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How to Build a Backyard Golf Green

How to Build Your Practice Green

U.S. President Barack Obama and Vice President Joe Biden practice on the White House putting green.
U.S. President Barack Obama and Vice President Joe Biden practice on the White House putting green.
© Pete Souza/White House/Handout/Corbis

Here's a list of the tools and materials you'll need:

  • Synthetic grass
  • Road base
  • Crusher dust
  • A turf cutter (optional)
  • Landscape fabric (optional)
  • Rubber panels (optional)
  • A rake and hoe
  • A vibrating-plate compactor
  • Post-hole digger
  • Weed-mat pins
  • Utility knife
  • Set-out paint
  • Sand
  • Golf cup
  • Drawing materials: graph paper, a pencil, ruler and compass.
  • Tape measure

First, measure your yard, decide where you're going to put your green, and then draw a diagram of the project, so that you can plan what you're going to build. Some turf supply companies have mapping and planning programs on their Web sites, which you can use also [source: Smith].


Next, use paint to mark the area. Then, remove the existing grass, either using a turf cutter or a rake and a hoe [source: Smith]. Once you've got the space cleared down to the soil, it's time to add the road base, a coarse material that'll lie beneath the green. Use a rake to spread it out evenly, so that all the hollows are filled. Then use the vibrating-plate compactor to smash down the base really well. Add the crusher dust, and then compact it, too [source: Better Homes and Gardens].

Alternately, if you don't want to use road base, you can use a rake to sculpt the existing bare soil, and then cover it with a material called landscape fabric and rubber panels that you can buy from your artificial turf supplier. This method allows you to create contours that duplicate the breaks on holes from the actual golf course where you play [source: Smith].

Now it's time to dig the hole for your golf cup. A post-hole digger is the ideal tool for making a nice, neat hole. You may want to put more than one hole on your green, depending upon the size, so that a friend can practice at the same time.

Then, lay down the sheet of synthetic grass. Get a friend to help you as you pull the turf taut, and then fix it in place by hammering in the weed-mat pins. As you work your way around the edges, use the utility knife to trim away any excess grass. You want to leave a small amount — about a foot and a half — extending past the edge of the green, so that you can form a slope. Cut small slits along the slope, if necessary, to get the grass sheet to conform to the contour.

Add some sand to the synthetic grass and rake it in. The extra weight will help secure the grass, and it'll also make the surface behave more like real grass when you putt a ball across it. Finally, insert your cup or cups and the flag sticks, and you're ready to putt [source: Better Homes and Gardens].

Author's Note: How to Build a Backyard Golf Green

I've been to a driving range and putted a golf ball on a practice green, but I never really took up the sport of golf in earnest. When I was young, I liked sports that involved aerobic exertion and team competition, and didn't require the precise mechanics that are required for a good golf swing. I also didn't like the idea of having to wear a pair of shoes with spikes on the bottoms, out of a deep-seated fear that I'd accidentally step on my own feet. Over the years, though, I've gotten to know a few golf devotees, and I'm starting to get a sense of why they love the game so much. It's a game whose rituals provide a sense of order, and whose pace allows a person to contemplate the experience as it unfolds.

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