Private putting greens are becoming increasingly popular—and for good reason. Whether you’re an aspiring golfer, a seasoned professional, or even a business owner, installing artificial grass is a modern approach to enlivening an outdoor space and bringing people together to enjoy a relaxing activity.
When installing artificial grass, industry professionals recommend a length of 0.125” (0.32 cm), but the ideal length varies depending on whether the putting green is intended for recreational or professional use. Shorter turf allows the ball to roll easily, while longer turf provides a challenge.
Installing artificial grass comes with a host of benefits and practical implications. To know what length of turf will be best for your putting green, consider the following information.
Putting Green Measurements Based on Use
The length and thickness of your putting green should reflect your personal needs and interests. Modern synthetic turf is designed to look beautifully realistic and can enhance your landscape immensely. However, turf that is too short or too long can quickly get shaggy, messy, and frustrating to work with.
Here are a few pointers on ideal measurements for artificial grass based on the way you intend to use your putting green.
Tall turf or fringe grass (1.5″ to 2″ long) is straight and can have a vivid, lifelike appeal. If installed and maintained properly, tall turf visually enhances an area and gives it the appearance of a real golf course. (source)
A major appeal of fringe grass is the challenge it provides to golfers; practice chipping and putting on a variety of terrain levels is a sure way to enhance your skills and prepare yourself for real golf courses.
Be aware that tall artificial grass can be difficult to maintain, and can quickly look ragged and damaged if installed in an area with significant levels of humidity.
Short, bentgrass (0.125″ to 0.25″ long) is a common preference among avid golfers, especially for putting greens. The texture and cut of this turf mimic real, recently mown grass, making it an ideal practice terrain for the natural grass seen on most upper-level courses. (source)
Still, that doesn’t mean it’s not beginner-friendly; this length of grass is also ideal for practice putting, since short turf allows the ball to roll more easily. Short turf is easier to maintain and can last a long time before needing to be replaced, but be sure not to cut it so short that it looks threadbare.
Artificial Grass Versus Real Grass
If groomed well, natural grass will always look more lush and vibrant than turf. That’s simply reality. Still, there are a few factors to consider before deciding between the two.
If you’re looking for a solution that will be easy to maintain and fun to practice putting on, factors like the weather, temperature, humidity, and landscape of your local area can all impact your ultimate decision.
Beyond aesthetic appeal, real grass offers the advantage of adjustable length, meaning you can mow it to whatever length you intend to practice on in order to develop the desired skill set. The drawbacks are that real grass requires maintenance and can be less reliable than synthetic grass. (source)
You’ll need to water, mow, and weed the grass regularly, ensuring that it is neither too wet nor too dry. If you have a vigorous swing, you can accidentally make divots in the lawn that are difficult to repair, resulting in uneven terrain. (source)
If you have pets that roam your yard, you’ll have to preemptively prevent damage by promptly removing waste or filling holes. The list of issues goes on, but it all comes down to the level of maintenance you are willing to commit to in order to achieve your preferred grass length and smoothness.
- In direct correlation to the disadvantages of real grass, artificial grass is incredibly low maintenance.
- It doesn’t need to be mown, weeded, or watered, which makes it an economical choice in dry areas where water is a precious resource.
- Turf is also durable, meaning it can withstand damage from pets, weather, tread, and extreme temperatures.
While it can be expensive to install, artificial grass is wonderfully reliable, as it will not only have a consistent appearance and serve as a consistent practice surface. (Bonus: If installed by professionals, artificial turf can increase the resale value of your home!)
Differences Between Professional and Recreational Turf
In golf, chipping refers to a shot that makes the ball roll or bounce along the ground rather than fly through the air. Chipping requires a much smaller swing than pitching and is typically the method used when the golfer is within a few yards of the green.
For recreational putting, the distance you will chip the ball is often much shorter than the distance you would chip it on a professional course. For leisure golfers, the chipping distance will be 3 to 4 times shorter than for professional golfers.
With this in mind, the length and size of your putting green will depend on whether you intend to use it for professional practice or social recreation.
One of the main differences between professional and recreational turf designs is the texture of the turf fibers or yarns. Recreational turf tends to be easier to clean and maintain because it is crimped, meaning each fiber is textured.
Because competitive players will use the turf more rigorously, professional turf requires regular rolling, a maintenance process that levels and grooms the surface of the turf. The denser the turf, the easier it will be to perform well and the longer your putting green will be able to withstand the wear of practice and play.
The green speed, or the numerical rating of how fast the ball is moving, is referred to as a “stimp” because the measurement of speed is taken on a Stimpmeter (source). On a recreational putting green, the stimp often averages around 8-11, compared to a range of 10-13 on a professional green.
This means that your putting green should be designed based on how hard and how far you intend to practice hitting the ball.
Recreational putting greens are far more affordable than professional ones. Material for recreational putting greens can be found online and can be fairly easy to install on your own. Professional putting greens, when installed correctly, demand meticulous attention to detail, level, infill, and quality.
As an avid golfer, almost any professional you consult with will recommend having professional installers complete your putting green, as it is worth the upfront expense to have it done well.