Backyard Green

So I have been wanting to build a green in my backyard for sometime now. With the COVID-19 epidemic, I have a bunch of time on my hands and figured this would be the time to do it.

A little background information: I am an avid golfer that can’t get enough of the game. I am a member of a semi-private course in Western PA. During high school and college, I worked at the same course I am a member at. During that time I was able to learn a little about golf course agronomy. Since then, I have become friends with a guy who lives near me that happens to be a former golf course superintendent. His knowledge has helped me along the way.

Since I am not trying to spend a ton of money on this project, I resorted to doing all the work by hand. So no backhoes, ditch witches, etc. Just good old fashioned shovels, rakes, wheelbarrows, etc.

I am building this green to USGA specs. I plan on planting perennial rye grass so it will be kept at FW height. This will allow me to work on my short game up to 100 yards. It is approximately 500 square feet. I have completed the coring of the green and bunker. The next step is to put in the drainage, however with all the rain we have been getting, it has slowed me down quite a bit.

Hope you enjoy these pictures. I will be sure to post more as the project progresses.


Ground breaking.


How I spent my Easter Sunday.


A look from 75 yards out.

green 5
Good look from the right side of the green.

green 6

green 7
Working on the coffin bunker.


Got the inspiration for this when watching reruns of 2016 British Open highlights at Royal Troon.

green 9
A look from just in front of the coffin bunker.

green 11
A look from just in front of the green.


Drainage ditch dug in order to keep as much run-off water off the green as possible.


Drainage ditch in front of green and bunker. Where we stand at this moment.

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Amazing! really looking forward to seeing this progress!

@sundaybag @BCNSuper

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Wow great progress so far! Will be following closely from my backyard-less apartment

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Very excited for the progress here.

Wow this is wild man, can’t wait to see it continue to evolve

From here what are the plans. After the drainage is in are you going to put down a base layer or gravel or sand? Then a sand and organic mixture then sod or seed? I want to do something like this. Message me I have many questions.

So basically here is the plan from here…

  1. Place the drainage around the green area, similar to a moat. This is so no run-off water will run onto the green. Not sure if you can see from the pictures, but the green sits at the bottom of a hill (only place I had in my yard to build). Naturally the rain water is going to go in that direction, so I dug a ditch around the outside perimeter of the green to collect that water.
  2. Plan the drainage for inside the green. You want to use the natural contours of the land to decide on the proper areas for the pipes. Use spray paint prior to digging to mark the proposed areas. Since my green is only 500 square feet, I will use two main drainage points. Think of it like a tree, one long ditch and then smaller ditches branching off to collect water on other parts of the green. Be sure the ditch is sloped so the water doesn’t settle.
  3. After placing pipe in the ditch, cover with B1 or pea gravel.
  4. Next step, you want to have a minimum of 4 inches of gravel for the entire surface of the green. I am using B1 gravel. When spreading, the gravel contours should mimic the contours of the final green.
  5. Then comes the root zone mixture. I am going with an 80/20 mixture of sand and peat. You will want to get this from a golf course supplier. They will mix it properly for you and deliver it too you. Depending on how firm you want your green, you could go with 100% sand (very firm) or a 60/20/20 mix of sand/peat/topsoil (less firm). You need about 12 inch depth of root zone mixture.
  6. Spread the root zone mixture evenly. This is the last chance of making the contours you want.
  7. Next comes the seed. Decide on what strain works best for you in your area and how much effort you want to put in. I live in Western PA, so cool weather grasses do well here. I thought about going with bent so I could cut it low enough to practice putting, however with bent there is a lot of maintenance when it comes to spraying chemicals. The lower you cut it, the more susceptible it is to disease. My friend thats a former GC superintendent talked me into going with perennial rye. I am building this to work on short game and shots up to 100 yards, so he suggested the rye since it can be cut down to 1/2" and still survive, plus less maintenance when it comes to chemicals. So mine will be cut to a height of most courses fairways.
  8. After planting the seed, I am going to cover with mushroom manure in order to help the seed germinate. Rye germinates pretty quickly so I should see some germination within a week.
  9. The last thing I am going to do is put in some irrigation lines in order to water the green easily. This is not a must, but since my green is about 75 yards from the nearest hose, I am doing it to be safe.

I think I covered everything that needs to be done. If you have any other questions feel free to ask me. I have enjoyed this project, even though doing it by hand and solo has been a lot of work.

Here is the bible that I have referred to the whole time. Lots of good tips. Enjoy.

archive.lib.msu.edu

tipsforsuccess-2018.pdf

17.65 MB

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I have been wanting to do something like this in my backyard for a long time. I can’t wait to follow along.

I got 14 ton of gravel coming today, so hoping to get started on the drainage ASAP.

What’s your teeing area look like? Any drainage for the bunker?

I am putting drainage in the bunker. One trench length wise and a smile drain at the low point.

As for teeing areas the plan right now is to use a 4’x4’ driving range mat at approximately 100 yards, 65 yards, and 40 yards. I have thought about planting a tee area but not sure if I want the upkeep of filling divots and trying to manage that growth.

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Gotcha. So are the teeing areas flat or will you need to dig out spots to put the mat? How do you plan to prepare the teeing areas for the mat?

They are mostly flat but I will probably have to dig out a little bit to make sure they are level. The one area I plan on making a tee is close to a hill so I am going to build it up using some of the boulders I dug up in the process of coring out the green. Make it look more appealing.

Can’t believe no one’s mentioned it yet - but wow what a view in your backyard @Biggs! Just a bit more scenic than my small patch of grass and fence. Should look incredible when you’re done. Best of luck with the project and i’ll be following along.

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Subscribed. This is awesome. How big of a lot does your house sit on? Care to post a google earth satellite to get a sense of scale?

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Sweet! Whatever you end up doing for the teeing areas, make sure and have a nice firm base - ideally concrete - under the mat. Nigh and day performance difference. Look forward to seeing how it comes out.

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Thanks for the info. How deep did you dig below your sod? Did you go down thoe roughly 16 inches you need or did you leave some room so the green will be higher than the surrounding landscape.

My lot is just under an acre. The land right above the pond is a hill side. The farther you go back to the corner of my property (top right of the screen shot, where the green is being built) the less of a slope. I live in a housing plan, but we were fortunate to get a lot where no one lives to the left of us. Also there are no houses within 100 yards of the green, so no need to worry about errant shots.

The tee shot from the 100 yard box and 65 yard box will be a little elevated compared to the green. The green sits on the lowest part of the property, which is why I am being very meticulous with my drainage. Unfortunately, I do not own the pond or I would of built the green right next to it. Hope this gives you a better idea of where it will sit.

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I think that would all depend on the topography of the area you plan to build the green. Since my spot sloped a little from right to left, I had to dig down deeper on the right side since that was the higher point. I used all the dirt I dug out to build up the left side of the green I basically created a 4-5 foot high mound on the left side.

I dug approximately 20 inches on the right side and a little lower as I moved to the left since it already sat lower. On the far left side I just pretty much dug deep enough to take the sod out.

The plan was to build a hybrid of a redan/punchbowl. The green will slope from right to left naturally and I have mounds built almost as a back stop around the left side, back side, and back right of the green. These should help funnel balls into the putting surface. The only issue with the punchbowl concept is you MUST make sure you have an area for water to exit on the low side since water will tend to gather in that spot.

I will take some more pictures tomorrow to give you a better idea.

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