By Evin Priest
A DIY project that will leave your mates green with envy.
A putting and chipping green in your own backyard … we’ve all dreamed about it. Some have even had the courage to do it. But in your dreams, did you open the back door and walk out to a synthetic surface, or were you having so many Rapid Eye Movements (REM) that you actually had a real grass putting green?
Well, we’ve conducted an investigation into both scenarios. So if you’re contemplating (making the greatest decision of your life and) installing a shortgame wonderland at your home, here’s what you need to know:
WHO better than the superintendent of The Australian Golf Club, Phil Beale, to detail the cost and effort into installing a real grass putting green at home? Beale took a break from preparing the course for November’s Australian Open to give us the facts.
“The average putting green at The Australian is 500 square metres. The average home couldn’t accommodate that, but to be worthwhile you’d need 250sqm for the surface and 300sqm overall.”
1. Construction: “First, you’d kill off the grass where the green would go. Then, dig out the 250sqm of putting green and core (punch holes for aeration) the area 400 millimetres deep and install a drainage system into that area. The most popular is the herringbone system (one or two vertical drains with diagonal drains running into them). You’d then lay 100mm of road base over the top of the drainage and then 300mm of root zone. Some sort of irrigation system would be needed around the putting green and for the putting surface I’d recommend creeping bentgrass.
2. Maintenance: “Water as infrequently as you can to get the truest roll for your putts – once every three days in summer and hardly at all in winter. We’re maintaining the greens every day and the amount of fungicides that need to be applied during summer is massive, otherwise you wont have any grass on the greens.”
“Putting greens cost us about $100/sqm. But that’s a golf course buying in bulk and with industry discounts. I’d estimate the average bloke at home would have to pay almost $150/sqm to install a grass green as a one-off job.”
Total: $45,000 for 300sqm
WHERE artificial putting surfaces win out over grass greens is time. As Enduroturf (Australia’s largest independent synthetic grass installer) points out, the only thing you’ll be doing on your putting green is playing – not maintaining. We spoke to Brad Harris, the owner of Enduroturf’s NSW agent, Renograss.
“We find most backyard installs are between 25 and 30sqm. That gives the client enough space for two or three cups. Anything less than 20sqm is ok for kids or a putt-putt green, but it’s not ideal for the serious golfer. You want at least 20sqm to have the freedom to putt and chip onto the surface. Having said that, there’s no real minimum or maximum we do; we’ve surfaced backyards that are hundreds of square metres.”
1. Design and consultation: “Clients determine how they want to use the putting surface and factor in other uses of the backyard – such as a clothesline and wheelie bins. You also want to provide maximum chipping areas to get the best use out of the surface.”
2. Construction: “First we remove the existing grass so all the organics are gone. Crusher dust is then laid down because it’s a finer material; road base is too coarse and produces too many hard lumps. After that, we chip and putt a golf ball to make sure there’s a nice roll and then install the synthetic grass. After that, 38mm fringe grass is placed around the green before sand is brushed into the pile of the grass, so the client can adjust the speed of the green.”
3. Cup installation: “We usually give clients a week to play the green to determine where they want the cups placed. We can install them in step two, but sometimes clients change their minds and that extra time helps. We also can add more sand to adjust the speed. A 30sqm green takes two days to install and anything bigger takes slightly longer.”
“Depending on the style of installation, type of synthetic grass chosen and the amount of base prep, costs range from $120 to $150/sqm. That range is because we have different types of putting surfaces for different sizes – if you’re installing a larger green you have a few more options for incorporating direction and grain of the grass. For smaller greens, you don’t want grain as this will limit the types of putts and chips you can hit. We’ve done front yard golf green installs for $3,000 and some multi-hole installs up to $11,000.”
Total: $4,500 for 30sqm
Enduroturf: National (07) 3289 4000; NSW: Renograss – Brad Harris on 0408 210 033 or [email protected]