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Questions about building a home turf putting green

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Hello all!

After about a year's worth of research I have decided that I want to construct my own putting green at home using Pencross bentgrass. I have decided to do this because I have recently had a new baby daughter and I am not able to get to the course 2-3 times a week for 4-5 hours like I used to. I do not see that changing for the next few years. Between my daughter and my job, it is getting more difficult to get golf in.

I believe I have found a good solution by building a putting green at home with a chipping area. I firmly believe that if I can just get outside a few nights a week and practice some short game for an hour....my itch will be satisfied until I can get out for my round on the weekend.

You might be thinking, heck a putting green is going to to take up more time per week maintaining it than playing a round of golf. Maybe true.....but the way I see it is, at least I will be at home in the yard and can have my daughter outside with me and spend time together. I plan to start small. I have a great spot available in the side yard that will make a perfect home for a 15' diameter green.

Here's where my question starts.

I know in Illinois the best time for seeding new grass is when the weather is consistently 75-80 degrees. Realistically that means my ideal time to sowe is going to be mid-September.

I do not think I will be able to buy a good reel mower until this winter. What kind of trouble can I get in if I plant in September and can't mow to what we would consider a greens-height until next spring when I have the reel mower?

I was wondering if I can plant this fall, mow with my regular push mower at the lowest setting, and then come in and spring and cut to about 3/16?"

Please do not lecture me on putting in a synthetic green or "you don't know what you're getting into - it's so much hard work." I like yard work and I have a genuine interest in Agronomy. Not to mention I think it will be a beautiful addition to the home when complete.

I just have a unique question that I have not been able to find a specific answer for.

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You need to get a mower, and cut once the grass gets well established. If you wait until it gets to lawn mower height, and try to cut it to green height, you will damage the grass.You will need to spray to control disease. During the season courses spray every 10 days to two weeks. You also will need to apply pesticides to control insects when needed. Aerification several times a year, and top dressing and verticutting to help control the grain. You will also need to get the tools to move hole locations. I would think that the combination of a new baby and the need to apply chemicals, should be enough to convince you to look at a high quality artifical green. It will be a lot cheaper and easier, and safer. You also don't have to grow it in before you can use it.
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I  say go for it and see how it goes.You will learn what you need to do and learn by experience.Going the artificial route just wont be as rewarding plus who wants to chip on artificial grass.Start off small so you can maintain it better then go bigger other time.

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I think @caniac6 makes some pretty valid points. I have no first hand experience in this, but from everything I've read on the matter going with anything other than artificial in a home use application is folly. I'd go with a high quality artificial green and a natural chipping area. Maybe add a bunker too. I suspect that by going artificial you'll save so much money (not to mention aggravation) over the long term that you'll be able to add those extras no problem.
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You will need to spray to control disease. During the season courses spray every 10 days to two weeks. You also will need to apply pesticides to control insects when needed.

I agree with @caniac6 . New baby + lawn chemicals = does not compute. Kids have changed my golf life, too. You find ways to fit some time in and you learn to enjoy the rare occasions you go out and play. What I can tell you though, if you think you are going to have quality time with your child while you are outside working on your putting green or golf skills, you're dead wrong. You wouldn't be giving either of those things the attention it/she deserves. I used to go out in the yard and pitch balls while my son played. As he gets older and more interactive, he requires more of my attention; I don't even bother bringing a club outside when he asks to go out, anymore. Your child will consume your time, and that's a good thing. Golf already takes a lot of time. No need to pile on with highly specialized turf management. If you like yard work, tend a garden. That you can do with kids.

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Hello all!

After about a year's worth of research I have decided that I want to construct my own putting green at home using Pencross bentgrass. I have decided to do this because I have recently had a new baby daughter and I am not able to get to the course 2-3 times a week for 4-5 hours like I used to. I do not see that changing for the next few years. Between my daughter and my job, it is getting more difficult to get golf in.

I believe I have found a good solution by building a putting green at home with a chipping area. I firmly believe that if I can just get outside a few nights a week and practice some short game for an hour....my itch will be satisfied until I can get out for my round on the weekend.

You might be thinking, heck a putting green is going to to take up more time per week maintaining it than playing a round of golf. Maybe true.....but the way I see it is, at least I will be at home in the yard and can have my daughter outside with me and spend time together. I plan to start small. I have a great spot available in the side yard that will make a perfect home for a 15' diameter green.

Here's where my question starts.

I know in Illinois the best time for seeding new grass is when the weather is consistently 75-80 degrees. Realistically that means my ideal time to sowe is going to be mid-September.

I do not think I will be able to buy a good reel mower until this winter. What kind of trouble can I get in if I plant in September and can't mow to what we would consider a greens-height until next spring when I have the reel mower?

I was wondering if I can plant this fall, mow with my regular push mower at the lowest setting, and then come in and spring and cut to about 3/16?"

Please do not lecture me on putting in a synthetic green or "you don't know what you're getting into - it's so much hard work." I like yard work and I have a genuine interest in Agronomy. Not to mention I think it will be a beautiful addition to the home when complete.

I just have a unique question that I have not been able to find a specific answer for.


Won't hurt anything to mow it higher at first with the push mower.

When you do cut it to putting green height don't shave down to that height all at once.

I know you said not to lecture but it really is going to be a pain. Knowledge of chemicals and what to use and when to use it. Babysit the heck out of it during hot weather.

I work at a course and there's not a chance I would put one in at home.

Good luck.

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Another reason he might want to avoid the push mower is that the wheels might make impressions in the soft soil. The roller on the reel mower would distribute the weight more evenly. He also needs some mechanical ability to properly maintain and adjust the mower. When he considers replacing bed knives, back lapping, and making adjustments in 16th of an inch increments, he better know what he is doing. If he decides to go with natural vs artificial, I just hope he realizes how much work it will be. He probably should go talk to the superintendent at his local course.
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I appreciate the input from everyone. Thank you for the help.

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I cant begin to tell you how many members have tried this. when they actually do it they didnt realize the cost and time to maintain it. After a year they all gave up. not to sound like a negative nelly but do yourself a favour and go synthetic. Pencross has been a stand by for along time but there are many better varieties out there like T-1, L-93 or any of the A series

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FWIW, I'm planning on building an 8x8 green like @iacas did a while back, much for the same reason as you.  1 year old twins don't leave much time for practice.

http://thesandtrap.com/b/training/build_your_own_8_x_8_indoor_putting_green_cheaply

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