Editors' ChoiceApril 19, 2016

Best Synthetic Putting Green


Unless you've got a green thumb and a greens mower, it's folly to install a practice putting green in your back yard. The types of turfgrasses best suited for putting surfaces—bents and ultra-dwarf Bermudas—require constant care, chemicals and nutrition. The solution is a synthetic putting green, with grass blades so fine they look and feel like real grass but without the daily maintenance. It'll cost more to begin with, but you'll have far more spare time for practice.

Price was not a major factor in selecting Southwest Greens. Most artificial turf companies charge about the same for installation and material. It was performance and durability that separated it from the rest. For an outdoor practice green that will accept pitch shots and putt realistically, we like Southwest's polypropylene turf, containing round silica sand that has been worked into the fibers to provide a realistic look and a pure putting experience. Plus, the putting speed can be adjusted, sped up by removing some sand, slowed down by adding a bit. With routine grooming, Southwest's synthetic turf should last for 10 years or longer without appreciable degradation because of weather.

We were impressed, too, that more than two dozen tour professionals used Southwest Greens for their personal practice-putting facility, including Justin Rose, Jim Furyk, Vijay Singh, Nick Faldo, Adam Scott and Annika Sorenstam. Jack Nicklaus likes the product so much, his architecture company offers custom designs exclusively for a Southwest Greens installation. For an indoor green, where sand infill is not desirable, Southwest's tight-bladed nylon is the best option. You can't adjust its speed, but you can select from a range of heights to install a desired green speed.

Southwest Greens, prices vary by region of the country
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