Things to Consider With Your Outdoor Putting Green Design

Most instructors, for golf or any sport, will tell you practice makes perfect. What better way to practice than to have a putting green in the comfort of your backyard, especially when time is an issue.

When designing your outdoor putting green there are a number of variables to think about (in this order).

  • Cost
  • Practice
  • Location
  • Turf
  • Contour/Cup location
  • Amenities

First things first, what are you able to invest into your practice green? Once you’ve set a budget it’s easy to base your design around what you can afford. The cost of a putting green is similar to a paver patio. If you are contracting the work out or doing it yourself the price can vary drastically. The biggest variable is the turf costing anywhere from $1.25 a square foot to $12 a square foot.

Think about what you need to practice most? Is it putting or chipping? Do you miss those 5 foot putts or make them? You need to decide what is more important for you to work on. If you find the need to practice more chipping you might change the location of your green–especially if you wanted it near any glass windows.

Plus, will you be the only person using the green? Often family and friends including children want to enjoy your putting green as well. What do you want them to practice? Depending on your friend’s handicap, you might want them to only be able to putt. However, most greens incorporate chipping and putting.

Location: It’s best to find a relatively flat area to install a green. However, if you have a good installer they will be able to combat issues including severe grade and drainage. It’s important to keep your green out of any potential standing water and/or flood planes.

If your green is going to be used primarily for practice you should position it in an area that is most functional. Look around for grade variances already in your yard. The varying grades will allow you to have different angles of open and closed faced shots. Are you lucky enough to have enough land to make a 40yard shot? If so, take advantage of it and put your green in an area that will allow you to make those shots.

If you are using your green more for entertainment, put it in an area that is already communal. You’ll find you need a place to sit after a while. Often, greens are installed adjacent to patios or pools. It makes you feel like you live on the course even if you don’t.

There are many different turf companies to choose from. Each turf has positive and negative attributes. Turf selection should depend on your purpose for the green. There are 3 different types of turf-nylon, polypropylene, and hybrid.

Nylon is a good choice for someone who isn’t going to be hitting longer shots into the green. You are limited with controlling speed or roll with a nylon turf. Nylon also has its limitations on holding a ball. It won’t hold longer shots like an in-filled turf. A nice aspect of nylon is it requires very little maintenance and has longevity. This turf is non-sand infill increasing life expectancy.

Polypropylene requires sand in-fill. You can control ball speed and roll with this turf. It will hold a shot from longer distances. This turf is less expensive, but does not have the life expectancy of nylon. In order to maintain ball speed and roll you have to keep it filled with sand. This may be labor intensive and daunting if you aren’t on a maintenance schedule with your contractor.

Hybrids are typically your fairway, rough, and first cut turfs. These turfs can be either in-fill or non in-fill.

Contour/Cup Location:
Always be prepared. Think about and make a drawing of the types of putts you want to make. Most people want a break left/right (is possible with one break just switch the direction you are hitting from) and an area for a straight flat putt. The larger your green the more contour/tiers you can add. Make sure you have a path designated for water flow. Remember water drains off not through.

It is very important to putt on the base once it is completed. This will help determine where to put your cups. Most people want to crowd their green with too many cups. The fewer cups you have the more room you acquire around the green. If you want to chip, arrange the cups so you have different distances to target for your shot.

Wouldn’t it be nice to putt in the dark? Imagine its midnight and you can still practice your game. Spot lighting can sometimes cause a shadow. It’s best to have a high voltage light at ground level.

There are many companies who manufacture and supply most golf courses with tee markers and many other accessories. Pick up a catalog or go online and look at your options. You can really personalize your green with a custom course marker or bag caddie.

Most of you have been thinking about designing your own green for years. Hopefully the information provided here gives you insight to the design process. The most truly rewarding part of having your own putting green is that nobody will have one exactly like yours. They are truly unique providing you with a lower handicap and your friends and family with entertainment for years to come.