Q: Is it possible to install my own putting green in my back yard? I have about two thousand square feet in full sunshine. Where can I purchase greens mix?
A: It is possible in theory but devilishly difficult in practice.
Most golf pro’s say that they “drive for show and putt for dough”. This recognizes the fact that working on your short game is where you’ll pick up the most strokes. Rather than having to drive to the nearest golf course to practice, walking out the back door to practice on a private green is appealing to many golfers.
Maintaining a green properly, though, is very hard work! In order for the Bermudagrass or bentgrass to be mowed at a height of one-half inch or lower it has to have a tremendous root system. To keep the grass at peak health, the green must be watered nearly every day. For both those reasons the United States Golf Association (USGA) has researched the best mix of sand and organic matter to use on a green. The USGA greens mix contains three different specific sizes of sand and a small proportion of organic matter. You can purchase the greens mix in bulk from companies which specialize in golf course construction.
However, good soil is only the first step toward a proper green. You also have to plant and maintain the grass. Mowing at such low heights mandates a special mower, which costs several hundred dollars. Fertilizer, fungicide and herbicide applications have to be timed precisely to keep the grass pristine. If you care to attempt this challenge, more power to you – but this is one project that I think is above the skills of most homeowners.
An alternative to installing a natural green is to put in an artificial green. A synthetic grass turf can be laid over compacted stone and sand in any shape or sunlight situation you care to use. The “grass” is sanded just like a natural green to increase its speed, ball hold and playability. Although the price is not inexpensive, a synthetic green is much, much less trouble to manage.