How to Built a Backyard Putting Green - A Step by Step Guide

I built a putting green in my backyard, you can too

Although most of us will never be able to achieve the 'Dave Pelz' backyard, but with a bit of work, you can still create your own slice of golfing paradise right in your home that is sure to become the envy of all your golfing buddies. And let's not forget the strokes you will be able to shave from your handicap.

Here's a step by step guide on how you can build a stunning putting green in your own backyard. Unlike some other guides where people repackage the information they find on the internet, this article documents my own journey in creating my own backyard putting green, right from the beginning....and I absolutely love the end result!

Backyard putting green DIY

The Inspiration 

I'm sure that like myself, most of you have salivated over the backyard putting greens of golfing personalities and have daydreamed about having the same set up in your own backyards. However, when I initially looked into the costs of even doing a simple installation through a professional company (golfscaper?), I quickly realised that it would remain a daydream.

Then COVID hit. I, like many others who started to see our homes a lot more, caught the DIY home improvement bug. So I started researching on what a DIY route would looked like, and after watching a lot of YouTube and trying out a smaller test build (photo below), I decided to pull the trigger. Here's how I did it for a fraction of the cost of a professional install (<$4000).

Small backyard golf green

Benefits of Having Your Own Backyard Putting Green

Apart from elevating your 'golf tragic' status amongst your mates, having a putting green in your own backyard has a number of benefits.

  • Practice and more practice - where do you see all the low markers practicing at your golf club? Instead of machine-gunning 3 large buckets down the range, they are all congregated at the putting green. They know - this is the fastest way to lose strokes! Imagine the convenience of being able to work on your short game without having to step outside your house.
  • Improve the look of your backyard - there's no argument that a lush green golf course is pleasing to the eye. You can have a small slice of your own golf course right in your backyard - and it will stay green all year round with minimal maintenance!
  • Loads of Family Funhaving a backyard putting green is not just for serious golfers. It's also a great way to spend quality time with your family, especially if you have young kids and you are trying to get them introduced to the game. Putting contests with the kids on your own backyard putting green? Yes please.
  • Less maintenance and more enjoyment - having a backyard putting green made using synthetic turf means there will be no watering, no mowing, on fertilising. Just admire the fruit of your labour and enjoy!

Tempted? Let's get digging!

The Build

Design your backyard putting green

Before you start shovelling, thinking through the following - where do you want to have it and how big do you want to go?

Definitely pick a more level part of your backyard which offers good drainage. Draw a rough sketch with the shape, fringe design, measurements as well as rough cup placements before you start. It will help to determine the amount of materials you will need to source.

For me, as my backyard is gently sloped, I picked a relatively level area of the yard (~25 square metres) and would cover the rest of the yard with synthetic lawn. My yard is pretty square, so I've gone with a square green design, with fringe around it. You can definitely go with a more creative design, but I didn't want to test out my turf cutting and joining skills too much so I've gone super simple. I would recommend this for people who are trying for the first time.
See below for the 'before' picture.
DIY Green Green before photo

Source your materials 

Raw materials required for your build include the following

  • Putting turf - the star of the show
  • Fringe turf - longer turf to frame your putting green and also allow you to practice your short chips
  • Road base material - to give a stable base for your green and to help with drainage
  • Crusher dust - finer material than road base to give a smooth surface to put the putting turf on
  • Infill material - typically silica sand which is applied into your putting turf to give it a true roll as well as longevity

These will become the biggest part of your budget. My advise will be not to go cheap on these. Even if you go for the best materials, the total cost will still be a fraction of a professional job. To give you an idea, to do the whole yard which is rough 70m2, it costed me around $3500 for all the materials.

I was able to source all of the material from my local BC Sands store and have them all delivered together (see my purchase order & total price below). But these can be easily sourced from a number of other landscape supply stores. BC sands offer a online calculator which lets you calculate how much material is required for your project and it was super helpful! You can check it out here.

Home putting green materials

Golf green - raw material

The Excavation

If you have existing lawn, you will need to dig it up. You've got 2 options here

  • Hire a turf cutter - you can hire a machine which can cut up your lawn into strips. From my research, those are not the easiest to operate and most people opt to have a professional to operate it. The advantage with doing it this way is that it is easy on your back and can potentially resell your strips of lawn.
  • Use a shovel - you can cut your lawn into small squares with a shovel and dig them up piece by piece, make sure you get at least around 5cm of depth which will get to the root of your lawn. This is obviously the budget option and what I went with. Be warned that this is extremely backbreaking work and took much longer than I had anticipated. 

Lawn excavation

 Surface Prep

Once the lawn has been removed, first lay your road base evenly over your backyard and then hit it with the plate compactor. You can hire plate compactors for a pretty reasonable price at your local hardware store/hire shop and they are dead easy to operate. Lightly hose the surface (don't soak) before you compact it to get a better result.

Then it's time to do the same with crusher dust - try and achieve as smooth a surface as you can by spreading the material evenly and going through the area with the plate compactor until you are happy with the result. At the end you should get a near concrete like surface.

One of the regrets I have is that I should have gone through the surface a few more times with the compactor, and the result is that my green has a little bit of 'character' in certain spots. I really think preparing the surface is where the professionals earn their keep. 

Once you have the desired smoothness with your surface, you can then place your cups into the ground. Do this before you put the turf on so that you can smooth out the surface again after you've placed the cups in. It's very important to have a very smooth surface around the hole.

Lay the Turf

Once you are happy with the surface preparation. It's time to lay the turf!

If you have planned things out properly and have sourced enough turf. Then it's just a matter of doing the following steps

  1. Cut your turf into desired measurements - turf would typically come in whole rolls, so you will have to cut them into your desired shapes and designs. Use a sharp knife to achieve a smooth cut. Take time with this step, this is the only time you will be cutting this grass :)
  2. Join your pieces of turf (especially the fringe) together with turf tape. The key here is to ensure you align the grain of your turf before joining to achieve a really natural look. 
  3. Finally, secure your turf down with pegs every 30cm. You can overlap the fringe with the green turf and secure them together with turf pegs. 
  4. Cut the holes - find where you have placed the cups under the turf and then carefully cut out the turf over it. 


    By now your green should be looking pretty good! But Infill is an important step. By placing fine grains of silica sand into the root of the turf, not only are you protecting the turf, and weighing it down, infill is what give your green it's speed and smoothness. 

    Spread infill on your green evenly and then work your infill into the turf by brushing it with a stiff bristled brush. Do this repeatedly until you achieve your desired level of speed and smoothness - you will be surprised by how much infill your turf can accept. 

    To achieve a more even result, budget allowing, you can use a sand spreader and a power broom for this step.

    And that's it! Congratulations, you've got a putting green in your own backyard! 

    The result

    Although it's not in the same league as Augusta National or the famous Dave Pelz bakyard, I was over the moon with the result. I had my own backyard putting green that rolled beautifully that I can practice both putting and chipping with!

    Kaizen Golf | Backyard Green


    The backyard is a lot more usable with lush green 'grass' all year round with no bare patches, muddy areas etc and it's perfect if you have young ones. 

    I love it when I see my young kids trying to whack balls into the holes with their plastic golf sets. 


    Maintenance - what maintenance? There's no mowing, no watering, no weeding and your grass stays green all year round! The occasional brushing will help the grass to stay upright and for the infill to settle. Also either use a gardening rake or a leaf blower to clean up any fallen leaves and you really don't need to do anything else.

    To keep your turf in top condition, consider topping up the infill each year.

    Summing Up

    There's nothing that shouts 'golf addict' louder than a backyard putting green. With a bit of work, you can build your own DIY backyard putting for a fraction of the cost of a professionally installed green. 

    If you've been thinking about building a backyard putting green, I hope that by sharing a step by step process of how I was able to build mine will help you with the planning process - it's not as hard as you think! 

    If you have any questions on the process documented above, please feel free to contact me and I would be happy to share those with you. 

    Also, if you are after a putting green without the hard work, check out our pre-fabricated portable putting greens, we can also do custom sizes and designs according to your requirements. 

    Back to blog

    Leave a comment

    Enjoying our Blogs?