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Backyard practice area? Post your pictures!

post #1 of 24
Thread Starter 
I didn't find anything like this using search, so I thought I would start a thread. If you have a backyard putting green, chipping area, or even a driving area in your back yard, please post up some pics!

One, here's your chance to show off your handy work. But also, I am looking for some ideas! Lol! I am going to be building a practice area outside and wanted to gather some ideas on how to set it up. I'm not necessarily looking to build a true putting green, but more of an area to practice the short game onto the green. Although I want to have some grass that is short enough to putt on if the desire comes up.

So my idea is:

* A "putting area" that's about 10' x 15' or so, with a collar cut around the "green".

* On the east side will be a bunker approximately 4' x 8' or 5' x 10'.

* Then on the east side of the bunker, an area of grass that is around 10' x 20' that is cut to two or three different heights.

* There would also be an area of grass all around the perimeter of the above to chip from, making the entire area approximately 60' x 30'.

* From this area facing south, I already have a large swath that is mowed about 35 yards wide and 175 yards long. It is old wheat field, so it's mostly rye and other native grasses. Good enough when mowed short enough.

So post 'em up if you have some good pics! It doesn't even have to be yours. Maybe we can get a good collection of pics to give other some backyard ideas.

Thanks in advance!!
post #2 of 24
Thread Starter 

Re: Backyard practice area? Post your pictures!

Here is the Crayola-CAD idea I have so far. I have a dumptruck load of clean fill dirt coming this Saturday, so as long as the weather continues to be nice, I can start building and shaping this up!

Green and bunker shapes are not definite, just something to get on paper to get started. I've been looking at artificial turf online this morning, and think I will probably go with an artificial green that's about 10' x 15' instead of real grass. Everything else though will be grass.

post #3 of 24
I have a matt and net on the patio off my bedroom deck for practice. But the real prize is I live on a course and the 3rd green with sand bunker is 40 yards from my bed. I can lay in bed and watch people putt. Lol

Being a private course it doesn't get much play so we practice on it when ever we get the urge. At night we have a large halogen quartz flood light and have putting parties and BBQ frequently.

Having a sand bunker to practice on is very helpful to your game. It really isn't that difficult of a shot but I guess that most people don't practice it that much when they go to the range.

I don't think it would be hard to make one in your yard and if I were building a practice green I would be inclined to build a sand bunker as well.
post #4 of 24

I have a 10'x15' putting green being built as walk-off from patio into the yard...it is small for chipping but it does fit the space real well.

post #5 of 24
Thread Starter 

I have 10 acres, so I could go much bigger, but I want to keep the cost as reasonable as possible.  The rest of the sod (~1300 sq/ft) will cost about as much as the artificial turf itself!


Camo - The owner of the company I work for lives on a course too, and like you there is a green and a bunker right off his deck.  He loves it.


Lefty - Be sure to post up some pics of yours!  During and after construction would be awesome.

post #6 of 24

built from scratch in spring '12

post #7 of 24

That's pretty sick.

post #8 of 24
Originally Posted by glock35ipsc View Post

... I'm not necessarily looking to build a true putting green, but more of an area to practice the short game onto the green. Although I want to have some grass that is short enough to putt on if the desire comes up. ...

Good plan. As you suspected, a regulation grass putting green can be a bit of a hassle. I asked a landscape guy about it when I first moved into my house a few years back. He said you would need to get the right grass and account for drainage. (greenside built his at the top of a rise, so drainage should work pretty well).  Plus, even a used rotary mower for cutting would be a hassle to maintain.


Here in Illinois, you would have to be licensed to put down the type of weedkiller you would need to keep the green clean.


He said, however, that several companies make artificial turf plots which work well in back yards.

post #9 of 24

It's a lot of work, but if you do the research and are willing to learn a little by trial and error it's definitely worth it in the end, but you have to be committed to it.  You don't need a license to get 99% of the products you need to keep it healthy.  Just about every product you need (fungicide, fertilizer, insecticide) is available in one form or another that can be bought at home depot you just need to be willing to read labels and do a little math to dial in the application rates.  The only difference between the product you need a license for is the concentration of the active ingredient.


Construction took my brother and I 


about 3 weekends and cost about $2500 including excavator rental, drainage pipe, gravel, irrigation parts, used John Deere greensmower in great shape, and the sod for the green (creeping bentgrass) and the rough surrounds (k blue, fescue mix).  Annual upkeep is about $500 maybe slightly less depending upon how realistic you want it to play.  I cut this at .140 inches to keep it rolling around 9 on the stimpmeter, 10+ if i roll it regularly.  If you'd be happy to have it run 7-8 you can cut it a little higher and the upkeep is a bit less demanding.  A lot of it also depends on how well the growing conditions are.  Poor conditions mean more spraying, aerating, etc... which means more $.  If you wanted just a target green for chipping into that was kept at fairway height (.350 inches roughly) you probably could have a nice surface without the drainage and irrigation which would cut costs dramatically and still look nice in the back yard.  


Here's a couple more pics,




post #10 of 24

post #11 of 24



Really enjoyed seeing your construction pictures. I had two question:

  • Did you put any drainage pipes underneath the sand bunker, or does the slope of the hill take care of water runoff? Did you need to line the bunker with fabric?
  • What layers did you use to build up the green once the drainage pipes were in place?
post #12 of 24



Thanks!  I like your set up too, especially like the touch with the tee box and tee markers.


I did not put any drainage in the sand bunker.  I originally planned to when I did the initial construction.  I excavated the bunker at the same time as the green but didn't ever find time to finish it last year.  Over the course of the last year I had a lot of opportunity to observe the natural drainage of sandless bunker and it seemed to do pretty well on it's own.  That was enough reason for me to decide not to put in the extra effort of installing drain pipe.  I partly was just so excited to put the sand in and finish off the look (I was sick of looking at the dirt bunker next to my baby!) but mostly just didn't have the motivation to do all that work for a minimal drainage improvement.  I didn't put any sort of liner in the bunker under the sand.  I looked at a few different options, mainly a few different golf bunker specific liners or by using an old, tried and true method of installing sod upside down to prevent stones from coming up into the sand over time.  I talked with a local superintendent who didn't think it was worth the effort so I decided against it to cut costs and time.


After sinking the drain pipes for the green in their trenches I spread about 3-4" of 3/4" trap rock and then spread about 3 inches of pea stone above that.  The smaller pea stone prevents the small particles of the root zone mix (which should be sand, however I used a mostly topsoil mix and installed it about 8" deep) from moving down into the drain field and clogging the perforated pipe.  The larger 3/4" gravel leaves too much space between the stones and would not stop this potential contamination.  


Here's a couple pics of those layers


post #13 of 24



I only have two questions:


1.  Where do you live?


2.  Do you need any new golfing buddies?



post #14 of 24
Originally Posted by LilGasPasser View Post



I only have two questions:


1.  Where do you live?


2.  Do you need any new golfing buddies?



Great, you stole both my questions!

Awesome pictures Greens. Hoping to have a backyard next year.... in an apartment condo right now. Jealous!

post #15 of 24

Thanks guys!  If you ever take the plunge let me know I'll point you towards places that were helpful to me.  Cheers

post #16 of 24
Originally Posted by greensidelg View Post

built from scratch in spring '12


I am so incredibly jealous. Haha

post #17 of 24

Couple awesome setups here.  Greenside that is one awesome project.  Congrats, enjoy it and show it off!

post #18 of 24
Greenside, that is incredible. Bravo to you sir! How much did that set you back?
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