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Diehard golf fans are a breed all their own. Many golfers travel hundreds of miles and spend thousands of dollars just to play in new, exciting locales. Others pay outrageous membership fees every year just to have a place to practice their swing. However, any avid golfer can create a private golf sanctuary right in his or her own back yard. All you need is the right amount of space, the right resources, a little creativity, and a few helpful landscaping techniques. The following are some ideas and useful tips that will turn your plain old yard into the envy of all the golfers on the block.
Before you Begin
The first step in landscaping your yard is to really get to know the terrain of the area you wish to landscape. This involves not only knowing the area’s size and shape, but also its natural elevations, the kind of vegetation that grows well in the area, and the amount of sun and rain the area gets. You will also want to check your city’s zoning laws to make sure your landscaping ideas won’t be in violation of any code. This may seem like a lot to consider, but it will only make your project that much easier.
The next step in building a personal golf course is to decide which aspects of a traditional course will fit on your property. Unless you have a very large estate, chances are you won’t be able to fit eighteen holes on your land. However, if you do have a few spare acres, you can easily create a one- or two-hole course. Include as many common golf course features as the space and your budget allow. The most common home course features are a tee-off area, a chipping area, a sand or a small water trap, a rough and a putting green. The layout of these will be determined by the size of your land. Don’t try to cram too many features into one course, though. It is better to have a large, spacious fairway than one cluttered with trees, traps and rough.
Of course, financial or size limitations might prevent you from creating a whole course. If this is the case, you might want to pick you favorite aspect of golf and design an area dedicated specifically to it. Are you a fan of teeing off? Perhaps you should consider building a driving range. Driving ranges are relatively simple to design and construct, and with enough space or the proper safety netting, won’t disturb the neighbors too much.
Maybe you need to practice chipping? Chipping areas are another fairly small, easily landscaped choice. Design your chipping area with plenty of rough grass, mounds, or water or sand traps. Chipping areas don’t need to be immaculately manicured, either. Letting the area get a little overgrown will probably help your game even more.
One of the more difficult, albeit fun and exciting, golf features to landscape is the putting green. Greens are limited only by the imagination of the landscaper. They do require a bit more planning but can be put in on nearly any size piece of land. The most important aspects of planning a putting green are making sure the area is relatively flat, installing a carefully planned drainage system, and properly cultivating the turf. A grass green is a fairly long-term project, so if you are looking for more immediate results you could look into artificial turf. Artificial grass is quick to install and requires a lot less maintenance.
If you are restricted by size but still want a full course, try designing a mini-golf course. Mini courses can be a lot of fun but also a lot of work, especially if you want each hole to be different and challenging. Hiring a professional designer is probably your best bet when building a mini-golf course; however, that doesn’t mean you can’t be in on the design process.
Yes, golf fanatics around the world have started to build their own courses, holes or practice areas. And if you have the means and have done the research, there is no reason why you can’t have your own personal course as well.
~Ben Nystrom, 2009Golf Course Greens Care