for your putting green to create a chipping and pitching area. This will allow you to add an outdoor mat for chipping and not damage your grass. 
  • BunkerYou can also add a bunker to your outdoor green if you want it to be even more impressive. This is pretty easy as you just need to dig out room near the green (deeper than the green – about 1-2 feet deep) and get the right type of sand. If you have a keen junior golfer at home, and enough room, I recommend it. Just remember, Phil Mickelson had a bunker in his backyard growing up and he’s arguably one of the best bunker players of all time. We could all benefit from some extra bunker practice. 
  • DrainageNote: Before you purchase gravel and start laying down manual labor, it is important to consider the site where your green will be planted. Besides finding an area in your yard with good soil, you want to make sure the drainage situation won’t create puddles and will be able to withstand the weather each winter.

Step 2: Prepare your Area

Once you have the putting green outlined in a good area, it’s time to clear the site and surrounding area. If you’re replacing grass, you will need to remove the sod with a sod cutter. Also, remove rocks, weeds, or anything else that might be in the way of your green.

If you don’t have any real grass to replace, you will need to dig out a small area of dirt for your putting green. You don’t need to dig too deep – about four to seven inches or so will do. It’s also not a bad idea to spray weed killer in that area to ensure your green is good for the long-term. 

Once the grass is cleared and a slight hole is dug, it’s time to fill it up with a road base. According to Synthetic Grass Warehouse“If you are going to use type II or road base as your grading materials, I recommend placing one inch of 3/8 minus, chat, or decomposed granite on top and compacting it to complete a smooth surface. Type II and road base have too much aggregate (rock) and may cause problems with proper “ball roll”.

You will need to moisten the road base using a hose. Next, smoothen it with a shovel. Then, use a roller to make sure it’s perfectly flat across the entire putting surface. You may need to rub your hands on the putting surface and pick up additional rocks. 

The base is key to making sure you get a smooth roll and feeling like you’re on the actual golf course. Although they may not look like the PGA’s tour greens, it is important to have a solid foundation that doesn’t include any bumps. 

Don’t forget, the base layer sets up the rest of your project!

You have two options at this point. buy an outdoor putting green or buy turf and do the installation yourself. There are many options for buying an outdoor one that has been built. 

The Boburn golf putting mat is an indoor/outdoor mat that comes in a variety of sizes (the largest is 5 x 10 feet). This green has a real feel, with a stimpmeter reading around a 10. This is comparable to the speed at which most public golf courses are played. A 10 is a good speed and can help you improve your short game skills. 

You can follow our step-by–step guide if your goal is to buy turf and then install it yourself. 

Step 3: Add Synthetic Turf  

Now that the area is prepared, it’s time to add the synthetic turf to your backyard putting green. There are tons of different types of synthetic turf so it’s all about finding one that matches your ideal look, budget, and green speed.

The putting green turf plays an important role, so do your research. It’s based on price per square foot and varies greatly in the same way golf clubs do from brand to brand. You should also be aware that they may not have the right quality turf in stock and will need to ship it to you.

Once you have the synthetic turf, it’s time to install it. If the brand recommends pre-shrinking, be sure to follow the instructions. If you don’t need to pre-shrink the grass, you can roll it out of the putting green and begin this process. 

Remember, the turf comes in large sizes so you will need to cut it once it’s laid out on top of the putting green. You can either save any turf or use it to chip your area. 

Once the turf covers your outlined area and is cut, it’s time to secure it so it doesn’t move as you walk and putt on it. The turf can be secured with large nails or turf pins around the green. You can also build a bunker by filling it with sand. 

Finally, don’t forget to cut your holes too. Use a hole cutter to cut the turf. Next, dig the hole. This will help with drainage. Try to space them out so they aren’t too close to each other and allow different angle putts and chip shots. 

You can test your skills on your backyard putting course by purchasing mini holes, which are approximately half the size of a regular hole. These mini holes will improve your game and make a standard-sized hole feel like a bucket.

Step 4: Add Other Landscaping Around The Green 

Once the green and cups are installed, don’t forget to spruce up the surrounding area. This will make the green blend in more with your backyard and make it look like it’s been there for years (even if it only took a few days to install). 

There are many ways you could do this. Here are some ideas:

  • Add a border around your green. You can use small bricks or edging, so golf balls don’t go off the putting green. This is more like a mini-golf green than a professional putting area so you may want to use small plastic liners. It will also act as a weed barrier.
  • Add fringe. If you don’t want a border around the green, you can add a fringe to make it look even more realistic, like a typical golf course green. You can simply buy a different colored green and place it around the green. 
  • Add dirt, rocks or grass. Add plants, bark, rocks or real grass to the putting green to make it blend in with the rest. A nice landscape will help it blend in with the rest of the yard.

Step 5 – Maintain Your Backyard Putting Green 

Once your green is done, don’t forget to follow the maintenance instructions to keep it looking great for years to come. With regular maintenance, you won’t have to worry about replacing the turf as often. You should also purchase a leaf blower to make it easy to clean your green. 

How to Build a Putting Green

FAQs about DIY Putting Greens 

Do you have any questions about making your own backyard golf putting green? If so, we’ll answer the most common questions below.

How much does it cost for a putting green to be built? 

The green cost of a project can vary greatly depending on many factors, including:

  • Preparing your site: If you have to remove a concrete foundation, add drainage, or remove trees/bushes, this can increase the cost. If you only have to rip up old grass or dig up some dirt, it’ll be much cheaper.
  • SizeThe greens are larger, so the cost will be higher. However, there are more options for putting. The sizes can vary from 500 to 2,000 sq. feet. It’s all about working with what you have.
  • Type of green Each brand of turf will range as some are eco friendly, last longer, have different speeds, etc.
  • Fringe, landscapingAccessorizing around your green can add a lot of money, but it is usually worth it.
  • Additional featuresAdding chipping areas, sand or other training aids will increase the cost. But let’s get real, how cool would it be to have your own bunker in your backyard?

Are backyard putting greens worth it? 

Putt greens are a great way for your family to practice, improve your yard, and have fun. You will see a big improvement in your game if you spend at least 10 minutes each day working on 3-5-footers.

It can also be used for chipping, hitting the sand shots, or as a relaxing place to unwind after a long day at work. A backyard putting green is more attractive than a lawn and can be placed on your patio. Sure, it’s a good-sized project at first, but the green cost is worth it in our opinion.

Can a putting-green add value to a house? 

If you do a great job installing the greens, it might attract more potential buyers to take a look. Tour Greens is a great company to use. These greens are often thousands of dollars.

What size is a good-sized green for a home? 

This is a good question, as the square footage of your backyard will affect how much you can use. An average green on the course is 6,000 square feet but obviously you don’t need something that big for your home. Make one that is big enough to work on anything inside 15 feet but not so big that it’s an eye soar (or your wife gets mad at you). 

How long can putting greens last for? 

There are many factors that can affect the longevity of your turf. While researching this post, however, I discovered a Home Depot turf made for DIY putting gardens that had a warranty of eight years. Although the warranty is likely to be shorter, it can last quite a while if you keep it clean.

Tour Greens stated that “The turf used in Tour Greens putting greens features polypropylene fibers that are designed to resist the harmful effects of rain, snow, ice, and sun. With proper and regular maintenance (once or twice a year), your green can last 15 years or more.”

Can I pay someone else to do this?

There are many companies that can do the hard work, but it will be much more expensive. Tour Greens is one of the most popular companies for  residential and commercial putting greens.

As their Website stated, “Every Tour Greens residential putting green is built to exact specifications, producing the most attractive, high-performance golf surfaces on the market today. Our revolutionary infilled synthetic grass system mimics real bentgrass putting greens but doesn’t require daily maintenance. Green speeds and contours are engineered to your preference for challenging practice and play.”

Tour Greens allow you to set the speed, slope and breaks exactly how you want them. They do all the hard labor (dressing, removing the lawn, installing the turf etc. They can help you make your short game dreams a reality.

What about putting green kit?

Tour Greens recommends the DIY kit known as XGrass which makes installing a green easy. You will be fine as long as the location is flat (with a slope of less than 3%), and you follow the instructions.

After you assemble the panel system and place the pre-drilled cups, you’re ready to go. You have the option to choose from many square foot designs that will work well in your backyard. 

What makes a great putting green? 

The most important thing is to make sure the ground below is smooth and flat. This will create the best putting experience and feel almost as if you’re on the golf course. Even better is having enough size to chip and pitch or hit sand shots.

Overall, it’s much cheaper than having one professionally installed. 

Final Thoughts 

Backyard putting greens can be a great way for you to improve your short game, and also fuel your passion for the game. Golf greens are a great way to eliminate mowing the lawn and won’t make you feel like you have a second job by using real grass. It is almost impossible to mow the green and fringe at the right height unless you were a superintendent in the past.

Synthetic greens with pea gravel, or rock base are the best. While they aren’t going to be PGA Tour greens quality, we’re confident you will love being able to roll the rock in your backyard. It will make entertaining your family and friends even more enjoyable. 

If you aren’t ready to create your own backyard putting green (yet), make sure you check out our best indoor putting greens too.