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Get Your Own Putting Green

No, not just a color in your Crayola Box, it is now possible to have your own private putting green in your own yard. For the avid golfer it might seem like a dream come true to have your own green. Do they know what is involved? Let's look at some facts. Greens are expensive to build and need special maintenance.

If you are determined to have one then we will fill you in on some facts. The first thing you ought to know is that taking care of greens will need a great deal of work. One of the first items to be considered is drainage. To maintain a green in good putting condition, the water has to be able to drain off properly.

It does need to be watered, but in watering, it also should be well drained. If you want to have your own green, you should be able to spot disease, insect problems, and fertility issues. One thunderstorm can tell you if you have enough drainage. Some greens need to be surrounded by perforated pipes to carry the water to a distance away from the green or to a private stream.

Seeding is a problem, knowing what seed to plant for your location and making it look great is another problem. If you consider using sod, you should know that it is expensive. Seeded greens have to be pampered while the grass is taking hold. There is a fine line between waiting too long to mow and weakening the turf, making it open to blight, and mowing it too soon. The grass could be so young and tender that a regular mower will mash it down. Green mowers are also an important cost factor to consider.

New mowers can cost $5000 or more and used mowers are known to be priced as high as $1000. Toro makes a special mower just for greens. Controlling such diseases as pythium, sod webworm and cut worm as well as algae and moss has to be done consistently. Regular treatment needs to be applied and if a treatment is missed, you could find your green overrun by disease in the space of one week.

Building a green can be done either by USGA specifications or by using less expensive material and less elaborate drainage designs. USGA specifications can make the cost of your green anywhere from $20,000 to $80,000. A good design is one where the green is above the surrounding lawn area with sandy loam topsoil. It also requires about a one-percent slope for satisfactory drainage. Many experts also recommend an irrigation system so you won't have the inconvenience of watering the green by hand.

What grass do you want for you own backyard green? Again that is going to depend on where you are located. You have to consider if you are in the warm season zone or the cool season zone. There are many basic grasses that are used on nearly any golf course and there are also grasses that have been specifically developed for golf courses. In the cooler climate, these seeds are suggested for your green. For one hole of golf, in the tee areas it is recommended that you use bentgrass while roughs and fairways require bluegrass. Hazards can also be planted with rough bluegrass and other ground covers.

In the southern or warmer zone, the recommendations are as follows. Tee areas should use Hybrid Bermuda, for fairways Bermuda, Ryegrass, and Zoysia is recommended. Roughs require Bahias, St. Augustine, Common Bermuda, and Ryegrasses.

Another question that you will need to answer is; do I need a special lawn mower? A standard rotary motor is not the right mower for keeping a green. It is important that you use a mower that pinches off the grass rather than chopping it. Look around for the best deal on these mowers. Maintenance time should not be so time-consuming that you can't enjoy your private putting green. It can give you hours of enjoyment and practice in the comfort of your backyard and if you especially enjoy gardening, it will be well worth the effort. Landscaping and preserving a golf green can be fun and relaxing, and you have the added benefit of being able to improve your game at home instead of going to a course to practice.


By: Gregg Hall


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