A putting green in your backyard with real grass might seem like a never-ending project. But it actually only takes a work week during the summer vacations. Or if your children are ready to help, less than a work week. The rewards reaped from these efforts are much greater. You have your private putt practice on real turf-like conditions. You can have mini-tournaments with your friends. The grass makes a very romantic picnic spot. The greens are more than a one-time project. They are like a pet that requires constant care and maintenance. But just like pets, they become an integral and lovable part of your life.
In this post, we explain how to build a putting green with real grass. This is a general process. You should seek opinions from the local landscapers and naturalists to finalize a good plan. With their knowledge you can fill in the parts of this bare bones plan. Be ready to get your hands dirty. The building project is short and exciting but the maintenance is perpetual and rewarding. With any luck, you will have a beautiful full-grown putting green 5 steps from your porch. You will get the authentic putting experience, not the ‘almost accurate’ one lent by artificial grass.
What Will You Need To Build A Putting Green With Real Grass?
- Gardening tools
- Garden roller
- Drainage Tiles
- Greens mower
We are serious. You need patience and strong will to get a putting green going. If you keep yourself inspired and smart you can do it inside of $3000.
- Gardening Tools:
Since putting green is a longstanding investment, you might as well have some gardening tools handy.
- A hoe will be required to remove the native weeds and grass and dig up the soil.
- A pick axe can be used to break the tough earth in the intended area of the putting green.
- A rake can be used to stir the soil.
- Watering cans will be handy to water the grass as required.
- A shovel is required for making drains and other purposes.
- Gardening gloves are essential to keep your hands clean and unharmed.
- Garden Roller:
This helps to prepare the soil into the undulations of your expected levels of challenge. The soil must be plain before you plant the grass. A plastic roller helps smoothen the topography.
There are two major types of grass used for this purpose:
- Creeping Bent grass
- Bermuda grass
You have to find the grass that suits the climactic conditions and soil of your region. Talking to people at local golf courses can help.
- Drainage Tiles:
You need the excess water to drain out from under the greens. Tile drainage or drainage pipe will make an outlet for the water into the main drainage pipe.
Fertilizer suited to the grass you have chosen will help the growth of your prized putting green along. You will have to do some research online to check which fertilizer suits the grass you planted best.
Grass seeds are often littered with weed seeds. Or weeds may break through the turf from soil underneath. Fungicide applied once a month will kill the weeds. Choose fungicide wisely according to the grass you planted and the area you live in.
You need to close off the putting green from areas where the people and pets can trample all over it. You also need to separate the greens from other lands from where weeds could spread to the green.
- Greens Mower:
This is the specialized type of mower used to mow grass evenly and finely to a small height of around ¼ inch. You would need one 3-4 time a week. Reel mowers can be found online in good deals.
Step By Step Instructions
Location of the putting green is not simply based on your convenience or aesthetics. You should also consider the growth of the grass. For this you require a place with:
- Percolation check
The green should be located in full view of the sun for optimum growth and performance just like in the golf course. Don’t let it be shadowed by a tall building.
The putting should be properly ventilated just like the golf course is so that greens can grow healthy.
- Percolation check:
You need to check if the land has proper irrigation. Water is cardinal for the growth of any life on the soil.
Low-lying areas with insufficient drainage should be avoided. Waterlogging will simply strangle the grass. You can check the drainage with a percolation test. You can shovel out the soil within a 2-feet narrow pit. Fill it with water and check how fast it drains. For clay-ridden soil which can still support growth the drainage time should be 12-24 hours. For good soil, it’s under 12 hours.
Plan out how big you want the putting green to be. Stake the borders of the intended area so that the goal is always in sight.
2. Soil Evaluation:
You should evaluate the soil to check if it’s suitable to grow the grass on. Sandy loamy soil is the best type of soil that supports grass root zone. Sand with high concentration of clay is not suitable for growing the grass. Soil which does not drain quickly is also not a good option. You can run the percolation test to check how well the soil drains.
3. Drainage System:
We cannot emphasize how important drainage is. There are two methods to ensure good drainage:
- Drainage Tiles
You should shape the land such that the putting green doesn’t have any drastic low-lying areas where water could be held hostage.
- Drainage Tiles:
You should install drainage tiles or pipes to route excess water out of the putting green. Make multiple narrow channels at maximum 10 feet distance from each other. Place filter fabric at the 2-feet mark from the surface and place the drainage system over it. Level with gravel and then add soil.
This short video collage shows an efficient drainage system in the first few seconds:
4. Soil preparation:
Start the soil work in spring preferably. This gives the grass the best conditions to thrive.
- Use a hoe to dig up the soil at least 2 feet.
- Use a pickaxe to break through tough soil and rocks to install the drainage tiles.
- Use a rake or a tiller to stir the soil and aerate it. This provided better growth and consistent littering of the seeds.
- Line the borders with plastic to avoid weed growth in the soil.
- Spread out the soil evenly across the decided plot in step one. Use the plastic roller for smoothening and creating undulations.
- Use gardening equipment like bulb planter to create a hole on the putting green where you can put a putting cup.
5. Planting grass:
Mix grass seeds with some sand if there’s a bird pecking problem. Seeding should be done at 0.5 pound seed per 1000 sq. ft..
This video provides more information about grasses and fertilization:
The better idea is to purchase rolled sod that can be rolled into the designated area. A sod solution was adopted in the video below. It significantly reduces work.
6. Fertilize and Water:
Fertilize the planted land with natural manure or fertilizer chosen for the particular grass type. Water the greens twice daily. Water is the primary nourishment at this point. Long range sprinklers from home depot installed at the edge of the green should do the work.
Rent or buy a greens mower. The normal land mower is not capable of maintaining the grass height at ¼ inches which is optimum for the putting green. Walk with light steps while mowing the grass. In good time, the root network strengthens the soil and mows uniformly
Administer fungicide once a month to keep the weeds on the outside.
9. Putt cup and flag:
When the putting green is ready to play, insert a putting cup going ½ inch in to the ground. Plant the flag through the cup. This ensures that the putting cup is level. Otherwise, it will spit up your golf ball
Although the maintenance of the putting green goes on for a while, the creation need not take that much time. Once you have the playing turf in your backyard it should tempt you to maintain it. It serves as a regular hobby for the seniors, a pass time for the weekend golfers and an obsession for the tour golfer. Location and drainage are key to making a great putting green fast. Drainage system must be carefully designed. We reiterate that you should enlist help from the gardening enthusiasts and landscapers for the best local advice on grasses and their planting.
Make sure you make your efforts count by properly watering and fertilizing the putting green on regular intervals. Even when you take vacations, somebody must be charged with watering the grass.
We hope that this tutorial gave you the basic idea of building a putting green and inspired you to believe it’s worth it. If you found our advice helpful, leave us a comment below. Don’t hesitate to share our rich resources with your golf buddies.