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Taking the backyard putting green plunge

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I’ve wanted a backyard putting green of my own for as long as I can remember. Every time I have moved houses, I’ve looked at each new backyard and wondered where a putting green would fit. It’s fun to dream. And I am pretty sure I am not alone in having that dream, especially amongst our GolfWRX readership full of golf nerds just like me.

I’ve researched it in the past. I’ve gotten bid estimates but never pulled the trigger. Until now. With a three-year-old son growing up, starting to really enjoy the game, it was time to make it happen.

The cost was obviously a big decision point in finding the company I wanted to perform the work. I had several different companies come out for an estimate, and you’d be surprised at the range of bids I received. The area I had picked out is a garden just off my back patio, measuring 7.6 feet x 20.5 feet for a total of approximately 150 square feet. It wouldn’t be huge but big enough for three holes.

The Initial Consult

The other estimates I had received were for this garden as well as potential greens in other areas of the yard, more able to accommodate bigger green sizes, but ultimately I decided that a smaller green just off the porch would get the most use. And it was obviously more affordable. Some companies wouldn’t even entertain the garden area, stating their minimum jobs are $5,000.00 for any given project. That was out of my budget.

A putting green of the size I was hoping for, mind you, measures out to be between $1,500 to $2,600 depending on the turf chosen. Financing is available. That brings me to the most important decision you’ll make when embarking on a backyard putting green journey: choose your installer wisely based on your comfort with the people. Don’t just go with the first people you call. Go with the ones that you feel most comfortable with and who are the most transparent.

I chose a Texas-based company called Ideal Turf. They were local to me here in Fort Worth, but they provide service to the entire state of Texas and Oklahoma. Their website actually has a cost calculator so you can get a feel for the expense involved prior to even making a phone call. They were excited about this location, agreeing that it would be a nice size surface for what I was wanted. That made me feel better. Some of the present foliage would obviously need to come out, which can be done by a subcontractor that Ideal Turf uses or I could hire someone else or do it myself. I had the shrubs taken out as well as the Crepe Myrtle tree, but my designer was just fine with me leaving in the Yaupon tree, as he could work around it and give the green some shade and character.

Logan, my green technician, came to the initial consultation with turf samples and a tablet that he could actually use to begin the design right there on the spot. This was the first company that I had seen do that, which was really impressive to me.

We went through the different artificial turf options for both the putting surface and the longer grass border that would surround the green. The shape is completely customizable, with hourglass or kidney bean being the most common choices. I really had three goals in mind. First, I wanted to maximize the size of the putting surface, knowing that my square footage was already on the smaller size. Second, I wanted to find the grass that looked really good but would hold up to weather conditions. Third, I wanted turf that performed as close to a real putting surface as possible.

With Logan’s help, I felt satisfied that Ideal Turf could deliver on all three items of concern. We started with an hourglass design, but we ended up widening the putting surface at most turns to ensure as large a putting area as possible. The changes were made to the design app in a matter of seconds.

The turf we went with includes UV inhibitors that are added to the fibers to reduce fading from exposure to the sun. With quality turf, drainage isn’t a concern either. Ideal Turf uses a “cascade backing system” that allows for rainwater to drain at 1,500 inches per hour. Puddling apparently won’t be an issue.

The initial visit and consultation took less than an hour, but a lot got done. When Ideal Turf was gone, I went ahead and began preparing the space for installation. The removal of the tree and shrubs needed to include the roots because three inches of the dirt are actually cleared out during the installation process and replaced with a topsoil mix ideal for leveling and drainage.

Installation Day

Ideal Turf was great at communication, with a series of emails leading up to the day of installation. I was assigned a personal Client Liason (shoutout to Samantha) who was with me every step of the way, from the estimate and design agreement to the coordination of scheduling. We were able to get the installation scheduled just over a week from the date I signed my contract.

The installers were out to my house at 10:30 am on a Thursday and I was rolling putts before sundown. As I mentioned before, they cleared the existing dirt out three inches deep and replaced it with that drainable topsoil. They also marked and capped all existing sprinkler heads in the garden. That was something I didn’t think much about prior to installation day so I was relieved to learn they would be handling it.

They then wet the topsoil and then smoothed and rolled it. I decided to not add many undulations to the putting surface since it was a smaller green. I wanted to make sure I had flat 15-foot putts to practice intermediate strokes. The crew was able to work around the Yaupon tree we left behind to add some charm to the green.

Next, the Ace Putt 56 putting turf was rolled out over the entire surface and the digital design was used to measure out and trace the green. Once marked, the green was cut to shape and the border turf was laid to form the edges. The border rough works great with wedges for short pitches and chips. Since the green has been installed, I actually turn and chip back into the heart of my backyard off the border grass for longer short game work.

Finally, the green is sanded and rolled to level the surface and make sure the turf is laying smooth and flat. Three holes were brought out and I was asked to design their placement myself. I was my own yard’s Gil Hanse for about 25 minutes, walking the entire surface several times with putter in hand, rolling balls, deciding how I would like my own course to be routed. It was a ton of fun. I ended up going with a more Golden Age design.

The holes are traced, cut, and then hammered into the earth. I did appreciate that a bit of extra attention was given to the hole installation so that they fit flat and clean with the turf around them. And that’s really it…the green is ready for play! Ideal Turf provided three pins and flags for the finishing touch. In less than two weeks from consultation to installation and less than eight hours for installation, the process went incredibly smooth.

Maintenance has been a breeze, as a broom and leaf blower is pretty much all you need to keep it looking perfect. The installation itself came with a one-year warranty from Ideal Turf, and a twenty-year product warranty for the turf itself. Check with whoever you decided to use for something similar.

It’s been several days now and I’ve had time to enjoy the green at different hours of the day. I wake up, walk out with a cup of coffee with just the dog, and enjoy some quiet time before the sun comes up. The kiddo also loves to “practice golf” before bedtime, a delay tactic I’m happy to entertain.

Time will tell how much use the green will get as my son gets older, backyard parties are had, and the shine of a “new toy” begins to wear. But I guess the point of all this is to simply say that a backyard green is possible for all of us. There are good companies out there that aren’t trying to just take all your money. So far, I couldn’t be happier with the decision we made as a family to embark on this putting green adventure. Here’s to many sunken putts ahead.

 

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Johnny Newbern writes for GolfWRX from Fort Worth, Texas. His loving wife lets him play more golf than is reasonable and his three-year-old son is a tremendous cart partner. He is a Scotty Cameron loyalist and a lover of links-style courses. He believes Coore/Crenshaw can do no wrong, TMB irons are almost too hot and hole-in-ones are earned, not given. Johnny holds a degree in journalism from Southern Methodist University.

15 Comments

15 Comments

  1. Jake

    Sep 24, 2021 at 12:12 am

    Outstanding write up on the experience. Wondering if you looked into or if anyone has any insight on Celebrity Greens or Southwest Greens and how their quality and pricing is vs what you installed?

    • Johnny Newbern

      Sep 28, 2021 at 3:58 pm

      Sorry Jake. I don’t know much about either company. They weren’t on my list.

    • AZgolf

      Oct 2, 2021 at 8:32 pm

      I used Southwest greens in my yard years ago. I’m in Phoenix, but they were fantastic, green rolls great and could not be happier.

  2. Rootaford

    Sep 16, 2021 at 9:21 pm

    What do you do if your dog pee’s on the turf? I’ve heard some nightmare scenarios where dogs pee on the turf and it ends up really stinking up the area.

    • Barf the Mawg

      Sep 16, 2021 at 10:39 pm

      Or better yet, when I come over and get 17 beers deep and yak on it.

      • Johnny Newbern

        Sep 17, 2021 at 9:06 am

        Hahaha half man, half dog. You’re your own best friend.

        We try to keep the dog off of the green for potty time and direct him to the real grass. But if it happens, I was told to just spray it down with a hose as soon as you can.

  3. Adam Hermsdorfer

    Sep 15, 2021 at 9:37 am

    Solid article. Been thinking about a backyard putting green myself. Nice to hear about the process and the throughness. We’re down the street in Central TX, will definitely lookup Ideal turf.

  4. gticlay

    Sep 13, 2021 at 2:46 pm

    Looks amazing. I’d love something like that. Another option would be to buy a “portable” (I mean moveable, not like it’s sooo easy to move) one like a large 8’x18′ Birdieball putting green in the extra thick option. Less than half the price, but 1″ hole drop for the ball and gets rave reviews. Plus if you move, it can move with you.

    I used a 15 foot putting carpet in our downstairs all winter, with a knockoff of the puttout ramp, and it was tremendous for my putting stroke. Even though you have the holes, you might want to get one of the puttouts to use on your practice green.

  5. Richard M Scott

    Sep 10, 2021 at 2:29 pm

    Just wondering what your final cost was?

    • Johnny Newbern

      Sep 10, 2021 at 2:46 pm

      The green ended up costing $2,600 based on the turf I chose. I also had to pay a bit more on top of that to a tree removal company for the initial landscaping work to clear the space.

  6. Matt Miller

    Sep 10, 2021 at 10:55 am

    Johnny, great article. Curious what part of FW are you in. I live near TCU and I’m itching to pull the trigger. Thanks for the Ideal Turf recommendation. My cousin lives in Dallas and had one put in a couple months ago. He was not happy with his contractor but they eventually made it right. Good luck.

    • Johnny Newbern

      Sep 10, 2021 at 12:22 pm

      Hey Matt-

      Thanks for the note! We are in SW Fort Worth not far from Mira Vista. I think you’ll have a good experience with Ideal Turf.

  7. Joe

    Sep 9, 2021 at 6:18 pm

    Nicely written! I know just where I’ll put mine one day!!!

  8. Richard Douglas

    Sep 9, 2021 at 2:00 pm

    Thank you so much. We’re closing on a new house in a couple of weeks and I intend to install a putting green. This article lets one know what to consider when doing it.

    • Johnny Newbern

      Sep 9, 2021 at 4:56 pm

      Happy to help, Richard! Good luck with the new home and green!

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2021 GolfWRX Holiday Gift Guide: Golf gifts for the Value Seeker

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It’s that time of year again, GolfWRX members, the moment we start filling our wish lists with the golf gear we want this holiday season.

The GolfWRX Holiday Gift Guide was created to ensure that our readers give (and hopefully receive) the very best golf gifts on the planet. These gift ideas will suit any budget, and each item was hand-picked by our staff.

In an effort to provide more value and tailored recommendations, we’re presenting our guide as a series this year, targeting “the purist,” “the gearhead,” “the value seeker,” “the golfer looking to improve,” “the clothes horse,” and “the big spender.”

You know the value seeker by his/her eschewing of anything that will put a significant dent into the wallet while still getting the most from their game, this includes equipment, practice tools, or anything else you might find filling out a golf bag – maybe even the golf bag itself.

Here are our best recommendations for “the value seeker” in your life.

Tour Edge Hot Launch C522, E522 drivers – $249.99

You can read all the tech details of the C522 (competition spec) and E522 (extreme spec) Hot Launch metal woods in our launch piece. But the most important point here for the Value Seeker is Tour Edge continues to deliver the best bang for your buck in the business.

Buy here.

Haywood Golf Signature Irons – $675

“Carefully crafted, consciously priced” – Haywood Golf’s signature irons are a two-piece hollow body design that incorporates a soft 431 stainless steel body welded to a hardened heat-treated 17-4 stainless steel face. The irons feature high launch characteristics and have proved a big hit with golfers, with progressively reduced offset designed to provide added forgiveness (more about the company here).

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GoGoGoSport GS24 rangefinder – $70

70 bucks with a Black Friday discount? The Value Seeker loves that. Measuring range from 5 to 650 yards, with +/- 1m high accuracy and 6x magnification. The flagpole locking function supports a distance up to 150 yards (flagpole only) and 250 yards (aim the flag when it’s unfolded)

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Kirkland Signature 3-piece wedge set – $169.99

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Whoop 4.0 – $30/month (+$30 to join)

How about having a personalized digital fitness and health cost all for an annual price of $360? Used by many Tour pros, including Justin Thomas and Nelly Korda, the Whoop 4.0 comes free with your membership and provides real-time feedback on your sleep, training, recovery, and health, plus in-app coaching features golfers and athletes optimize performance.

Through the Whoop app, you’ll be able to receive personalized insights and actionable feedback based on your unique data, behaviors, and goals — with a strain ‘coach’, sleep ‘coach’ as well as a behavioral journal to make sure you are at your optimal condition to start shooting low rounds.

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Stitch SL1 Golf Bag – $208.80

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Perfect for those that travel or players that walk the course, the SL1 bag is a minimalist’s dream with limited storage and a single strap for a vintage feel.

Buy here.

 

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2021 GolfWRX Holiday Gift Guide: Gifts for the Gearhead

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It’s that time of year again, GolfWRX members, the moment we start filling our wish lists with the golf gear we want this holiday season.

The GolfWRX Holiday Gift Guide was created to ensure that our readers give (and hopefully receive) the very best golf gifts on the planet. These gift ideas will suit any budget, and each item was hand-picked by our staff.

In an effort to provide more value and tailored recommendations, we’re presenting our guide as a series this year, targeting “the purist,” “the gearhead,” “the value seeker,” “the golfer looking to get better,” and “the big spender.”

You know the gearhead by his/her tired eyes from scouring the GolfWRX forums late into the night and his penchant for bringing two bags to the course—the gamer set and a bag full of demo clubs and shafts.

Here are our best recommendations for “the gearhead” in your life.

TaylorMade MySIM2 – $629.99

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1withGolf bag – Varies

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A personalized and customized golf bag makes for a super cool, special, and memorable holiday gift. 1withGolf has over 135 color combinations for you to choose from and has the fastest turnaround in the industry.

Besides custom bags, their Xpress 3.5, Xpress 4.0, Xpress 14-way stand bags, and Z-100 15-way cart bags are all lightweight and of great quality with sleek design. They are full of consumer-friendly features to provide extra comfort on the course.

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Cobra King GrandSport-35 – $349.99

What screams gearhead in 2021 more than “3D printed putter?” Cobra’s King GrandSport-35 is 3D printed and folds in Sik’s DLT face to complete this ingredient-intensive gearhead stew. Yum!

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Rapsodo MLM – $499.99

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Fujikura Ventus – $350

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Vokey WedgeWorks T Grind – $199

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2021 GolfWRX Holiday Gift Guide: Golf gifts for the Big Spender

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It’s that time of year again, GolfWRX members, the moment we start filling our wish lists with the golf gear we want this holiday season.

The GolfWRX Holiday Gift Guide was created to ensure that our readers give (and hopefully receive) the very best golf gifts on the planet. These gift ideas will suit any budget, and each item was hand-picked by our staff.

In an effort to provide more value and tailored recommendations, we’re presenting our guide as a series this year, targeting “the purist,” “the gearhead,” “the value seeker,” “the golfer looking to get better,” and “the big spender.”

You know the big spender by his/her when the math “golf bag + 14 clubs = more than the value of your car…and maybe house.”

Here are our best recommendations for “the big spender” in your life (and yes, in this scenario, you are a big spender as well).

Vessel LUX LE Midsize Staff Bag – $475

Vessel has long been one of the biggest luxury golf bag makers, and the new Lux LE Midsize Staff bag continues the tradition. Many of us love full-size staff bags but hate the weight, so Vessel scaled down the size, but not the quality or the features. Tons of pockets, including a lined cooler pocket, all accessible while on a cart. Premium leather touch-points, quilted stitching, and microfiber wrapped club dividers finish off the build.

Buy here

Ecco Biom Cool Pro – $260

If you know, then you know. Ecco has the reputation of making some of the most comfortable and durable shoes in golf. The new Boom Cool Pro includes Boa technology for a secure and comfortable fit without traditional laces. Gore-Tex Surround makes these 100 percent waterproof and the Tri-Fit-Grip sole gives you traction in any lie.

Buy here

ForeSight GC3 Sim-In-A-Box – $14,995

A complete golf simulator, with 20 courses, ready to go in one package. The new Foresight CG3 launch monitor is the heart of this offering. Featuring three high-speed cameras for great accuracy and shot data, the CG3 can be used indoors or out. FSX 2020 simulator and FSX Pro performance tool software are included along with an impact screen, projector, turf, hitting mat, and even a computer cart!

Buy here

Garia Supersport – $88,696

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OXEFit XP1 – $35,000

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More info here

Louis Vuitton Andrews Golf Kit – $915

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Buy here

Gibbons Handmade Crocodile Belt – $489

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Buy here

Zen Green Stage – $24,000

All golfers dream about having their own simulator and putting green at home and Zen Golf makes those dreams come true. Their Green Stage is a large adjustable platform that can bring more realism to putts and full shots. It mechanically adjusts so you can hit breaking, and double breaking, putts as well as hit full shots from uneven lies! The Green Stage connects to your WiFi and you can control the whole thing from your phone or tablet!

More info here

Scotty Cameron Circle T Prototype Phantom X T-12 – $4,750

Scotty Cameron putters are hard to get your hands on but the putters he makes for professional players, Circle T, are even rarer! This tour only Phantom X T-22 prototype has a welded FloJet neck and twin 10g weights in the sole. Scotty doesn’t make the FloJet neck on a retail Phantom, so this is a true custom. The face and center section is made from a single piece of milled 6061 aluminum while the outer “wings” are milled from 303 stainless steel. This design creates a higher MOI design with plenty of stability to keep putts on their intended line.

Buy here

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