Building a backyard putting green may sound like a dream come true, but it takes dedication, expense, and longtime maintenance to see it through. If you decide to take on this challenge, it won’t be as good as a real putting green on the golf course, but you will be able to practice putting whenever the mood strikes.
Here are a few ideas for building a DIY backyard putting green.
Build Your Own Backyard Putting Green
To get started building a backyard putting green, you will need equipment for moving the earth, 4-inch (10 cm.) drainage pipe, grass seeds or sprigs, a reel mower, cups and flags, irrigation plan, fertilizer, and pesticide.
How to build a putting green at home:
- Assess your site. It should be in full sun for best turf growth, with no low areas. Avoid any depressions that may hold water. Air should flow freely – the wind should not be blocked by any trees or buildings.
- Add contours to your site to facilitate surface drainage going away from the green in all directions. Installing subsurface tile drains of 4-inch (10 cm.) perforated drainage pipe covered with pea gravel is also recommended, in a pattern that keeps water draining away.
- Creeping bentgrass or bermuda grass is most often suggested as the grass of choice for a putting green. For bentgrass, use 0.5 pounds to 1 pound (227 to 453.5 gr.) seed per 1,000 square feet (9 sq. m.). Use sprigs for bermuda grass. Sandy loam is the ideal choice for soil but use what you have available (except clay).
- Fertilize bentgrass with 0.5 pounds (227 gr.) nitrogen per 1,000 square feet on May 1 and June 1 each year. Make fall applications of 1 pound (453.5 gr.) nitrogen per 1,000 square feet (9 sq. m.) on Sept. 15 and Nov. 15. For bermudagrass, use lighter applications weekly from April through August, with the lightest applications weekly in September.
- Water in the early morning to give the green all day to dry to help prevent fungal diseases. Wait till the grass shows drought stress to water.
- Mow the green 3/16 to 1/4 inch (4.7 to 6 mm.) at least four times each week. Your rotary lawn mower won’t cut that precisely. This is where the backyard putting green cost comes in. Golf course personnel use a specialized reel mower, which costs thousands of dollars. You may be able to purchase a used one to save money. The blades will need to be sharpened annually.
- Purchase cup-hole cutters and cups, as well as flags.
- Prevent pests and disease by keeping the green in tip-top shape – mowed, watered, and fertilized regularly. Occasionally it may be necessary to apply pesticides.
- Apply a 1/8-inch (3 mm.) topdressing of screened sand or soil in May and September, more often if possible, working it through the grass with a push broom.
A DIY backyard putting green is a lot of hard work but can prove to be a satisfactory addition to the home landscape.