Southwest Greens, with branches throughout the United States, remains our Editors’ Choice for synthetic putting surfaces, although we acknowledge that competition by others in the market is heating up, particularly from Celebrity Greens, owned by Wes Weber, the former founder and CEO of Southwest Greens. Still, in an informal poll among Golf Digest panelists who own backyard putting surfaces, most used Southwest Greens to design and install them.
Southwest Greens has vast experience in producing quality indoor and outdoor practice greens. A 10-feet-by 10-feet nylon fiber practice green can be installed in a basement for as little as $1,500. An outdoor synthetic putting green can cost 10 times as much, particularly if using polypropylene infill turf, which allows green speeds to be adjusted by adding sand or subtracting it from the fibers. For those with a generous back yard and a healthy budget, a par-3 hole can be created of synthetic turf, with the green designed to accept and hold full pitch shots. Depending upon the size, desired landscaping and lighting for evening play, it could cost $50,000, but it would require minimal maintenance after completion.
Nicklaus Design continues to have a close working relationship with Southwest Greens. The latest collaboration is Golden Cub Mini Golf, an 18-hole putting course in the Abacoa Town Center, just east of Abacoa Golf Club in Jupiter, Fla. Designed by Nicklaus’ design associate Chad Goetz, the par-38 layout features doglegs, double doglegs and holes patterned after famous ones, including the Road Hole at St. Andrews. There are many bunkers that must be avoided, each made of white synthetic turf, and a few, like the imitation Spectacle bunkers based on those at Carnoustie, feature synthetic stacked-sod faces. Intended as recreation for all ages (there’s an ice-cream shop next to the closing hole), Golden Cub is also a fund-raiser, with $1 from each $12.50 green fee going to the Nicklaus Children’s Health Care Foundation, which is chaired by Barbara Nicklaus, Jack’s wife. Any of its 18 holes would make a terrific backyard practice green.
Southwest Greens, prices vary by region of the country