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Guide to Design and Build the Best Backyard Putting Green

Building, designing, and customizing a synthetic putting green in your backyard can be just as exciting as actually playing on it. Embrace this project and make sure each detail is compatible with your gameplay to get the most from your backyard golf green. Reference our step-by-step process below to guide you while building your artificial putting green!

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1. Determine the Dedicated Area for Installation

2. Draft the Shape of the Putting Green

3. Design an Obstacle Course

4. Position the Cups and Launch Areas

5. Select Additional Starting Points

6. Twist the Shape of Your Putting Green Surface

7. Select the Materials

8. Consider Additional Lighting

9. Understand How to Supervise Putting Green Installation

10. Finding a Contractor to Build Your Putting Green

11. What to Expect During Putting Green Installation

12. Test Your New Putting Green Surface 

13. Cleaning a Backyard Putting Green

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1. Determine the Dedicated Area for Installation 

Whether you're designing and building a putting green that's 200 sq. ft. or 2,000, there's always room for customization! Being creative and designing a golf green that fits your specific preferences is the best part of creating this outdoor space. Any obstructions such as trees and hills within the space can be designed as an obstacle for gameplay. Incorporating poles, rocks, and HVAC units into the game will also provide an added challenge and help improve your game. 

Putting Green Size

The size of your putting green depends on the size of your yard. You have to think about how much of your backyard you want to dedicate to golf. While there are many benefits to installing a backyard putting green, which will increase the value of your home, prospective buyers may be turned off if you have a green that takes up the entire backyard.

Another factor that will affect the size of your backyard putting green is the intended use. Are you looking to practice putting and chipping, or improve your short stroke? Once you know exactly what you want out of your synthetic putting green, speak with an expert to bring it all to life! 

2. Draft the Shape of the Putting Green

Draft the shape for backyard putting green design

The shape of your putting green is the biggest way to customize the design. Because artificial grass can be cut to fit any space, backyard putting greens can be designed in nearly any shape! Often homeowners will create a shape that accommodates existing structures and obstacles in their yard. Typical shapes include bean, bone, free shape, sausage, and square. Keep reading below to see when these shapes are most recommended! 

Sausage- Ideal for side yards or narrow spaces.

Square - Good to get the most out of your area when there's a tight space. 

Bone - Great for larger backyards that are square or rectangular. Typically has 4 cups. 

Bean - This is the most popular shape for artificial putting greens. Works best for smaller backyards. 

Free Shape - Provides the most freedom of design. Great for irregularly shaped backyards. 

Common Putting Green Shapes

3. Design an Obstacle Course

The obstacles and design of your golf green can be as simple or as complex as you prefer. Just like on an actual golf course, synthetic putting greens can come with ponds and sand traps that make the game more fun and challenging.

If you want to take your backyard putting green one step further, upgrade your green by adding multiple holes, sand bunkers, and cuts of fringe. The more challenging the course, the more your short game will improve. Boulders, planters, and stepping stones can be incorporated into your design as obstacles! 

It can be tricky to create a challenging putting green in small spaces. When you're unable to add undulations and hills, you can instead purchase obstacles online to move around your green and create different challenges. This also gives you the freedom to remove these obstacles and play on the flat green when desired. 

4. Position the Cups and Launch Areas

Spray paint the points where your putting green cups will be installed and walk it multiple times. Make sure you place the cups strategically, to create a course with increasing difficulty. Allow space to miss your target and avoid creating a direct hit. Make sure the cups aren't blocking other shots. Do not overkill with quantity, instead think 360 - approach your targets from multiple sides, making sure there are multiple angles to hit your cup. 

5. Select Additional Starting Points

Think outside the box here. You can create starting points in many different areas. You can even hit from a porch using a small patch of turf! 

Cutting and Laying Putting Green Material

6. Twist the Shape of Your Putting Green Surface

Think about undulations and curves. Curve the surface inside the perimeter to keep the ball within the space during putting. You'll also want to consider curving the surface to make it more challenging to reach your targets.

7. Select the Materials

Select the Fringe Material - Tall and plush fringe may make it difficult to hit the golf ball when it leaves the putting surface, however, it will help catch the ball. Shorter fringe (such as pet turf materials) will offer you more freedom of movement outside the green and keep the ball in play even on the fringe!

Select the Putting Green Material - The way putting green turf looks is typically what most buyers consider when choosing the putting green material. Darker and lighter options are available, with brown or lime colors used to create different shades. In regards to color, it's all about personal preference. 

Adjusting Stimp Speed - Stimp speeds can be customized by selecting certain artificial grasses.  While many believe sand infill determines the stimp speed, this is typically not the case. In order for the infill to affect the stimp speed, we'd have to add so much infill that it fills up to the top of the surface. At this point, you'd be playing on the sand, not artificial grass. 

The harder and more compact the surface is, the faster the ball will roll. The highest stimp speeds are achieved with grasses made of compressed poly or thin-bladed nylon. 

Poly vs. NylonNylon turf costs more, but it is more durable and elastic. Poly often provides higher stimp speed when using less sand. However, Nylon when fully infilled provides the fastest roll. If you see sun reflections from windows on the surface of the space, we'd recommend opting for a nylon material because nylon is a lot more temperature resistant. 

8. Consider Additional Lighting

Most often, you'll be using your new backyard golf green in the evening after work or to entertain guests. Ask the installer about installing conduits and connecting low voltage lights. This will not only light up your space and keep it usable, but it will add charm to your backyard! 

Adding additional lighting to backyard putting greens

9. Understand How to Supervise Putting Green Installation

Familiarize yourself with the putting green installation process. We'd recommend supervising how the area is prepped. There should be no soil left, and the base should be compacted multiple times. It's very important that the installers create a smoothly graded surface to prevent affecting the ball roll and gameplay. 3"+ base depth is recommended for the best results.

Select aluminum or steel edging to hold the road base more securely. This will also prevent discoloration over time and just elevate the look of your putting green. Avoid using a thick layer of decomposed granite. Only a thin layer should be applied because DG can be easily washed away with rainfall. 

Use aluminum bender boards for putting green installation

Make sure the cups are installed in concrete and leveled before the crew moves on. You can also add putting green flags to make it even more charming! 

10. Finding a Contractor to Build Your Putting Green

Putting green installation is not the same as artificial grass installation. The process is different and requires more rigorous labor. Expert Installers are key! If the crew you choose does not have experience with building synthetic putting greens, you may end up losing your investment. For this reason, we also don't recommend building a putting green DIY unless you've done a bunch of research and have access to professional tools. 

Work With Only Experienced Professional Putting Green Installers

Do the following to distinguish experts from cheap contractors: 

  1.  Ask to see their portfolio of work. If they're experienced in putting green installation they should have sample projects to showcase. 
  2. Ask questions to learn how much knowledge they have regarding installation techniques. This should be a red flag if the installer is unaware of basic terms or seems unsure of themselves. 
    • How do you create the shape?
    • How do you adjust the stimp speed?
    • How do you seam the turf together?
    • How do you install putting green cups?
    • Do you use a road base or DG to prepare the base?
    • What knives do you use to cut the putting green materials?

11. What to Expect During Putting Green Installation

We'd recommend being there and supervising the putting green installation because it's very common for contractors to cut corners or pretend they're familiar with the process when they don't have any experience in building a putting green

Base preparation is very important so if nothing else, monitor the base prep. Before the installation continues after compaction, test the surface with a golf ball. Make sure there's not a slope that makes the ball naturally roll. If the ball is rolling by itself, the space is not completely level and needs to be fixed before moving on. The cost of installing a putting green can be pricey, and this is the most common way that homeowners lose out on their investment. Gameplay will be useless if the sub-base and surface of your artificial putting green are not level. 

Supervise the base preparation for putting green installation

12. Test Your New Putting Green Surface 

Give your new backyard putting green a go while the installers are still present. This is your time to assess the project. Make sure the ball is rolling to your liking. If at this point the stimp speed does not meet your expectations, you can have them adjust it by adding more infill to the surface. 

Test Your New Backyard Putting Green Surface

13. Cleaning a Backyard Putting Green 

Use an electric blower to remove debris from the surface from time to time. A push broom will help redistribute infill on your fringe and keep the blades standing upright. 

Rinse the putting green surface occasionally to flush the area. When doing this, double-check that the cups are percolating water over time. If not, you can drill a hole in the bottom of the cups to assist with drainage. Avoid allowing sprinklers to consistently wet the surface as this can lead to mold developing. 

Can't find the answer? Browse our Putting Green FAQ section.

The golf course is a lot of fun, but if you want an exclusive space to practice your short game anytime, it's time to install a backyard putting green! When you partner with InstallArtificial, you can choose from our carefully selected turf products to replicate the look and feel of natural grass. No matter what design you’re dreaming up, we can help make it a reality. We’ll work with you from initial design to final clean-up, and provide you with the putting green of your dreams.

 

putting green cost calculator