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Building my own chipping green

edited August 2011 in Putting and Chipping Greens 0.00 Karma
Maybe I'm crazy,(ok, I know I'm crazy!)but I have always wanted to build my own green. I have started on it, and I was wondering if someone could enlighten me as to what type of grass they use on golf courses?? I think it's Bermuda down here..but that's expensive!! WHat else can I use?? I want a slower paced green, if that helps in grass selection. The green is going to be about 25 feet across, and maybe about 20 feet in diameter, I haven't really decided yet..It's going to have some wicked breaks. I'm thinking later, I can put in a deep bunker, and maybe make a teebox, abut 160 yards away.. I can't wait to build one!
Should be sweet..


  • 0.00 KarmaPosts: 0
    I know that Bermuda is popular but I have read that creeping bentgrass is another type useful in cooler climates and this will stay green throughout the Winter. I wish you luck with this as it's something I have tried myself.
  • 0.00 KarmaPosts: 0
    How big is your yard? I don't really know if I would want to golf in my yard, if I didn't have enough space to do it right.
  • 0.00 KarmaPosts: 0
    Sounds like an interesting plan, I suppose.

    A few things- to start, have you thought at all about the planned sizing? I mean, I assume you're going for something relatively round/square with regards to shape - giving you perhaps 625 sq. ft. Keeping in mind of course that a large percentage of PGA Tour stops have greens easily 10 times the size of that, I'd think that once you put in the 160yd tee, you're going to put yourself through more frustration than you really need to be. After all, if you're shooting for 160 yards to the dance floor, I'd have to assume you've got a fair bit of land to work with - why not make it at least a bit larger? 25 feet wide (assuming the pin is relatively centered) doesn't give you a putt much over 10 feet at any one time.

    Climate is going to have to play a roll in the selection of grass, as obviously not everything grows everywhere, and dependent on what climate zone you're in, you'll generally find far different kinds of foliage there than in any other - there is no universal best grass. Of course, there are hybrids too, variations of many of the main ones that may offer a slightly different surface, growth pattern, be heartier (better for the cooler climates), resist drought better, etc.

    When it comes to the routing of the green, you have to remember that it's not just about putting "wicked breaks" down, the green has to have a certain form. Most every green has at least a couple predominate spines - these are relevant to drainage of the green, as you need the water to flow off the surface as much as possible; pooling water will inevitably result in destruction of the green.

    If you're planning to keep the green running slower, you thus need either 1) more significant slope off the spines to wick water away, or 2) more absorbant soil - ie. greater portions of sand vs. clay or silt, as the slower the green is, the greater the resistance of the grass to water following the slope, and thus the worse the drainage. Granted, if soil type isn't an encouraging habitat for the grass you're planning to use, then you'll never be able to grow anything. A thin layer of topsoil won't do it either, you're going to need either a significant amount, or stick to the native soil. By the way, in order to figure out what kind of soil is on your land, you either need to get a historic land plot with that sort of information on it, or (preferably, due to the possibility of alternate soil introduction over the years) get a sample of the soil on your land tested.

    To give you an idea of the range of soil types, here's a basic chart:

    as well as a VERY basic self-test you can do to help determine soil type (any results should be taken with a grain of salt, as it is incredibly easy to make slight errors, which will throw off the results:

    Of course, once everything is in place and the grass has grown, maintenance comes into play. You have to figure out how you're going to cut out the hole, and a grass cutting schedule for the green - you can't just mow it here and there, and neglect to do so for a couple weeks if you don't happen to be using the green at that time, because cutting off more than a third of the blade at a time can result in the grass burning in the summer months... as well as many other things. This is especially crucial when keeping it as tightly cut as you'll no doubt want to for a putting green.

    That's just a start, there's far more reading into it you should probably do before starting this project in earnest. I'm not trying to put you off the idea, but to have any sort of success in constructing this, you need to take the necessary precautions - it's not just shovel into earth, seed, and smack balls around, as much as any of us would like to think it is.
  • 0.00 KarmaPosts: 0

    Why not just build an artificial green?

    It's a lot easier and zero maintenance. All it takes is a base of crushed aggregate compacted and contoured for drainage and an atifical grass surface which is affixed to the base via sod staples at the edges. Cups are cut in prior to the installation of the surface and the "turf" is glued to the edges of the cups and trimmed to expose the hole. The speed of the green is dictated by the volume of sand swept onto the artificial turf and the sand also serves as a weight to hold the turf in place.

    Natural grass can be grown right up to the edges and can be maintained as a short-cut fringe or simply cut as a normal lawn would be.

    Artificial greens can be purchased as pre-sized kits or ordered in one-piece custom sizes. The price per square foot for the turf material can be as low as about $3.00 and can go as high as about $5.00. So a 25-foot diameter green, which equals a shade under 800 sq. ft. would cost about $2400 to $4000 for the material. Th accessories like the cups, flags, staples, etc. would only be around $100 or so depending on how many holes you want to have.

    There are different turf materials for different applications. You can set up your green as a putting green, a putting/chipping green, or as a pitching green. The application will determine the type of material and the amount of sand used.

    With base material, and any necessary equipment, a green the size you're contemplating would cost a maximum of under $5,000, but more realistically it would likely be around $3,500 to $4500.

    There's no maintenance other than an occasional cleaning unlike natural turf greens which require a prodigious amount of fertilizer, fungicides and other pesticides as well as regular mowing, (mowers for putting greens are not cheap to buy OR maintain), and that's not to mention periodic aeration and overseeding.

    I think they're a great alternative.

    Food for thought.

    Here's some links:
  • 0.00 KarmaPosts: 0
    Although I agree with JPsuff that a synthetic green is probably the way to go, you may be the type who enjoys cutting and trimming and fussing over a natural green! Here's a link I found last year when I was considering doing the same thing. It's to a supplier of seeds, mowers, soil test kits, etc. Basically everything you'll need except the sweat!

    Probably other places to get the same stuff, this is just the only link I kept for some reason. And no, I never went through with the home putting green, as the money has been spent on other necessities (like food, mortgage, etc.!).

    Good luck with yours, I'd be interested to know what you decide to use and how it turns out!
  • 0.00 KarmaPosts: 0
    Call me crazy but I would like to do this someday when I have a place with some space is make a 2 or 3 hole whiffle ball course. Just use local short grass for the "fairway" and artificial grass for the "green" and swap from whiffle to regular ball for putting.

    How about that, crazy, right, but cheap and flexible.
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