How to Build a Backyard Putting Green

Pipe Dream or Reality?

Having a beautiful, high quality putting green in your backyard sounds like a dream.  It also sounds like something that’s out of reach for regular golfers, but that doesn’t have to be the case.  If you’re willing to invest some elbow grease (and, of course, some money), you can start dialing in your short game from the comfort of your own home.  With our friends over at Golf Anytime (visit them HERE), we present this guide to DIY Backyard Putting Greens.

Choose the Site

As with many projects, the work you put in ahead of time will often dictate how successful you are.  When you choose a site for your backyard putting green, be sure to select a space that drains well.  You want some pitch to the surface so that it doesn’t collect water, but no more than a 3% slope is recommended.

Suggested Tools

The recommended tools for this job include: shovel, rake, gloves, sod cutter, post hole digger, chalk, utility knife, screwdriver, air compressor, tape measure, push broom, wheelbarrow, carpet kicker, plate compactor, tacky tar seal tape, narrow crown and a staple gun.

That list looks long, but many of these items are garage basics that you probably already have.  If there are things you’re missing, consider talking to your neighbors before running to the hardware store.

Preparing the Site

Start by marking your green’s outline with chalk or spray paint, then remove all the grass and weeds inside that area.  You may want to set some of the grass to the side to use later for finishing the area around the green.  You might also consider spraying some weed killer throughout the area to prevent future growth.

Next, use a rake and broom to level the area and create the contours you want.  Take your time with this!  Rushing this step can leave you with a lumpy green.  Cover the area with compact aggregate and then compact the entire area with the plate compactor.

Installing Your Green

The following steps relate specifically to the XGrass kits sold by Golf Anytime (view kits HERE) but the steps will be similar for most DIY kits.

First, unpack all your materials and lay them out near your green site.  Unroll the turf, ideally in the sun, so it can flatten.  Next, place the geo-textile fabric over the compact aggregate and then lay the base panels over that.  Lay out the base panels starting at the outside and work toward the center panels, then click them together.

The next major process is installing the cups.  Outline your hole locations on the base panels with a permanent marker or pen.  Cut through the geo-textile with the utility knife and then dig a hole with the post hole digger.  Your hole should be approximately 8″ in diameter and 8″ deep.  Place your cup in the hole to check the fit, and back-fill the hole a little so the bottom sits on aggregate.  Once you have the depth right, use aggregate to fill around the cup, too.  After the hole is positioned, click the base panels back in place and finish installing the cup kit.

Finally, you’ll install the turf.  Roll it out over the base panels leaving 16″-18″ from the panel edge for fringe.  Next, lay out the fringe turf matching the numbers on the panels to the pieces of pre-cut turf.  Now you’ll fit the fringe seams together using a utility knife to clean up any overlap.  Using a staple gun, secure the fringe turf around the edge of the green.  After that, you’ll use the carpet kicker to smooth the putting turf and then staple it to the base panels.  You can also staple where the putting surface meets the fringe.  Using a seam roller will make the fringe look more finished and natural.  The very last step will be cutting the putting turf for the holes.  Poke a hole in the middle of the cup, make an X toward the edges, then cut the edge of the circle using the cup as your guide.

Project Complete!

With your new backyard putting green, your house is sure to become the favorite hangout of all your golf friends.  And with your superior knowledge of every break on the green – you created them – you can start recouping the cost of the green by racking up wins in backyard putting matches.

Have you built a backyard putting green?

Have any tips to share?  Let us know in the comments section!

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Matt Saternus

Founder, Editor In Chief at PluggedInGolf.com
Matt is the Founder and Editor in Chief of Plugged In Golf. He's worked in nearly every job in the golf industry from club fitting to instruction to writing and speaking. Matt lives in the northwest suburbs of Chicago with his wife and two daughters.

2 Comments

  1. Timothy Lawrence Granville

    I built a backyard putting green a few years ago. You can cut the cost by more than half of the product in the review if you are willing to remove a few inches of soil and replace it with gravel and limestone screenings. This removes the need for a costly rubber base material and gives you more control over the slope of your putting surface. I live in Chicago and after three seasons of extreme heat and cold it still looks and performs like day 1. I’m willing to share pictures and details of how I installed it and the materials I used.

  2. Neil Esposito

    Please do! I would really like to see those pics!

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