DIY Installation Process
1. TAKE THE MEASUREMENTS:
After deciding where to install your putting green, measure the length and the width of the proposed area. Ensure your putting green design or kit fits within the space you have. If you have a unique area deserving of a custom putting green design, we can help! Just give us a call and inquire about our custom putting green design services.
2. GETTING READY:
- Contact your utility department for a survey of the installation area.
- Obtain any permits required.
- For an existing sprinkler system, call your irrigation company to have it capped and marked. Move sprinkler heads just outside the artificial putting green area so water sprays away from the artificial turf.
- Find a local supplier for gravel and sand infill. More information on this in the next section.
3. YOUR CUSTOM KIT INCLUDES:
- Pro-quality artificial turfs with a 10-year manufacturer’s warranty
4. TOOLS & SUPPLIES You will also need:
- Levels: A torpedo level and string level are critical tools when measuring the grade of your putting green.
- Contractor upgrade: A laser level is most efficient for advanced projects with multiple unique putts.
- Shop broom: use the stiffest bristle option available.
- Contractor upgrade: while not readily available for rent, a power broom is a worthwhile investment for contractors who install putting greens and large amounts of artificial turf.
- Plate compactor: Rent a gas-powered vibratory plate compactor from your local hardware store. You may see “Jumping Jack” style compactors also, but avoid these or your project as they do not easily create a smooth surface.
- Excavating tools: The simplest option is a pickaxe with a horizontal mattock head and a square shovel. For larger installations where the existing ground is sod grass, renting a sod cutter from your local hardware store can speed up the process.
- Contractor upgrade: A mini track loader or skid steer can reduce labor and speed up installation for larger projects.
- Edging boards: Or hardscape transitions such as stone are optional. If you decide to go with an edging to separate natural sod or flower beds, metal edging, flexible composite perimeter board, or “Bender Board” work great.
- Drop spreader: Critical for spreading sand infill on your putting green. Drop spreaders apply a larger amount of sand than similar “broadcast” spreaders and will speed up the process significantly.
- “Scotts Turf Builder Classic 32-lb Drop Spreader, Item #91835 Model #76565.
- Turf Sand Infill:
We recommend a “20-40” silica sand or “20-40” coal slag.
Option 1: “ 20/40 Sand” can be found from a local sandblasting product distributor.
Option 2: “20-40, Coal Slag” which can be marketed in different names. “Black Diamond” is the name of a product from “Tractor Supply”.
3.5 inch non-galvinized, 16D nails: Expect to use 1 pound of nails per 300 sqft of putting green.
If your putting green kit doesn’t include fringe, instead purchase 3”, non-galvanized finishing nails. The smaller head minimizes any impression left in the finer putting green turf.
- Use “¼ inch – minus” gravel – this type of gravel can be limestone, sandstone, or granite. The definition of “¼ inch – minus” can relate to any gravel. The name references the size specifications. The largest piece of rock in gravel is ¼ inch while also includes all gravel dust smaller than ¼ inch. This means everything that passes through a ¼ inch screen . Having all the dust included in gravel makes it best for compaction so you want it “unwashed” which means containing all the dust. “¼ inch – minus” gravel is fine enough to create a smooth surface to put on and large enough to compact.
- 1 Ton covers 66 sqft at 3″ deep.
Note: If your base stone is a little larger than you need, “Paver Sand” from your local hardware store can be used to fine tune your gravel surface. A 50lb bag of sand should cover approximately 360 sqft.
5. THE BASE:
- If you have purchased one of our kits, a drawing is included. Measure the outer boundary of your putting green, drive stakes into the ground, and loop a marking string around the four corners. Stake placement shown by red stars in each corner of drawing and string represented by red lines shown in drawing below. Using the stakes and string will also allow you to use the string level to check your grade.
a. Pre-seamed kit option: If you purchased a seamed kit, simply unroll the kit and position where you plan to do your install. Using spray marking chalk and a tape measure, trace 1’ outside of the fringe green, remove the green from its footprint, then trace the outside dimension 1’ inside the guide you made. This prevents getting chalk on the green.
2. Follow the drawing to trace out the outer dimensions of your putting green in spray marking chalk on the ground.
3. If you currently have grass where your green will be installed, remove at least 2 inches of soil in the installation area. A sod cutter (shown in image below) can be rented at Home Depot if the job is too big for a pick and shovel. can be used to remove existing grass.
4. After the soil has been removed, check your slope with a string level or laser level. This is when you will make a decision whether or not you will need to fill in the area outside putting green with fill. This photo shows a gravel grade up to the edge of the green.
To conserve gravel, you can also use the sod/dirt removed from the interior to build up a retainer wall around the outside. (Do not use compacted sod under your putting green surface, only around the edges.)
You can stack your sod upside down, soak with water, and compact with the plate compactor. After you do this, you will still want to lay a thin layer of topsoil over compacted sod before you install your final pieces of sod right side up. Once the retaining wall is complete, begin bringing in your crushed gravel.
Begin distributing the ¼ inch minus gravel evenly over the installation area. Use the back of a bow rake in a back and forth motion to level off the gravel. Be aware of where you want the water to drain to. Your putting green will mostly shed water and not drain through. Artificial putting greens get faster over time, so you want to anticipate this by making your green slope/fall equal to or less than 1 inch over 15 feet. If your green is over 500 square feet, you can add some unique putts.
5. Start to dampen the crushed granite by lightly spraying with a water hose sprayer attachment. You want to dampen all the gravel without causing any saturation. Begin making passes with the plate compactor. Make as many passes as necessary to create a firm base. Try not make sharp turns with the plate tamper; this will create ridges in the base. If you do need to make a sharp turn, hold the plate compactor in place while you do so, rather than letting it move forward while turning. High spots must be leveled off and low spots must be filled in with crushed granite and compacted. If you have concerns, use a board or long level to scrape the top of the green. The goal is to create a smooth and uniform base; the green will not hide irregularities in the base. A properly compacted base will not show a footprint when walked on. Once the base preparation is complete, avoid any unnecessary surface traffic. The final base will be ½ inch below the top of the perimeter board or stone border.
6. Small ridges caused from the plate compactor on your base need to be removed. The putting green surface needs to fit like a glove to your base so you want it as smooth as possible. If necessary, use a hand tamper to remove any ridges left by the plate compactor.
7. Use spray chalk to mark cup placement. Rolling a basketball across your putting green base is a very effective way to see how the golf ball is going to react, especially if you are creating unique putts. If your basketball is rolling fast off the green when you try to mimic the speed of a putt, then you have too much fall in your green. Either shave the high side down and drag to low side or simply add more material to the low side
6. INSTALLING THE CUPS: Videos to help!
- You should have all your cup placements marked with spray chalk. Place your cups where you want them. Then apply pressure to each cup and rotate it. This will cause a small indentation in the gravel which will be used as a reference point.
- With a small hand shovel, dig a hole that is 2 inches larger in diameter than the cup itself and equal in depth. Add some fine dirt or sand to create a level bottom that supports the cup. Do not mortar under the bottom of the cup itself or it will not drain.
- Place the cup in the hole, ensuring it is level.
- VERY IMPORTANT: you want the ability to adjust your cup after the concrete is set, so it’s important to not allow concrete to stick to the cup. There are a few ways to avoid cups sticking to concrete:
- 1. Use a thin layer of plastic like a plastic grocery bag or saran wrap cut down, wrapped around the cup and adhered with scotch tape.
- 2. Without moving it side to side, slightly twist the cup while concrete is drying. This will prevent your cup from sticking to the concrete.
- Use lightly moistened mortar mix around the entire outside perimeter. Less water is better. If you get it very wet, the mortar will become sticky and harder to work with.
- Pack down the mix. Use your torpedo level throughout this step to ensure the top edge of the cup remains level.
- Leave the top edge of the cup exposed, about ½ inch.
- Allow concrete to dry before moving to the next step.
7. CUT & SEAM ARTIFICIAL GRASS PUTTING SURFACE:
- Unroll your putting green turf and allow it to lay in direct sunlight for two hours. This will allow wrinkles in the backing to settle out.
- Make sure the grain of each roll of artificial putting green is running in the same direction.
- Make sure there are no significant creases in the turf. The weight of the infill will smooth out small creases.
- Cut the top overlapped roll of turf by following the edge of the bottom roll with a utility knife. Cut off 3 rows because the ends of rolls can often be crunched a bit due to rolls being moved with a forklift. When you roll out your putting turf, line up the edges where turf is cut. Do this for only one of the rolls where your seam will be joined. Cutting between the rows will give you a tight fit seam.Once the seam is joined the 2 pieces together to ensure a tight fit before seaming the rolls together. For the best cut, replace your utility knife blade after cutting 8-10 ft.
- Roll the putting green turf over the crushed granite. Place the first roll over the granite. When placing your next roll, line the edge up for your guides. Try to roll out turf so that you do not have to drag the rolls to adjust the way it lays it out on top of your base. You can drag a little but you want to keep this to a minimum so that you don’t disturb the base. If you do disturb your base, fold turf back to adjust base.
- Place heavy weights, such as bags of infill sand, every 4 ft on both sides along the length and 4 feet away from seam. This prevents movement during the seaming process.Do this along the full length of the seam.
- All your putting turf rolls should be cut to shape and weighted down before you start gluing. Use thick children’s sidewalk chalk to draw on top of the turf. Once you have a clear mark on the top of turf with chalk, you can cut with your utility knife or for best results, use a
- “Universal Carpet Cutter” to cut shape. (Shown)
- Roll one side of your putting turf back and secure by setting some weight on the folded back edge so it doesn’t fall down.
- Cut your seaming tape 1 foot longer than your seam. This will make your seaming tape 6 inches longer on both ends than your putting green rolls. Place seaming tape under the roll that’s still laying flat. Slide your seaming tape ½ way under the side that is still laying flat. Once your seam tape is sitting half way out from roll laying flat, nail down the seaming tape at the 6 inch exposed ends so it doesn’t move once you begin applying glue.
- There should be an equal amount of seaming tape on each side of the seam. Draw a mark on your seaming tape with a sharpie marker. Use the edge of the putting green roll as a guide for marking with your sharpie. This will ensure you know exactly where your seam is going to come together.
- Once you know exactly where your glue is going to be applied, roll back the side of putting green turf and place weight on it so it doesn’t fall when applying glue.
- Apply adhesive the entire length of seam 6 inches wide. This will give you 3 inches of glue on both sides. A trowel can make spreading the glue more consistent.
- Allow 20-30 min for the adhesive to set up and get sticky before laying your putting turf down to glue. Lay one roll onto the adhesive and seaming tape the full length of the seam.
- Carefully join second roll to first roll. It’s helpful to have two people for this.
- Press the seam in place to get good contact of the turf backing and adhesive.
- After the entire seam has been placed together, walk over the artificial putting green several times.
- Allow 2-4 hours before moving on to the next step.
- Cut holes around your cups. Use the outside of the cup as a guide. Start by cutting an “X” in the turf in the center of the cup. Keep your knife straight up and down. If you lean your knife, your cut will not be uniform. Slowly walk in a circle leaning over cutting around the outside of the cup connecting the points at the ends of the “X”.
- Using your infill sand, add roughly 1 pound of sand per square foot in a 3 foot radius around your cups. Keep the sand at least 3 feet from the edges of the putting green to avoid having sand in the turf when you are seaming the fringe. By adding a little sand in the middle of the green, the putting green turf will flatten out and keep you from having ripples in your green after you attach your fringe
8. ADDING FRINGE TO YOUR GREEN:
- After the glue is dried on any putting green seams and the turf is cut to the shape of your green, you’re ready to add the fringe collar. The fringe collar turf will have longer fibers than the putting turf.The longer blades in the fringe turf make hiding seams easier.
- If you have a two-foot collar around your green, use a tape measure and spray chalk to measure two feet out from the putting green edge and paint a dot every 1-2’ along the edge. Once dots are painted, connect the dots with one continuous painted line. This will give you a point of reference where to finish.
- To get started, use the outside shape of your putting green as a border of reference to start laying in the fringe.
- Roll out your roll of fringe turf face down and trim the first row of stitching off of each side of the roll to create a clean edge.
- Using the cut diagram provided with your kit, mark the back of the fringe turf with sidewalk chalk or sharpie, then cut the fringe into pieces as described.
- After all pieces are cut, take your first piece of fringe and lay it on the edge of the putting surface. Make sure fringe turf overlaps the putting green all along the putting green edge and face the grain towards the center of green.
- The grain doesn’t have to be pointing perfectly centered but generally towards the center of the green. It will fluctuate as you lay your pieces around the green. By pointing all the fringe towards the center of the green, fibers on the edges will be overlapping and give you more room for error
Example of fringe layout
- SIDEBAR: Grain direction on synthetic turf
- Synthetic turf fibers lean two directions. Turf has a primary grain direction that is down the length of the roll. Turf fibers also lean a little to the right. This is called the secondary grain direction of the turf. This happens during the manufacturing process. By cutting the left side of the fringe pieces along the grain, the fibers will lean away from the edge and give you a cleaner guide to cut your neighboring piece to.
- SIDEBAR: Be cautious of two mistakes that are often made when nailing into synthetic grass fringe.
- Spread fibers open with fingers before driving the nail in. You want to avoid trapping any fibers when nailing through fringe. Trapped fibers will show the head of the nail.
- Also make sure not to counter sink your nails. If you drive the nails in too deep, you will see a visible dimple everywhere turf is spiked. To be safe, leave the head of the nail an ⅛ inch off the backing of turf.
- Keep in mind that you will be gluing putting turf to the fringe turf, then fastening the fringe to the base with nails. The putting green surface will not have any nails driven through it.
- Set your first cut piece of fringe in place and fasten to base with (3) of the 3.5” nails in the middle of the fringe. If your base is installed properly, your nails will hold well. If your base compaction isn’t tight and your turf doesn’t feel like the nails are stabilizing it, you can use larger nails or set a sandbag on each piece.
- After your first piece is installed, you are going to move left to install the next piece of fringe the same way. You will go clockwise around the green when laying fringe turf. Make sure there are no gaps around the turf, then nail the piece in place, leaving room to fold over the edges to cut.
- The left edge of the previous piece should be a clean cut along the grain of the turf. On the right side of the new piece, roll the turf edge back and cut at an angle across the grain to match the edge of the previous piece.
- Once the right edge is cut to align to the previous piece of fringe, roughly trim the edge of the fringe that is hanging over the putting surface turf so there is 1-2 inches of overhang. Moving 1-2 inches at a time, go back a second time and cut the fringe edge to match the edge of the putting green. Roll the fringe turf back and cut from the bottom for a better cut. Because the turf fiber is leaning over your putting green, you have a roughly half-inch margin of error between the two pieces of turf.
- Repeat these steps for the entire perimeter of fringe turf.
- Once you have the fringe pieces cut to each other and to the putting surface, use your chalk to mark the outside edge or freehand it if you feel comfortable. Cutting the outside is easiest with the “Universal Carpet Cutter”. If you have a board or stone perimeter, then use this as a cut guide for the outside.
- Place seaming tape under the putting turf and fringe fringe turf, secure tape with 3.5 inch nails. Lay seaming tape between fringe pieces and secure by fastening to base with 3.5 inch nails. Roll edges back and set weight on edges to hold turf back while applying glue.
- Allow glue 20-30 minutes to tack up before pushing turf down into glue. Press firmly along the glued edges.
- Allow glue to dry 2-3 hours before moving on to next step
9. ADDING INFILL:
- You want to keep the sand installation within the putting area at first. You will want to get the putting surface full and then broom excess off the putting surface into the fringe.
- Use 50 – 75 lbs at a time in the drop spreader. Try to distribute the sand as evenly as possible. This will save you time later as you are brooming it in.
- Spread a maximum of 2 pounds per square foot before you start brooming it in. Once you have applied two pounds per square foot and broomed in, apply the next layer.
- When finished applying sand, you want to have 1/32” of the putting green fiber exposed. Aggressively brush in the infill using a shop broom. Ensure your sand layer is consistent by making clean passes back and forth all the way off the putting surface into the fringe. Do this all the way across in one direction, then turn 90 degrees and broom the other direction.
- Once your putting surface is finished, place sand into the fringe. Infilling the fringe turf will stand the fibers straight up.You only need to fill the fringe turf half full to achieve this. Consistently brush against the grain of the fringe, towards the outside edge, and away from the center. Broom against the grain so the fibers stand up.
- Look at the top lip of your cups.
- If the height is off, you should be able to adjust them. If they are low, you can pull them up a little higher than the top of turf fibers. By pulling them up a little higher, this will allow some of the sand granules to fall in between the concrete and cup.
- Once you have them a little higher than desired, place a small piece of turf or cardboard over the top up cup to protect the paint. Then set a piece of wood or any rigid material that will lay across the entire cup width. A 6 inch piece of 2″ x 4″ wood works well. If you have a hand tamper, it will work as well. You tap the top of the cup down until it’s at the right height to hold sand in turf while the edge of the cup doesn’t affect the ball when rolling into the cup.
- If your cup is already high then you will not need to raise it. Simply tamp it down to desired height. Granules of sand will lock it in place.
- Run the plate compactor over the entire surface of the putting green repeatedly until you achieve the speed you desire. The plate compactor will help flatten any small imperfections in base and crease the putting green fiber tips to speed the green up.
- Install flagpoles in your cups and enjoy your putting green!
11. POST INSTALLATION CARE:
- Any stains or spills that occur can be cleaned using a mild detergent and water.
- A plastic leaf rake or leaf blower can be used to remove any debris or foliage. If using a blower, use the lowest speed possible to clear debris as to avoid blowing sand out of the turf.
- Be sure to walk around your green every once in a while to inspect your green.
- ly Maintenance: About every 12 months, your green should be re-sanded.