Build a Putting Green at Home

Published: 23rd September 2011
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Build a Putting Green at Home

National Greens has developed an original Do It Yourself approach on how to build a putting green during our years as backyard putting green and artificial grass installers. We have had years to evaluate its effectiveness and have proven results that have withstood the test of time. If you're looking for tips & instructions on how to build commercial or home putting greens with synthetic grass product, you've come to the right place! National Greens can supply everything you need to create your own one of a kind custom home putting green.

As with any home improvement project, proper installation of commercial or home putting greens is required to achieve high quality results. Installation of a backyard putting green can take approximately 2 days for the first 500 Sq Ft + an additional day for every additional 300 Sq Ft. You should not build a putting green when the temperature is cooler than 50 degrees F.

If you are looking for an installer of commercial or home putting greens, feel free to visit our home page or our contact us page and we will schedule you for a free installation estimate. If you are unfamiliar with the construction steps below we recommend you have a licensed contractor who is experienced in the installation of synthetic home putting greens & familiar with local requirements/codes/ordinances perform the work.

Build a Putting Green: Installation Measurement

Measure the length and width of the installation area in feet. Both commercial and home putting greens come in a variety of widths – most commonly in 13’ or 15’ widths. You artificial putting green must be installed with the grain facing the same direction, preferably facing the viewer’s perspective. Determine the most efficient way to utilize your sections with the least LF of seaming. Measure your artificial putting green installation twice before ordering! Account for waste – remember you must purchase the grass in fixed widths and you need to seam in the same direction. For the most accurate measurement me we recommend you do your calculations in sections. Example: Section 1: 13 ft. X 35 ft. = 455 sq. ft., Section 2: 13 ft. X 25 ft. = 325 sq. ft., Add 455 sq. ft. to 325 sq. ft. for a total of 780 sq. ft.

Build a Putting Green: Installation Preparation

* Call your local utility department to survey the installation area. If you are building a backyard putting green, be sure to obtain any required permits.

* If an irrigation system exists, contact an irrigation company to have it capped off.

* Use your sample piece of grass to practice the seaming process.

* Determine the amount of Decomposed Granite you will need – a good rule of thumb is:

* 1 Ton will cover approximately 66 Sq Ft, 3" deep

* 1 Yard will cover approximately 94 Sq Ft, 3" deep

* It is VERY important you use Decomposed Granite – as opposed to Class II base or other forms of crushed rock. Using Decomposed Granite for your artificial putting green installation will enable you to create the smoothest surface while allowing for proper compaction and grading.

* Obtain necessary supplies to include:

* Seaming Tape/Seaming Iron

* Sod Staples (flat head)

* 5" Steel Nails

* 1.5"x1.5" Framing Board

* 12" Plastic Stakes

* Filter Fabric/Weed Barrier

* Infill material

* Obtain necessary tools to include:

* Shovel

* Trowel

* Plate Compactor

* Hand Tamper

* Power Broom

* Sod Cutter

Build a Putting Green: Base Preparation and Installation

* Frame your perimeter using 1.5" x1.5" plastic/bendable framing board. Attach the framing board to 12" plastic stakes every 3’.

* Roll your artificial putting green out on a clean, flat surface. Allow your artificial putting green to lay in direct sunlight for 2 hours prior to installation.

* Gather all necessary tools and place the adhesive container in direct sunlight.

* Prepare the Base

* Remove 3.5" of soil in the installation area. A sod cutter can be used to remove existing grass. Sod cutters are available at most equipment rental stores. A square shovel can be used to remove additional soil from corners and edges. Make sure the base allows for proper drainage, a 1% grade should be sufficient. Once the soil has been removed install any edging that you plan to use.

* Slightly dampen the bare earth and compact it with a plate tamper. If the bare earth is too wet or has a high clay concentration spread a thin layer of crushed stone over the entire surface before compacting. Only a couple passes are necessary in most cases. Install a layer of weed barrier over the bare earth and trim as necessary, use sod staples to hold it in place.

* Begin distributing the decomposed granite and spread it evenly throughout the installation area. Use the back of a bow rake in a back and forth motion to level off the DG. Use the sod roller to even out the surface. Ensure that the DG allows for proper drainage as mentioned above, while taking into consideration the grading you desire for your green. The DG must be spread evenly across the entire installation area.

* Slightly dampen the DG and begin making passes with the plate tamper/compactor. Make as many passes as necessary to create a firm base. Do not make sharp turns with the plate tamper; this will create ridges in the base. High spots must be leveled off and low spots must be filled in and compacted. Use a hand tamp to compact any areas that were not compacted by the plate tamper. The smooth side of the trowel can be used to compact/ build up around the edges and corners. Your goal is to create a smooth and uniform base; the green will not hide irregularities in the base. A base that has been thoroughly compacted will not show a footprint when walked on. Once base preparation/installation is complete avoid any unnecessary foot traffic. Walk flat-footed on the base when it is necessary. The final base should be 1 ½" below the top of the border.

Build a Putting Green: Installing your Cup(s)

* Arrange your artificial putting green cups (available in aluminum or plastic) on the decomposed granite.

* Mark the place where your cups will be permanently placed. This can be done by applying pressure to each cup and rotating it. This will cause a small indentation in the decomposed granite which will be used as a marker or reference point.

* Using a small hand shovel dig a small hole that is at least 2 inches larger in diameter than the cup itself and equal in depth to the size of your cup.

* Add fast drying concrete mix powder around the entire outside perimeter.

* Use the handle of your hand shovel to pack down the mix. Leave 1" of the cup exposed.

Build a Putting Green: Finishing Your Base

* You will notice small ridges caused from the plate compactor on your base. These ridges need to be removed. Remember that the putting green needs to fit like a glove to your base so you want it to be as smooth as possible.

* Use the bottom of your shovel or hand tool to flatten the ridges.

* Use a drop spreader to distribute sand over the entire green. A 50 lb bag of sand will cover approximately 360 Sq Ft.

* Use your medium bristle push broom to lightly sweep the sand and any loose gravel off your base. This will fill any cracks and crevasses and it will also give you a very smooth base.

Build a Putting Green: Installing your Artificial putting green

* Installation can begin after the grass has been allowed to lay in direct sunlight for 2 hours. This will allow any wrinkles in the backing to settle. Use the power broom to brush the grass fibers against the direction they are laying prior to installation. This will make the installation of infill much easier. If you are seaming sections of grass together do not brush the fibers until you have removed the edges.

* Helpful Hint: If the width of your artificial putting green is less than your roll width you can skip the following steps.

* Helpful Hint: Make sure the grain of each roll of artificial putting green is running in the same direction.

* Place the artificial putting green turf over the edge of the decomposed granite and roll it out.

* Make sure there are no creases in the turf. If there are tiny bubbles and creases don't worry - the weight of the infill will make it go away.

* Separate the fibers before putting in the infill. You can do this by using a push broom against the grain of the putting green.

* Notice the black strip running the length of each roll. Lay one roll over where the seam will come together. Make sure the black backing is face up.

* With a utility knife and a new blade cut between the first and second row of stitching.

* Do this for only one of the rolls where your seam will be joined. Cutting between the rows will remove the black strip. It will also give you a tight fit and perfect seam.

* Place a solid base underneath the roll that is being overlapped. This will make for a solid smooth cutting surface.

* Overlap the rolls about 2" the entire length of the seam so that the roll with the black strip is still attached to the top.

* Place bags of infill every 5 ft on both sides along the length of the seam. This will prevent movement during the seaming process.

* Starting at the end of the roll, cut the top overlapped roll of turf by following the edge of the bottom roll with a utility knife.

* Continue this process with the full length seam. After the seam has been cut, join the 2 pieces together to ensure a tight fit before seaming the rolls together. Helpful Hint: Continue to replace your utility knife blade after cutting 8-10 ft.

* Nail down the black seaming strips on the sub base where the seam will come together. Helpful Hint: There should be an equal amount of black strip on each side of the seam.

* Spread adhesive over the entire surface of the black strip. The thickness of adhesive should be no more than 1/8 in.

* Allow 20-25 min for the adhesive to set up and get sticky before seaming.

* Lay each piece of the artificial putting green turf over at the seam.

* Starting at one end of one roll, lay one roll onto the adhesive and seaming tape the full length of the seam.

* Lay the second roll over as you join the 2 rolls together.

* Press the seam in place as you go applying pressure to ensure good contact of the turf backing and adhesive.

* Once the entire seam has been placed together walk over the artificial putting green several times.

* Allow 30 min before moving on to the next step.

Build a Putting Green: Shaping Your Green

* The green is delivered in a rectangular shape. If you're not adding a fringe turf to your putting green, cut the shape of your putting green using your outside border as a guide. If you desire a fringe around your putting green, use a yard stick to assist with the measurement.

* Formula to determine the amount of fringe turf needed for a two foot collar of fringe: Total length + width Divide by 2.5

* Example:

On a 24 X 26 putting green the length is 52 feet if you place the two 12 by 26 rolls end to end 52 + the width of 12 = 64. 64 divided by 2.5 is about 26. A 12 X 26 foot roll of fringe turf is needed to give a 2 ft collar of fringe around the putting green.

* Use your yard-stick to measure two feet in from the border.

* Use a string to mark your shape in 1 foot increments.

* Use a utility knife (with new blades) to cut along the outside perimeter.

* To maximize your fringe and minimize waste. Run the fringe turf the length of the putting green on each side first, then the two widths. Helpful Hint: The grain of the fringe turf must run the same direction all around the green.

* Roll out the fringe turf over one side the length of the shaped putting green.

* Overlap the entire roll of fringe turf just enough to cover the shape of your artificial putting green on one side the length of your putting green.

* Feeling the shaped putting green under the fringe, nail down the fringe into the sub base using 5" galvanized nails with small heads 2 inches out into the fringe from where the seam of the putting green turf and fringe turf will meet.

* Place the nails every six inches the entire length of your fringe turf. Helpful Hint: Nailing between the rows of stitching will hide the nails.

* Next, come out 1’ into the fringe turf.

* Nail down the fringe turf 1" out into the fringe every six inches the entire length of the fringe. Nailing the fringe at both the seam and a foot out from the seam will anchor and secure the fringe turf in place and make for a very tight fit.

* Continue to do this for the entire perimeter of fringe turf.

* Cut along the outside perimeter where the fringe meets your border.

Build a Putting Green: Infill

* If the infill or putting green get wet the infill clumps together prohibiting properly application of the infill.

* Fill the drop spreader 1/2 full with infill and spread your infill across the top of your artificial putting green.

* You must aggressively brush in your infill.

* This infill procedure must be repeated until you have filled your artificial putting past the tips of the fibers.

* Over-filling of the green ensures a consistent level of infill across the entire putting green surface.

* By infilling the fringe turf the fibers will stick straight up or vertical. You only need to fill the fringe turf half full to achieve this.

* Use your broom to consistently brush against the grain of the fringe. This gets the fibers to stand up.

* Brush the excess infill off your artificial putting green.

* Sweep your artificial putting green a second time to remove any excess infill. Your goal is to have 1/32" of the putting green fiber exposed.

Build a Putting Green: Back to your cups!

* Locate the cup holes by pressing the synthetic turf with your hands until you feel the holes. Using a utility knife (with a new blade) cut the holes out of the turf. Begin by cutting an X inside the hole.

* Cut tightly around the inside edge of the cup marked by the X. It is very important to take your time with cutting around the inner edge of the cups. After the holes are cut, trim the loose fibers around the cup with hand scissors.

Build a Putting Green: The final steps!

* Rolling of the green will determine the speed of you putting surface

* Using water filled roller, roll the green the length & width of the entire surface.

* Do this several times - both the length and the width of the putting green to achieve the speed you desire. Once you have done this you will not have to do it again in the future.

Build a Putting Green: Post Installation Care

* Periodically, brush your artificial putting green using a push broom. This will help stabilize the fibers, and keep the grass clean. Any spills that occur can be cleaned using a mild detergent and water. A plastic leaf rake or leaf blower can be used to remove any debris or foliage.

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