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Artificial Putting Greens: The Ultimate Outdoor Entertainment

by Marcus Pickett 35

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For golfers, the idea pretty much sells itself. You know to improve your golf game you need to work on your short game. You come home from work and you have an hour to practice before other things get in the way. You don't have the time or the opportunity to get to the course, at least not as much as you want. If you only had a putting green in your backyard?.so stop thinking about it and do it. Not only will your golf game improve, it'll provide you with endless hours of entertainment right there in your backyard. When your friends come over—and if they don't already, they will—you can have competitions that will nurture your need for focus and fun with your practice time.

Take out the Pool, Put in the Green
If your kids are leaving the nest or have simply lost interest in swimming in the pool, now is the perfect time to be thinking about using the space for something you want. Installing an artificial putting green is easier when it replaces an above ground pool. The hole left by the pool is perfect for the sand base that accompanies most artificial putting green installations.

Synthetic Means More than Just Carpet
A common misconception about artificial putting greens is that the synthetic material will be nothing more than glorified carpet. If you decide to go cheap, this may be true but for a little more you can get specially engineered synthetic fibers that look, act and feel like natural grass. The realism of the material can be crucial in allowing the practice time you spend on your new green to translate out on the golf course.

Another huge difference is that higher-quality synthetics will allow you to practice not just your putting, but your chipping as well. Inferior synthetics won't hold chip shots. It should also be noted that newer synthetics require almost no maintenance, while cheaper synthetics may need to be periodically sand-filled and gone over with a sod roller. Before you have your green installed, be sure to check out different options and prices and ask what, if any, maintenance will be required.

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Bunkers and Ponds
Part of the reason you're considering an artificial putting green is probably that you realize how ineffective shoddy indoor mats are with helping your short game. These mats have a monotonous, hypnotizing effect. In order to improve, you need to concentrate and, looking at the same hole from the same direction is boring. While moving your practice sessions outside to a larger setting already helps this, putting in a bunker and/or pond will make a huge difference. Not only will you be able to practice your sand shots, but a bunker will give the area an aesthetic boost. Better yet, put in a pond with a small waterfall and you'll have something absolutely picturesque. If you have the space, you may even be able to practice chipping over the pond helping your fear of shots over water.

Installation and Cost
Obviously, one of the biggest factors in determining how much your putting green will cost is size. You may be able to put in a small artificial putting green for less than a thousand dollars, but most people choose for something a little bigger and a little more realistic. Typically, installation costs will be somewhere between $6-10 per sq. ft. Keep in mind, though, a well-made artificial putting green will easily last more than a decade and requires no additional expense past the initial installation. Well, okay, you may still need to buy a new putter.

Marcus Pickett is a professional freelance writer for the home remodeling industry. He has published more than 600 articles on both regional and national topics within the home improvement industry.