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iacas

Help Me Design a Basement Putting Green

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

I wrote that awhile ago, and, well, that putting green "worked" just fine, but:

  • It was small.
  • It was "unfinished" looking. I mean, look…

putting_green_done.jpg

Anyway, I have a 12' x 7' piece of turf and a newly finished basement section begging for a little putting green on which I can work on things.

Here's the area:

basement_green.jpg

The putting green (which has shelves on it to help flatten out some bumps and ridges from being rolled up) is 12' x 7'. The red area is about 12' x 5' (it's 7' if you go from the wall to the column).

So, i could just lay the carpet there, frame the edges to make it look nice… and… have a perfectly flat green (roughly - I'm sure the floor has a tiny slant to it). But, I wouldn't have any holes to put to, and I wouldn't be able to change the break. That's what I want. In fact, my wish list includes:

  • 1 to 3 holes.
  • The ability to change the slant from being 0 to 4% either left-to-right or right-to-left.

The first requires the entire putting surface to be at least about five inches off the ground. The cups are 4.25" deep. I have foam blocks I can get from @david_wedzik, but I could also just glue my grass to a board, or stretch it and not glue it, or just put glue in little spots to help hold it in place… I won't be chipping to the green, so the foam isn't a high priority.

What I'd like help with is figuring out how to build something that will work as I need: to let me change the slope on at least one side (I could put the cups on opposite sides to get both breaks if only one edge can be lifted and support up to about 250 pounds without bending. Remember, though: it should either have something mechanical (like four screws, one in each corner? hydraulics seems like overkill…) to change the slope OR be light enough for me to change the slope.

I also don't really care about lefty putters. @NatalieB and I are righties. :-)

Here's a mockup of the putting green itself:

green.png

I added two grey holes at the bottom just as holes I could add eventually, if necessary. I might not even add them at first. Maybe if the carpet gets worn from standing in the same spot putting to the one hole?

Anyway, sides B and D would need to be able to go up and down, and while on the 0-5% slope, to support the weight of a person walking on the thing. And they should be able to go up and down relatively easily. Eventually I would like to not have to go downstairs to change the slope for the kiddo. :-)

Beyond that… two "perks" would be nice:

  • The edges: I probably don't want balls rolling off the edges, but I don't want something so high that it's going to interfere with many putting strokes. That means a 1" lip would suffice, really, above the green surface… but at the same time, it feels like 1" is enough to interfere with a putting stroke if the ball is only a foot or 15" away. If I put only one hole in, I could just have a bumper behind it, and keep the rest flush with the putting surface.
  • If the edges had hardware to which you could attach things (like little metal spikes, for elevated string lines and the like), cool. If the edges are wood, that's pretty easily rigged up with a drill, though, so I'm not too worried about that.

So, how would you do it? Help me get this done.

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Probably a stupid idea (since I don't fully understand the construction and weight of the surface), but if you have an air compressor, would there be a way to inflate/deflate inner tubes under the surface?

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2 hours ago, iacas said:

So, how would you do it? Help me get this done.

Question: What would be overkill for you in terms of construction? I have an idea, but it involves a steel/aluminum frame along the outside that could be used to hold gimballing nuts for a lead screw that would raise and lower the vary corners (with one in each corner you could also change if it was up/downhill). To clarify, the main supports underneath would still be wooden, you would just have a metal frame around the outside to allow for better installation of the gimballing nuts.

That said, if this is a bit much I would be able to tone it down and still create something that would work fine. I'll have plenty of time on my hands after this Wednesday, so I would be able to draw up a CAD model and/or detailed construction drawings for the design if you were so inclined (pun intended). 

1 hour ago, JonMA1 said:

Probably a stupid idea (since I don't fully understand the construction and weight of the surface), but if you have an air compressor, would there be a way to inflate/deflate inner tubes under the surface?

That idea is actually a good one that ran through my mind when I initially was reading, but there were two reasons that I wouldn't necessarily recommend it over something else:

1) Air compressor. If you don't have an air compressor that's a bit of an investment initially, and they can get really loud when they need to recharge. In a small basement area I know I certainly wouldn't want to be in the same room as it when it is recharging. You also need to then plan a space for the air compressor and route the hoses to the bladders without them getting in the way.

2) The bladders themselves. This is the main complication I saw. The compressor stuff is really just a minor annoyance, but I wondered what type of bladder you could actually inflate to do this and realized you would likely need something custom if you wanted it to be very stable. The easiest way of doing this without a custom air bladder configuration would be if you rigged the compressor to inflate several bike tires to an equal pressure on either side, and then the height could be changed by increasing or decreasing the pressure. This wouldn't be super stable though, just because if you were to stand near any of the  bike tires it would compress more than the others would.

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If it was me I would try to keep it as simple as possible. What comes to mind is a surface with a straight putt, a 2 degree slant and a 4 degree slant (using your parameters) all to 1 hole only. So the middle would be for straight puts and then one side would be for the 2 degree slant and the other for the 4 degree slant. The further you get away from the center line the more each putt will break which gives a wide variety of putts.

I would also build a removable box the same height as the green to put on the lower left corner of the green. This way you can stand off the green and still be the same height as the green.

Untitled-1.jpg

Lastly I would add a chute from the cup to the back edge that would allow the balls to collect outside the back edge of the green.

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36 minutes ago, Grumpter said:

If it was me I would try to keep it as simple as possible. What comes to mind is a surface with a straight putt, a 2 degree slant and a 4 degree slant (using your parameters) all to 1 hole only. So the middle would be for straight puts and then one side would be for the 2 degree slant and the other for the 4 degree slant. The further you get away from the center line the more each putt will break which gives a wide variety of putts.

I would also build a removable box the same height as the green to put on the lower left corner of the green. This way you can stand off the green and still be the same height as the green.

Untitled-1.jpg

Lastly I would add a chute from the cup to the back edge that would allow the balls to collect outside the back edge of the green.

Good ideas from @Grumpter. If weight isn't an issue, you could slope the interior of the box so the putts you make come back out at "C", like a bowling ball-return.

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Saw an interview with Web Simpson on the Golf Channel a year or so ago.  He was showing Faherty his practice putting room.  IIRC, He had it carpeted with the same kind of trunk carpet they use in Toyota Camarys.  He said it was the material that felt the most like PGA putting surfaces.  (Just thought I'd throw that out there.  :-P)    

Edited by Avalanche

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In order to make the slope, use leveling feet (as mentioned by @dennyjones).  You can make these adjustable from the top by double-nutting them.  This would allow adjustment from above using a socket wrench.  The range of adjustment you are looking for is only 2.4" (to get a 4% cross slope in 5'), so this should not be difficult to achieve. From above you would have roughly a 1/2" diameter hole in each corner to access the adjusters.

Also, run your studs perpendicular to the length, since the common stud length is 8'.  This will also make it easier to get a planar surface.  (Separately, in the previous green you built, I would have laid the plywood 90º from how you installed it so you wouldn't have to land two pieces of ply on a single stud's edge.)

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Can you do something like this? Where at the one end you have that semicircle with a hing down the middle? You step off the putting green and remove a pin and pull a lever to tilt it, then reset the pin. 

Table.JPG

Since the table only needs to drop 3 inches for a 5% slope you can build a rim around the edge to catch it at the max drop. Maybe around the rim you put some foam cushioning so if the lever is let go it doesn't slam down. Though this would add resistance against the lever. 

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14 hours ago, Pretzel said:

Question: What would be overkill for you in terms of construction? I have an idea, but it involves a steel/aluminum frame along the outside that could be used to hold gimballing nuts for a lead screw that would raise and lower the vary corners (with one in each corner you could also change if it was up/downhill). To clarify, the main supports underneath would still be wooden, you would just have a metal frame around the outside to allow for better installation of the gimballing nuts.

Honestly, I kind of figured it might involve steel beams, maybe with some thin particle board or plywood over the top to provide an even surface on which to stand, but otherwise use steel for strength for the frame and beneath the putting surface.

I think if there are parts I can get from Lowe's or Home Depot or some other locally available place in the right dimensions (or they can be assembled to the right dimensions), cool. I'd love to keep the 12' distance, but the 7' distance could be 6' without any problems at all. I'd be reluctant to go to 5 x 10, though - by the time you put the cup and hit from a bit onto the surface, you'll only have an eight-foot putt or less.

And, I'll pay a construction guy to help if necessary.

Some sort of screw system seems like it could work quite well. Across 7' or even 6', 5" of slope change would be enough to create a 6% slope.

14 hours ago, Pretzel said:

That said, if this is a bit much I would be able to tone it down and still create something that would work fine. I'll have plenty of time on my hands after this Wednesday, so I would be able to draw up a CAD model and/or detailed construction drawings for the design if you were so inclined (pun intended). 

I'd be interested to see what you could come up with. The above may or may not be too much - I don't know if I'd find the right kind of steel beams, etc. Let me know what you come up with?

14 hours ago, Pretzel said:

1) Air compressor. If you don't have an air compressor that's a bit of an investment initially, and they can get really loud when they need to recharge. In a small basement area I know I certainly wouldn't want to be in the same room as it when it is recharging. You also need to then plan a space for the air compressor and route the hoses to the bladders without them getting in the way.

I'd probably rather avoid something like that. I would rather this look self-contained. I have an air compressor (for my grips), and yeah… I don't want to use it for this.

2 hours ago, Grumpter said:

If it was me I would try to keep it as simple as possible. What comes to mind is a surface with a straight putt, a 2 degree slant and a 4 degree slant (using your parameters) all to 1 hole only. So the middle would be for straight puts and then one side would be for the 2 degree slant and the other for the 4 degree slant. The further you get away from the center line the more each putt will break which gives a wide variety of putts.

I feel like that's the cheap way out. I feel like, for a little more effort, I can truly have a pretty capable putting green that's very adjustable and quite nice. So I'd like to put in the effort to make the green that much more "good."

2 hours ago, Grumpter said:

I would also build a removable box the same height as the green to put on the lower left corner of the green. This way you can stand off the green and still be the same height as the green.

I don't know about that. The green is big enough to stand on. And if I just have a bumper on the back wall, you can stand right up to the edge of the green.

2 hours ago, Grumpter said:

Lastly I would add a chute from the cup to the back edge that would allow the balls to collect outside the back edge of the green.

A great idea, and something to possibly add later, but it's only going to be a few feet away, so I don't know that we can't just pick 'em up or roll them back to the area where we're hitting putts. I care more about getting a functional surface that I can hopefully adjust than having some little bells and whistles.


I might also be overthinking this whole thing. I mean, maybe the real solution is to make a 12' x 6' box and make four blocks that act as steppers.

stepper.png

I slide the steppers in or pull them out and that's that. Handles in the center of each side could make it easier to lift, and so long as the structure was sound when it wasn't on the ground, it should be fine. Maybe that means some wood around the outside (painted white) with some steel across with some plywood to give a flat surface for the putting green?

The downside of the steppers are that they will end up being quite wide. Assuming each step is an inch, I'd like it to be 5" tall (or 6 if you don't want the top step to be the landing there), and so that means it's probably about 8 or 10" wide or so if the steps are about 1.5" wide.


I typed the above out before you posted, so that's why these are included here later.

14 minutes ago, the fish said:

In order to make the slope, use leveling feet (as mentioned by @dennyjones).  You can make these adjustable from the top by double-nutting them.  This would allow adjustment from above using a socket wrench.  The range of adjustment you are looking for is only 2.4" (to get a 4% cross slope in 5'), so this should not be difficult to achieve. From above you would have roughly a 1/2" diameter hole in each corner to access the adjusters.

I'd probably look to get 3-4 inches across six feet or so, if possible. The idea of using screws of some kind (even if they had little handles on them) is still appealing to me though because it avoids requiring lifting and sliding blocks. It feels like a more elegant solution.

14 minutes ago, the fish said:

Also, run your studs perpendicular to the length, since the common stud length is 8'.  This will also make it easier to get a planar surface.  (Separately, in the previous green you built, I would have laid the plywood 90º from how you installed it so you wouldn't have to land two pieces of ply on a single stud's edge.)

I figured that if there was a seam it would be easy to step on it. Laying it the other way in that one would "expose" the seam. But since I put studs every foot or so it probably wouldn't have mattered, in hindsight.

8 minutes ago, saevel25 said:

Can you do something like this? Where at the one end you have that semicircle with a hing down the middle? You step off the putting green and remove a pin and pull a lever to tilt it, then reset the pin. 

An interesting idea, and one I may play around with a bit. The downside is that it would be tough to rig up four of these to make uphill and downhill putts possible. I also don't know if I'd be able to get the parts for that very easily, but it's an idea I'll keep mulling around.

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I'm thinking simplify also.  Re-setting the breaks seems to be a hassle that I wouldn't want to do.

Putting close to and along the "D" edge is no break, putting on the "B" edge is around 4%, the slope gradually changes from the "D" putting side to the "B" putting side.  4 holes on the "C" side and the "A" side.

That way you could have various breaks both right and left without having to re-set the breaks.  The drawback is that there wouldn't be a pure % break anywhere (for instance, nowhere would you have a 3% break for the entire distance of the putt).

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Another idea for making the slope adjustments would be the use of opposing wedges stacked on top of one another.  We use these "wedge packs" in structural concrete construction when we need to adjust large panels of formwork.  One wedge would be fixed, and one would slide.  The sliding wedge will adjust the height.  The range of adjustment would only be limited to the size of wedges used.  With some thought, I think you could create a pretty clean solution that would also be simple and durable.

Edited by the fish

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9 minutes ago, No Mulligans said:

I'm thinking simplify also.  Re-setting the breaks seems to be a hassle that I wouldn't want to do.

Putting close to and along the "D" edge is no break, putting on the "B" edge is around 4%, the slope gradually changes from the "D" putting side to the "B" putting side.  4 holes on the "C" side and the "A" side.

That way you could have various breaks both right and left without having to re-set the breaks.  The drawback is that there wouldn't be a pure % break anywhere (for instance, nowhere would you have a 3% break for the entire distance of the putt).

That feels more complicated than adjusting the whole thing. So, I'm going to have to divide my 6' width into strips, then make each strip have 0%, 1%, 2%, 3%, and 4% slopes? A 4% slope at 10 feet breaks 27 inches, so it's going to be down into the 2% slope area by the time it gets near the hole, and in the 3% area for a long time, so that doesn't feel any simpler, plus the floor of the putting green is going to keep increasing in slope, and I'd need a bunch of cups cut throughout. That feels more complicated than just adjusting the height of the whole structure.

3 minutes ago, the fish said:

Another idea for making the slope adjustments would be the use of opposing wedges stacked on top of one another.  We use these "wedge packs" in structural concrete construction when we need to adjust large panels of formwork.  One wedge would be fixed, and one would slide.  The sliding wedge will adjust the height.  The range of adjustment would only be limited to the size of wedges used.  With some thought, I think you could create a pretty clean solution that would also be simple and durable.

Yeah, wedges might work, but what might also work is if a steel rod or something is mounted to the bottom, and I could just insert that into something with a little slot for it every inch or so.

Really, if you think about it, there are a lot of ways you could engineer the thing to make the slope pretty adjustable. That's why I'd like to crack this nut and come up with a really good solution.

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16 minutes ago, iacas said:

but what might also work is if a steel rod or something is mounted to the bottom, and I could just insert that into something with a little slot for it every inch or so.

Are you referring to a pin you would insert at different heights (similar to how you insert a pin in weight machine to select different weight, or in this case height)?  If so, when you are at the low height, this would leave your adjusting "track" above your putting surface.

Am I misunderstanding you?

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If you put a hole at each end, you only need to be able to move one side and you would still have putts breaking in both directions.

I'm thinking of using something along the principle of a car jack - a small version of one, if it can be found - to lift a rigidly-built platform to whatever height you desire. Easy for anyone to do.

The other thing you could do is use the wall to create anchor points that you lift the green surface to....or a pulley system mounted on the wall. The latter would be a cool way to do it, but would look stupid and probably wouldn't be wife-approved. :-)

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Last crazy idea--make eccentric feet that rotate to achieve different height.  You could make this pretty simply from wood, with a bandsaw and drill press (or a jigsaw and hand drill if you don't have the others). Pardon the lousy sketch, but something like this...

 

doc00277020160412121851.pdf

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6 minutes ago, Big Lex said:

 

The other thing you could do is use the wall to create anchor points that you lift the green surface to....or a pulley system mounted on the wall. The latter would be a cool way to do it, but would look stupid and probably wouldn't be wife-approved. :-)

 

The pulley system would necessitate some kind of guide track as well or the platform would have too much swing to it. 

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11 minutes ago, Ernest Jones said:

The pulley system would necessitate some kind of guide track as well or the platform would have too much swing to it. 

That would make for an interesting mini-golf hole!

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