Do you have Australia’s best backyard golf setup? Prove it

We’ve seen some beauties over the years – Himalayas putting greens, architecturally designed par-3 holes, indoor simulators with bar and lounge, even nine and 18-hole par-3 courses with multiple tees.

What’s one man’s acreage is another man’s Augusta National. Ultimately, though, it comes down to the vision – and available funds – of the beholder as to what their DIY golf project looks like, but the end results are nearly always the same: serious fun is to be had.

While the pandemic saw an explosion in participation numbers for golf clubs, what wasn’t widely reported was the increase in home DIY golf facilities. Strict lockdowns forced many golf-obsessed citizens to get creative in their bid to bring the playing experience to their backyard or garage. As a result, lawn companies, golf-sim installers and just about every business offering at-home practice equipment flourished.

The craze took me back to my younger years growing up in country New South Wales. Like a lot of kids out bush, I was lucky to have been raised on a huge double-block of lush lawn my father took immense pride in maintaining. 

One day, my newfound golf addiction got the better of me. Frustrated that I couldn’t spend every available minute hitting balls at my local course, I took it upon myself to bring those oily sandgreens to Clifton Country Club. I ripped up a circular section of Dad’s beautiful grass, took all the sand from my childhood sandpit and mixed it with some old sump oil I found in the shed. I then spread it out evenly on my new patch of paradise. Not yet done, I dug a cup-sized hole big enough to house an empty tin of baked beans, and repurposed one of Dad’s many tomato stakes and rags to make a flagstick. 

Dad was initially filthy with my behaviour but, after a few chipping comps together, quickly warmed to the idea of having his own backyard ‘green’. I can still play all the shots in my head, from the front of the house, down the side, even a few lob shots over the shed. 

Of course, my crop circle paled in comparison to some of the efforts I’ve been exposed to in this job. 

Sydney entrepreneur Craig Perkins’ take on a backyard green will take some beating. The Terrey Hills Golf & Country Club member may well own the most impressive backyard green in the country – an exact replica of TPC Sawgrass’ famous 17th hole he made the focal point of his stunning 80-hectare horse stud in the NSW Southern Highlands.

“I stood back and looked at one of my dams and thought, That would make a fantastic island green,” Perkins told us a few years ago when we ventured out to see it for ourselves.

Perkins engaged renowned course architect Bob Harrison, award-winning superintendent David Warwick and a team of surveyors to carefully map out Pete Dye’s famous island green with pinpoint accuracy. The green’s size, shape, distance and angle of attack from the tee were all measured to the number with precision, complete with the recognisable wooden-sleeper wall, front bunker and player walkway at the rear. It was truly impressive stuff.

More recently, Queensland-based finance guru Rob Nixon put forward his entry for Australia’s greatest backyard golf course with his stunning 27-hole par-3 layout tucked away in the foothills 30 kilometres west of Brisbane.

“Yarravale” is played to a triple-tiered synthetic green and complemented by an eye-catching clubhouse that’s fully equipped with a pro shop, locker room, whiskey bar, library and a cellar that houses your exclusive membership fee. Yep, you can get in with a bottle of good wine, which Nixon will drink with you at an agreed point in time, by which time you will then replace said bottle to renew your membership. Brilliant.

“I made the course tough so I don’t get bored with it,” says Nixon, who continues to make improvements to the club he’s capped at 140 members.

For the rest of us mere mortals, a used baked beans tin rammed into some oily sand can scratch the same itch. And we think all said projects, no matter how large or small, ought to be celebrated in an upcoming edition of Australian Golf Digest.

So, if you have Australia’s best backyard golf facility – or even the best in your street – we want to know about it.

Send all the details and pics to [email protected]