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DIY Backyard Putting Green. Lots of Pics and Writing ***UPDATED CLOSE UP PICS***

DIY Putting Green

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#1 RobK

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Posted 24 March 2017 - 11:19 PM

DIY Putting Green

Last spring I started a project I had dreamt about for many years. My yard is not very large and with 3 young kids, play area is at a premium. After lots of thinking, planning, research, I took the plunge. I had a nice little corner of my green that measured up nicely for a L shaped green measuring 15 x 14'. A job that I thought would be a weekend, quickly turned into a month and ultimately didn't get to where I wanted it until today. Almost an entire year in the making. I didn't have a huge budget, hence the DIY project. Local quotes ranged between $10-$25 per sq. foot. I was looking online at putting surfaces in the $3-$4 sq. foot price.

Starting point - Researching Products/Yard Planning

I realized real quickly that there are so many options for synthetic putting surfaces and the more I looked the more I learned. Real quickly I realized I wanted a putting surface that was nylon and not poly. I wasn't going to be chipping any more than 10 yards and I didn't want the constant maintenance of sand that the poly greens need. I live in the Lower Mainland, British Columbia, Canada, just outside of Vancouver and learned real quickly the synthetic market is going nuts here. After talking to many companies, nothing could compare in price and quality to an online dealer, www.allturfmats.com.  I definitely took a gamble on the product, but after reading lots about pile height and pile weight, their surfaces seemed as good as any of the top of the line landscapers in my area and a fraction of the cost. I ended up ordering a 15x14 Elite Par Putting Green. And the process was started.

Yard Prep.

I started out by following a greens on this site as well as this DIY tutorial - https://www.mygolfsp...putting-green/ Seemed easy enough. I mapped out an area of my yard and got down to work. I had a decent slope I needed to dig into and retain with some local rock, which I think turned out quite nice. I dug out about 2 feet of hard pan clay and started to level my putting area. Once all the sod was removed from the area and the rock was set in place I was able to get moving on my sub base.

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The sub base I used was 3/4 clear crushed rock. I laid about 3-5 inches on crushed 3/4 throughout the entire area and raked to level. At this point if I was to redo the entire process I would have made my high side (along the larger rocks) more level to start. I was under the impression it would be easy to just level it with the crushed rock, but as the process went along, it would have been easier starting from a perfectly level area. However, you live and learn. At this point I was unsure how much I was going to blend the green into my actual yard which is why there is such an abrupt end to the rock.

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After covering the entire area with crushed rock the second sub base was added. I added about 2-3" of road mulch. This mixture of 3/4 crushed rock, and crusher dust provided the perfect based to really start to see the layout of the green. I used a 15" plate compactor at this point to give the surface a nice pack. The road mulch with a light dusting of water, really started to form a very solid base.

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And this arrived....

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Truly a fantastic putting surface. I looked at many different samples locally and as I said early really gambled that this surface would be what I wanted and I was super impressed with it. Living close enough to the US border I was able to have it shipped to a local receiving depot in Sumas, WA. and picked it up from there saving hundreds in shipping costs. Overall the surface cost me $400 dollars including shipping! Can't be beat in my mind.

Finishing prep.

Once the road mulch was completed now onto the final stage of prep to the sub base. A thin coat of crusher dust (very fine rock). Starting at the top of my area I laid about 1" of the material and levelled it with a 2x4. Working from the top of the green to the low section I made sure the green was as level as I could make it. This process really worried me, as I was told many times the green will take the exact shape of the sub base. So after a couple of rounds of applying very thin layers and dragging the 2x4 along to reduce and low spots I was at a happy place. I again used very little water and the plate compactor to get it nice and solid. I also used a golf ball and soccer ball to test the slope and break of the sub base to get a feel for how it will perform. This was crucial to get an idea of where I was at. (more on this later)

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Now the green!

I started by laying the surface out on the sub base to get a feel for it and I hit a few putts. Again, the putting surface was better than I could have expected. The green rolled very very true.

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As the pictures show, I was able to use a nice sized cut off section from the lower section of the green to extend the green more into my yard and get the nice L shaped green I was after without spending a few extra $$ on the surface. I knew having a seam may not be as nice looking, it fit much better within the budget.

Once I had a rough layout of the green I was then able to start creating the contours of the layout. I started with a piece of chalk and drawing out the layout. With the advantage of having a deck above, I was able to get a nice view of the design from above. Once I was happy with the design and layout, I started the process of shaping the green. I went through many blades on my utility knives, changing every 3-5 feet. The sharper the knife the cleaner the cut. The membrane on the base of the putting surface was quite strong and with the sharp knife cut really nice.

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Now I am getting pumped!

Something that was just a dream was starting to look a lot more like a usable putting surface in my yard.

Now onto the fringe.

I had originally planned to order the fringe from allturfmats, but was really unsure with how much I would need and was really careful of my budget on the green. I ended up finding a local company that had a synthetic turf that was going to fit my budget and the look I wanted. Bella Turf based out of Langely, BC, https://bellaturf.ca/ had the Spring Pro that had a nice blend of green and thatch to produce a nice authentic look. I had a rough estimate of what I would need based on my current layout and went ahead and ordered a 5x13' section of the Spring Pro.

I picked a starting place and went for it. Again using many utility knife blades for a clean cut and making sure the grain of the synthetic turf was the same direction around the entire green. I started to cut, shape and place the fringe. I wanted to get as natural look as possible around the rocks, so I laid large sections of the turf along the rocks and then made vertical cuts into the fringe to allow the pieces to take the shape I wanted around the rocks. This was the hardest part in my mind, as I wanted it to be as perfect as I could get it.

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Once the piece was in place I continued to work around the putting surface. I was also advised to nail down the fringe with galvanized nails. This worked really well, but some areas for some reason didn't grab as well as I would have liked, but overall it was a great way to fix the fringe area to the sub base.

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At this point I needed to create a sub base for the fringe area as it worked into the yard further than I had originally planned. A little crushed 3/4 and road mulch and the plate compactor, and it was ready for more fringe.

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And this is where I left it...for the time being.

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Final Process - Pins - Cups.

All last summer I left the green as shown in the above photo. I ordered 3 cups and 3 pin flags, but wanted to just enjoy the green as it was and see how the layout worked. After a couple weeks I started to notice some areas I wanted to tweak, and because nothing was placed permanently it was something I was able to do in the future. The biggest change I wanted to tweak was the slope from the larger rocks down to the fence. I knew a slope of 1-2" for 10' was going to run fast, but I was pushing 2" - 2"1/2" and it was quicker than I wanted. So this weekend I figured I might as well make those changes and place the cups.

After another 3 wheelbarrows of road mulch and another two of crusher dust and a day with the plate compactor I was able to get a very nice gentle slope. I was super nervous as the surface was so smooth that I wouldn't be able to get it to that point again, but it turned out really well. I also put in two areas of gentle breaks, and really levelled out a few spots around the holes.

Placing the cups - Sorry I didn't take any photos of this, but I placed the cups where I wanted them, dug a deep 13" hole slightly larger than the cup size and filled it with 3/4" clear in the first 5" then laid landscape fabric, a 2" layer of road mulch, and then another layer of fabric just under where I placed the cup (to allow me to vacuum out debris when needed). Used the level. Had the cup about 1/8" above the surface and filled in the sides of the cup. I also used a 2x4 and hammered the sub based around the cup for a smooth surface. Once I did the first cup the other 2 went really smooth.

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I also found a piece of scrap turf and did a practice run of cutting the hole. I started with a x shape and then with a new blade in the utility knife, followed the outline of the outer edge of the cup to cut it to shape. Surprisingly, this wasn't to hard to get a nice clean cut.

And completed!!

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I couldn't be happier with how it has turned out. The surface rolls very well. I haven't taped any seams to the fringe or the seam in the green, but after all of last year, there is virtually not need too, as this also give me to freedom to tweak any breaks in the future. Overall I was able to build the entire green, fringe, sub base and cups and pins for $1100. While it was a bit more than I had planned, I am glad I went with a nice fringe material and didn't cheap out with a crushed rock surround. It also works really well for short chips. I will add a few more pictures tomorrow morning. If you have any questions please ask. I loved the process, I just wish I had the space for one twice the size with a green side bunker...next life time.

A few close up pictures...
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Just managed to get a reel mower on my backyard and the fairway like grass is kick a**.

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Cheers,
Rob

Edited by RobK, 23 July 2017 - 11:54 PM.


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#2 dingusflingers

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Posted 24 March 2017 - 11:40 PM

ʇɐǝɹƃ sʞool
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#3 RobK

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Posted 24 March 2017 - 11:43 PM

I know, these flipped pictures are pissing me off. No idea on how to rotate on this 1990's text editor.

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#4 Kenny Lee Puckett

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Posted 24 March 2017 - 11:58 PM

Rob,  nice thread contribution to WRX. thanks for sharing the DIY process of this project. definitely something for you to be proud of. enjoy it.
https://www.youtube....eature=youtu.be  video on course practice 5/2016

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#5 RobK

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Posted 25 March 2017 - 06:25 PM

View PostKenny Lee Puckett, on 24 March 2017 - 11:58 PM, said:

Rob,  nice thread contribution to WRX. thanks for sharing the DIY process of this project. definitely something for you to be proud of. enjoy it.

Thanks Kenny. I wish I could get the photos the right way. Thanks for your comment.


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#6 hacker49

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Posted 25 March 2017 - 06:51 PM

Looks really nice. I've installed artificial turf before for a dog run area so I know the work involved. We didn't have to worry about level and such so we had it easier than you.

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#7 Leftymoose

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Posted 25 March 2017 - 07:15 PM

That is an awesome set up. Congrats. I'd love that in my yard
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#8 Yrrdead

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Posted 26 March 2017 - 03:48 AM

Do you wish it was bigger or are you satisfied with that size? Real nice btw.
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#9 RobK

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Posted 26 March 2017 - 10:45 PM

View PostYrrdead, on 26 March 2017 - 03:48 AM, said:

Do you wish it was bigger or are you satisfied with that size? Real nice btw.

Of course! But based on my yard size and the fact that I have 3 young kids that love to kick a ball around or throw a ball around. I do wish for chipping practice that it was a bit bigger to really work on 20-30 yard shots. But this will have to do for now...

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#10 bradski

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Posted 26 March 2017 - 11:58 PM

I am planning on a similar project. I spoke with the guy at all turf mats and the elite par was recommended  also. Do you feel it accepts short 10 foot chips well? How would you rate the green to others you have used?


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#11 Arizonalefty59

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Posted 27 March 2017 - 12:11 AM

Awesome!

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#12 fore_life

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Posted 27 March 2017 - 01:43 AM

So rad! I'm looking at this little space on the side of my yard, I'm thinking I can put in a little rectangle green, I know my neighbors would pitch in with help
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#13 No Catchy Nickname

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Posted 27 March 2017 - 03:39 AM

Looks great, nice work.

I had to do a handstand to read it, but it was worth it! :taunt:
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#14 Tim Schoch

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Posted 27 March 2017 - 08:57 AM

Resizing, rotating, and editing photos is easy with free Irfanview or Windows built in editor.  Maybe they are too big for the site?

Really great project and details. Thank you very much for the post.
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#15 Brizam

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Posted 27 March 2017 - 10:41 AM

I'll DM you my address so you can get to work on mine.  Please don't start too early as I like to sleep in.  Feel free to drink for the hose faucet so you don't get dehydrated.


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#16 Waterball6

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Posted 27 March 2017 - 11:58 AM

Looks great! I kinda wish I would have done this in my backyard instead of doing grass.

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#17 smeech8000

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Posted 27 March 2017 - 02:00 PM

Love these threads - thanks for the addition OP.  Finished result looks great!  

Can you post some ground-level shots of what your typical pitch shot looks like?
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#18 magmatt

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Posted 27 March 2017 - 02:42 PM

That is an awesome set up. Congrats. I'd love that in my yard

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#19 drnls1

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Posted 27 March 2017 - 04:53 PM

Awesome, great step by step, very inspirational.

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#20 chadly643

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Posted 27 March 2017 - 08:38 PM

Wow. This is amazing. In inspired, I may just have to build one of these for my backyard.


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#21 RobK

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Posted 27 March 2017 - 08:53 PM

View PostYrrdead, on 26 March 2017 - 03:48 AM, said:

Do you wish it was bigger or are you satisfied with that size? Real nice btw.

Thanks guys for the comments. I will post a few more pics tomorrow as the sun is down for the night and try to re-upload the ones that are all flipped. No idea why they uploaded like that when they open fine on my computer.

As for the question Yrrdead...The size is decent. I would for sure love it to be a bit bigger for chipping. The side that is adjacent to my yard is about 14'. I think to have a nice area to practice a wide variety of chips you would need 20' minimum and 25-30' would be ideal.

I have no bias or promotion what so ever for the allturfmats (a few people PMed and asked), but based on what the local companies where selling and the price point, I couldn't be happier with what I have. The roll is very very true and have haven't added any sand into the green yet. I will do that later in the spring to just keep the fibers standing up nice. It is very fun to sculpt it and add some breaks, which a larger green would allow for much more of this. And for obvious reasons a little sand trap would be awesome. But that will have to wait until the next yard.

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#22 RobK

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Posted 27 March 2017 - 09:01 PM

View Postbradski, on 26 March 2017 - 11:58 PM, said:

I am planning on a similar project. I spoke with the guy at all turf mats and the elite par was recommended  also. Do you feel it accepts short 10 foot chips well? How would you rate the green to others you have used?

bradski. Short chips have been decent, but from what I have read once the sand is applied as a light base layer onto the green it will hold even more true. I don't have a great grass area leading onto the green, it has a bit of slope to it, so that will be my summer project this year. I think once the area is prepped better leading onto the green it will make for better chipping. The green itself has a great feel for chipping, and if you really want to have a little fun the 'almost' golf balls spin like crazy and are to screw around with.

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#23 overparfornow

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Posted 28 March 2017 - 07:06 AM

Very nice job and I am VERY jealous:-)
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#24 jaymay82

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Posted 28 March 2017 - 02:58 PM

Nice OP!  Eventually I plan on getting one myself.  Still debating whether to DIY or just bite the bullet and have someone else install.
Posted Image| Posted Image |Posted Image

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#25 Yuck

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Posted 28 March 2017 - 07:59 PM

Wow!   That looks great.  

In the olden days my brother and I built a homemade green in our back yard.  We were kids, but it worked.  We took home our divots from the muni and planted them as a green.  Probably 6 feet wide once it grew in.  We used the old style metal frozen OJ can as a putting cup and trimmed the green with hand shears.  Probably stimped out at about a 2.   We used the old style heavy whiffle balls and had a blast for several years.  The par 5 over the house was the toughest hole.  (We had dozens of different teeing positions, but only one green.)  It was the best golf course on our block!


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#26 phi482

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Posted 28 March 2017 - 09:23 PM

Super nice!  I bet your buddies will be over for putting games all the time.  Thanks for taking the time to document the process.
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#27 djallen0

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Posted 28 March 2017 - 10:44 PM

Thanks for the blueprint for all of us that are interested!  Came out great - congrats.

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#28 smeech8000

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Posted 29 March 2017 - 01:18 PM

View PostYuck, on 28 March 2017 - 07:59 PM, said:

Wow!   That looks great.  

In the olden days my brother and I built a homemade green in our back yard.  We were kids, but it worked.  We took home our divots from the muni and planted them as a green.  Probably 6 feet wide once it grew in.  We used the old style metal frozen OJ can as a putting cup and trimmed the green with hand shears.  Probably stimped out at about a 2.   We used the old style heavy whiffle balls and had a blast for several years.  The par 5 over the house was the toughest hole.  (We had dozens of different teeing positions, but only one green.)  It was the best golf course on our block!

Classic!  Hope you weren't TRYING to hack the course up that day!

On a serious note - a great way to get a green started is by throwing down aerification cores (on top of a well-designed and thoroughly-prepped subsystem of drainage and root zone layers, of course :derisive:) mixed in with seed.  Some of the courses around here aerify early (right after Labor Day/early September), so it is an ideal time for grow-in.

This guy got it DONE.
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#29 RobK

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Posted 29 March 2017 - 02:17 PM

View Postsmeech8000, on 29 March 2017 - 01:18 PM, said:

View PostYuck, on 28 March 2017 - 07:59 PM, said:

Wow!   That looks great.  

In the olden days my brother and I built a homemade green in our back yard.  We were kids, but it worked.  We took home our divots from the muni and planted them as a green.  Probably 6 feet wide once it grew in.  We used the old style metal frozen OJ can as a putting cup and trimmed the green with hand shears.  Probably stimped out at about a 2.   We used the old style heavy whiffle balls and had a blast for several years.  The par 5 over the house was the toughest hole.  (We had dozens of different teeing positions, but only one green.)  It was the best golf course on our block!

Classic!  Hope you weren't TRYING to hack the course up that day!

On a serious note - a great way to get a green started is by throwing down aerification cores (on top of a well-designed and thoroughly-prepped subsystem of drainage and root zone layers, of course :derisive:) mixed in with seed.  Some of the courses around here aerify early (right after Labor Day/early September), so it is an ideal time for grow-in.

This guy got it DONE.

Smeech - Thanks for sharing that link! Seriously one of the most unreal backyard greens every done! I couldn't imagine the upkeep on the grass, none the less, so sick!

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#30 smeech8000

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Posted 29 March 2017 - 03:02 PM

View PostRobK, on 29 March 2017 - 02:17 PM, said:

View Postsmeech8000, on 29 March 2017 - 01:18 PM, said:

View PostYuck, on 28 March 2017 - 07:59 PM, said:

Wow!   That looks great.  

In the olden days my brother and I built a homemade green in our back yard.  We were kids, but it worked.  We took home our divots from the muni and planted them as a green.  Probably 6 feet wide once it grew in.  We used the old style metal frozen OJ can as a putting cup and trimmed the green with hand shears.  Probably stimped out at about a 2.   We used the old style heavy whiffle balls and had a blast for several years.  The par 5 over the house was the toughest hole.  (We had dozens of different teeing positions, but only one green.)  It was the best golf course on our block!

Classic!  Hope you weren't TRYING to hack the course up that day!

On a serious note - a great way to get a green started is by throwing down aerification cores (on top of a well-designed and thoroughly-prepped subsystem of drainage and root zone layers, of course :derisive:) mixed in with seed.  Some of the courses around here aerify early (right after Labor Day/early September), so it is an ideal time for grow-in.

This guy got it DONE.

Smeech - Thanks for sharing that link! Seriously one of the most unreal backyard greens every done! I couldn't imagine the upkeep on the grass, none the less, so sick!

Yeah, it's not for the faint of heart (or knowledge), that's for sure.  The creator/homeowner, Rob Crompton, is actually an accomplished superintendent and agronomist in his own right - he has a link on there about being invited down to Pebble (Beach) as a guest grounds crewmember for one of the AT&T Pro-Am's back in the day, and documented his entire week there.

EDIT:  Just noticed he's your neighbor!  Well, same province anyway...

Edited by smeech8000, 29 March 2017 - 03:08 PM.

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Titleist 909f3 15*
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Cally RAZR MB 4-PW
Cally Forged 50/54/58
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