May 29, 2015

Golf without leaving home


A home putting green is a luxury, but imagine being able to hone your game in your own backyard

By MICHAEL BERNARD

Golf is in your blood, right? But if you’re like many people, you can rarely find five free hours in your weekend to play the game. Scott McCartney and Shaun Hunt of Precision Greens in Langley may have just the solution to your golf itch — a putting green that plays like the real McCoy and never requires cutting. In 15 years, the pair has installed hundreds of the polyethylene greens in backyards, on driveways and even on penthouse patios and rooftops. “The typical size is about 500 to about 1,000 square feet,” says McCartney, who explains how it is installed in the average backyard.

“We come in and remove all the sod and soil [in the target area] to a depth of about six or seven inches. Then we put down a compacted drainage system covered by a geo-textile fabric. Then we start to build up and contour with permeable aggregates, a stone material that packs down hard but allows the rainfall to percolate through.” The artificial turf goes on next — Precision can colour-match it to your existing grass — and the green is shaped to the owner’s specifications. Voila! You’ve got instant golf right at home with no set tee time.

The average green costs $2,000 to $3,000 to install and maintenance is nominal, says McCartney, who suggests a leaf blower, rake or push broom to clear the surface of debris. The product doesn’t fade in the sunlight and should last for 20 to 25 years. Some Precision projects have run a tad over $3,000, such as the nine-hole pitch and putt course the two men built for a Mission client in 2008 for more than $100,000, or the 4,000-square-foot wonder with six tee boxes in West Vancouver, designed for the client by famed Canadian golf architect Doug Carrick, which cost about $70,000.

Scott, who is a golfer himself, says the artificial turf looks and behaves like real grass — the ball checks, bounces and spins on the surface from shots between 20 and 30 yards out. Shots from 100 yards away are more challenging for artificial turf to handle, so for the Mission and West Van projects, Precision went with a longer pile and added sand to it.

If practice makes perfect, people with backyard greens won’t have any more excuses for a bad round.

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