For an avid golfer, there’s nothing better than being out on a golf range practicing (well besides maybe playing a round). After all, where else can someone enjoy the great outdoors, socialize with friends, see a variety of wildlife, and revel in a well-played golf shot all at the same time?
But, like any sport, getting good at golf requires a lot of training. For those who’ve always dreamed of having their own personal putting green, or simply don’t have three or four hours a day to devote to going to a driving range or a lot of money to spend on green fees, installing a backyard putting green can be a cost-effective and convenient solution.
The Cost of Playing at a Golf Course
The cost of a round of golf in the U.S. varies depending on the tee time, the day of the week and season, the golf course (whether its public or private), where the golf course is located, etc. However, in general, the cost at daily-fee courses ranges from $25 per round (for 18 holes) to hundreds of dollars at a resort. This means the average golfer typically spends several thousand dollars to play golf each year, not counting the cost to rent a golf cart, buy golf equipment and clothing, and so on. Times that amount by several years and the costs can really add up!
The Cost of Having a Backyard Putting Green
Fortunately, putting in a backyard putting green costs a lot less than regularly going to a golf course to practice a short-game, depending on the size and type of putting green. And, residential golfers can currently choose between two options: installing real grass or artificial grass.
REAL GRASS (FYI: Most experts don’t recommend this option for residential golfers.)
Natural turf putting greens (e.g., bent grass or Bermuda grass) can be great under the right circumstances (such as when a golfer has a lot of money or also happens to be a professional gardner), but this option does require a lot of time, expertise, money, equipment, and extensive labor to keep green. The groundskeeper has to water every day, and mow four to six times a week.
Cost: (For an approximately 1,000 square foot backyard putting green, according to the University of Arkansas)
- Greens mower: $1,000-$5,000
- Mower sharpening: $100 per year
- Rootzone: $500-$1,500
- Cup (hole) cutter, cups, and flagsticks: $300
- Fertilizer: $75 per year
- Fungicide: $150 per year
- Insecticide: $50 per year
- Creeping bentgrass seed: $50
- Tifdwarf, TifEagle, or Miniverde sprigs: $150 to $300
Plus all the time required to mow, water, and maintain it.
In contrast, experts usually recommend installing artificial grass because there are a lot of great synthetic putting greens now available on the market that look and respond like real putting-green grass. More importantly, this type of grass can be quickly and easily installed in a backyard, and is virtually maintenance free.
Using artificial grass to create a backyard putting green costs as little as $2.19 to $4.59 per square foot, and can last for more than a decade. What’s more, laying artificial grass is as easy as removing existing turf; applying a layer of sand, crushed stone, or grit; leveling the surface, installing the artificial grass, and then adding a layer of sand on top of it. In other words, it’s generally the far better solution.
Download our step-by-step guide to installing your backyard putting green.