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DIY Putting Green

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BLACK+DECKER B+D Contributor 193 Projects

Serious golfers often say they “drive for show and putt for dough,” and most of them practice putting at every opportunity. For these folks, a backyard putting green is the very definition of luxury. 

Natural grass putting greens offer the ultimate in luxurious golf environments at home, but they require special breeds of grass and very specialized maintenance that very few people have the time or equipment to provide. But if you are willing to forego the smell of the fresh-cut Bermuda grass and the feel of a well-tended green underfoot, you’ll find that there are a number of artificial putting green options that offer a chance to hone your putting stroke.

The panels and turf we used for this project are available from backyard-putting-greens.com. The system is easy to install and produces a good practice surface—a fine combination when it comes to putting greens.

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Backyard putting greens give golfers a whole new way to have fun and perfect their game. Special kits, including panels and artificial turf, make building one an easy weekend project.

Designing a Backyard Putting Green

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Choose an above-ground green for seasonal use or even to use indoors. They lack a bit of authenticity, but they are very convenient.

Kit accessories, such as pins and edge liners, give a backyard putting green a more genuine flavor. A chipping mat can be positioned around the green to let you work on your close-in short game without destroying your yard. 

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Artificial turf comes in an array of styles and lengths. Lower nap products, like the two samples to the left, are best for putting greens.



How to Install a Putting Green

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    Diagram your putting green on graph paper, including cup locations. If you are ordering your kit from an Internet seller, they probably have a mapping and planning program on their site. Order panels and turf as necessary to create your putting green.

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    As soon as it arrives, unroll the turf and spray it with water to saturate. Set the turf aside and let it dry for at least 24 hours. This process preshrinks the turf. 

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    Measure the installation area and mark the perimeter of the putting green, using a garden hose or rope. Lift the hose or rope and spray-paint the green’s outline onto the grass. Some putting green kits are precut to create specific shapes and sizes, while others offer a bit more design flexibility.

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    Inside the outlined area, use a line trimmer to scalp the grass down to the dirt. Rake up and remove any debris.

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    Add sand or remove dirt as necessary to create contours in the putting green. Kit manufacturers suggest that you create the contours that replicate the breaks you most want to practice. For example, if you have trouble hitting uphill and to the right, create a hill and place the cup at the top and to the right.

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    Cover the scalped and contoured installation area with landscape fabric, overlapping seams by at least 2". Trim the fabric to fit inside the outline and secure it to the ground with landscape fabric staples.

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    Starting in the center of the installation area, push two panels together and hold them tightly in place as you insert the fasteners. Use a screwdriver to tighten the fasteners. Install the panels in locations indicated on your diagram. 

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    Continue to fill in panels, according to your plan. Take special notice of putting cup locations. In many kits, these require special panels with cups preinstalled. Locate them accurately.

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    Where panels go beyond the outline, use a light-colored crayon or chalk to mark a cutting line. Avoid cutting extremely close to panel edges.

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    One panel at a time, cut panels to shape, using a jigsaw with a blade that’s slightly longer than the panel thickness. Use panel scraps to fill in open areas in the layout wherever you can, and then mark and cut the scraps to fit.

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    Dig a 4"-wide by 4"-deep trench around the perimeter of the green shape, directly next to the edges of the panels.

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    Unroll the artificial turf on top of the panels. Pay attention to the nap of the turf to make sure it all runs in the same direction. Use a utility knife to cut it to size, 4" larger than the panel assembly.


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    Install the cups into the panels containing the cup bodies, and then cut holes in the turf with a utility knife.

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    Fold back the edges of the turf. Apply double-sided carpet tape to the perimeter of the panel assembly. Peel off the tape’s protective cover, then press the turf down onto the tape. Fold the excess turf over the edge of the panel assembly and down into the trench. If the turf bulges around a tight radius, make 3.5" slashes in the edge of the turf and ease it around the curve.

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    Drive carpet spikes or fabric spikes (provided by the kit manufacturer) through the edges of the turf and into the trench to secure the turf.

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    Backfill the trench with the soil you removed earlier. Add landscaping around the edges of the green, if desired. Sweep and hose down the green periodically and as needed.

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