Build Your Own Backyard Putting Green
The Masters begins play this week and besides all of the Tiger talk, it’s nice to think of the golf season starting again.
If we had a bit more room and I valued my short game more, setting up a putting green in the back yard would be a fun distraction.
Location of your putting green
Look for placements in level areas around your yard.
+ Take a string, garden hose, or extension cord and lay it in the general area and shape you desire. The width of our turf is 12 feet so you will need to think in widths of 12 feet when designing your green (12, 24, or 36 feet wide) unless you plan on cutting and seaming the rolls (if this is your intentions please see steps 9-12 first). The turf can later be cut to any length although it is sold in 5 foot increments. By marking the area like this you will be able to actually see the size and shape.
+ Refer to your diagrams in your brochure to help determine a size and shape.
+ Once you see the size and shape make sure to practice your golf game a little. You may decide you need a larger green.
+ Use spray paint to mark the entire outside perimeter of the shape. This marked edge will be used as a reference point where your sub base material will be placed.
Be sure your green is accessible from other areas of the yard by chipping and pitching to the marked area.
Removing Grass or Sod
+ Whether you are doing an in-ground or an above ground installation use a sod cutter or shovel to remove the grass in the area you have marked with spray paint.
+ Remove any loose debris after the sod has been taken out.
Prepare the Ground
+ Compact the bare ground using your plate compactor to ensure a solid foundation for the crushed stone base.
+ Lay out the weed barrier on top of the ground in the area where the green will be installed. The weed barrier acts as a stabilization cloth and does not allow the crush stone sub base material to sink into the ground.
Add Your Border
Add an edging as a border along the entire outside perimeter of the area where your stone base material will go. This will ensure the base material will stay in the marked area and will not be pushed out beyond your area when compacting the base. If you are using a block border or retaining wall then the weight of the block will hold the base in place.
Add Your Base
+ Make sure to distribute the sub base material evenly. Work with a yard rake spread out the sub base material so that it is consistently flat.
+ Use a shovel to move the large amounts of sub base material and the flat side of a rack to smooth out any rough areas of the sub base.
Drainage will come off the top of the green, not through the green. Drainage through the green would eventually deteriorate the packed sub base. There must be a slight slope to the sub base for proper water drainage. A good rule of thumb is a 1 inch drop for every 10 to 12 feet in length.
Compact The Base
If you do not compact the sub base material properly it will eventually settle in a way that will cause irregularities in the surface of your putting green. These irregularities adversely affect the roll of your ball when putting. Remember that the plate compactor can be rented from any local rental facility.
+ With your garden hose’s spray nozzle wet the sub base lightly. Do NOT saturate it.
+ Now compact the sub base. To ensure good solid compaction, make sure to compact the sub base several times the length and width of the area.
If there are any small bumps, ridges, or irregular dips remaining smooth them out with your rack or shovel. Use a 2 x 4 to screed or level the base material. You may notice low spots or dips on your base. Chances are that you have a low spot on the sub base that needs to be filled.
Your main goal is to keep the surface consistently flat, smooth and solid.
+ Adding undulations or contours is easy.
+ Add additional base material to that area.
+ Shape it with your rake until you have the desired contour and undulation.
+ Compact that area with your plate compactor. Understand a 1 inch rise over 1 to 2 feet will add a lot of contour once the putting green is added.
The putting green turf is designed to fit like a glove to the surface. If you add too much slope to your sub base material the ball will roll very fast and may roll off your green.
A good basic guideline is for every 10 to 12 ft in the length of your sub base you will drop the slope 1 inch
To determine whether you have enough or too much slope or contour- after the sub base material is completely compacted take a golf ball and putt on the sub base.
The ball will break the same on the sub base as it will when you install the putting green. Your sub base should be a minimum depth of 4 inches when compaction is complete.
Make sure the sub base is the way you want it. If you want to add or take away extra slopes or contours now is the time to do it. However, if you make any changes to the sub base then you must re-compact the sub base after the changes are made. Once the putting green and the infill is added it is difficult to adjust the contours of the sub base.
Tips courtesy of MyGolfSpy