Well, folks, I’ve moved into my new place that has a “yard” finally. It’s a small yard but one of the first things I did was to build my own DIY backyard putting green.
I used to work at the golf course so I know a little bit about growing grass but this DIY putting green was just something created out of my head after doing some research online.
There’s a lot of crap information out there telling you that you need a drainage system, well, I think that’s overkill for your backyard.
Instead, you can use some basic stuff to put together a small DIY putting green for about $100.
Of course, my putting green isn’t finished by all means but let me share with you what I did in just 3 hours to make a mini putting green.
Also, I don’t really need a huge putting green, I just need a small putting green so I can practice some short putts 10 feet in, which is what I practice most anyways and the most important putts.
First, you will need to get some putting green grass. If you live in a hot weather southern area like Texas, you will want to grow some bermuda grass.
If you live in a cold weather area like me near the ocean, you will want to grow some bentgrass.
I personally prefer bentgrass over bermuda because it’s more finer surface to putt on and there’s less grain. You can still grow some bentgrass in hot areas, perhaps you can put a canopy tent over it so your grass is always under some shade, that could be a solution.
Bentgrass has many different types but the most popular is the Penncross Creeping Bentgrass, which was developed at Penn State in the 50s. I guess this is the most popular putting green grass used on also major championship golf courses.
Anyways, I ordered 5 pounds of Penncross Creeping Bentgrass off Amazon for $54.99. Btw, you can’t get bentgrass seeds from retail stores like Home Depot, OSH, or Lowes, the seeds they sell are mostly mix of fescue, bluegrass, and other types of grass. They will NOT work for your putting green so don’t get them!
Second, I bought some edging for my new mini putting green to block it away from the rest of my lawn as I don’t want other grass/weed growing on my new putting green. Since I have plans for extending my new putting green later down the line, I bought edging that could be easily lifted off later. These Fiber Edges are pretty good and what I am using, $37.12 on Amazon.
So, I started digging couple days back, my original idea was to just make a tiny bit of green to replicate it slowly to the rest of my lawn but I decided at last minute to just use the whole edging I bought to make around 6x6x6 green.
I first laid out my edging as shown below and used the stakes it came with to hold it in place.
Next, I wanted to put the edging in first so I dug up the edges and secured my edging.
Next, I started digging up everything and putting the dirt on the sides. This is my first time actually making a backyard green so I just improvised as I went along.
Next, I was going to filter out all the old grass and weed but that was going to take me all day to do. Since I was going to lay some weedblocker over, I simply dumped all the old grass back onto the green but making it so the surface is flat.
This particular part of the lawn sits on a big slope so I used the dirt I excavated to re-adjust the slope so I will end up with a relatively flat green with a slight slope.
As you can see from the sideview, I’ve used my edging to add some flatness to my new putting green so it’s not as sloped as the rest of the yard is.
Next, I cut up the rolls of weedblocker and used the weedblocker staples to put them on the new putting green so weed and the old grass won’t grow into my new green.
I bought 3 cubic feet of some garden soil and dumped the whole thing on top.
Since I was winging this whole putting green, I used my tennis shoes to pat down on the garden soil to compact it a bit and did lots of swiping with my feet to get everything evenly surfaced. I am sure you can do better than this but I didn’t want to take another trip to the hardware store at this point, I wanted to finish the job.
But it did end up pretty nice as you can see, it’s pretty even.
Next, I spread the Penncross Creeping Bentgrass seeds all over the garden soil.
For the final finish, I topped it off with a slight layer of sand to keep the seeds from sun burns.
I think the whole thing cost me just over a hundred dollars and I was surprised even at myself for finishing the whole green in just matter of hours.
Some more thoughts.
I intentionally picked the most sloped part of my lawn, since it’s the least used plus water would drain well. I would try to find a slightly sloped surface to put your backyard putting green since it will drain better plus you need a slight slope to practice different right-to-left and left-to-right putts. (Why would you practice straight putts only?!?)
I figure that would also save me thousands of dollars or more hours over building a full-out drainage system, just build it on a slope.
With my new putting green, I can practice right-to-left putts, left-to-right putts, straight putts, and downhill/uphill putts. I can’t practice long putts on it but I am planning for that later down the road.
Cutting the Greens
For true putting, I will eventually need to get a low-cutting mower that is able to cut less than 1/2 inch , which costs over/around $1,000 on average.
Most lawnmowers can really only cut up to about an inch at most but I found this bentgrass mower online that can cut up to 1/2 inch in height. At 1/2 inch, I might still have a decent green so we will see and perhaps I can hack the bentgrass mower to cut it even lower.
Why did I build this green?
Honestly, I’ve always wanted to putt in the comfort of my backyard because it’s such a big part of your golf game. You can go to your local golf course and practice but it’s not going to be the same with all that foot traffic everyone else dumps on the practice green. With my own putting green, I won’t blame anyone but myself.
Also, I’ve always wanted to record some putting green HOWTO videos for this blog but I can’t carry my heavy tri-pod and DSLR camera everytime I go to the golf course but this makes it possible for me to do that.
Why did I not get a synthetic green?
I just don’t think synthetic greens are anywhere near real putting greens. Plus, I love growing grass, it’s one of the most rewarding things to do when you see your seeds grow.
Anyways, I will have an updated photo/video of my new putting green in about 10 days when it should have grown fully.