Synthetic Putting Greens

Written by Jacey Harmon
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The introduction of Astroturf in the early '60s created a movement towards synthetic putting greens. Astroturf was commonly used to create synthetic putting surfaces at miniature and full sized golf courses alike. Individuals took advantage of the affordability of synthetic turf and started building putting greens for their homes. Over time however, players started recognizing that Astroturf was not the best synthetic surface for putting.

Newer and Better Synthetic Putting Greens

The most common form of synthetic turf used today is plastic based. Unlike Astroturf, modern plastic based synthetic turf will have long "blades" that resemble turf grass blades. Plastic based turf will require sand filling as the blades can not stand up on their own. The sand acts as a buffer for the blades, protecting them from becoming matted down. Plastic based turfs will require some maintenance to avoid the sand from becoming packed and hard.

Nylon based turf is made to have a "memory" effect when it gets stepped on. The turf blade will bounce back to its original shape after being pushed down. Due to the memory effect, nylon turf requires much less sand fill than plastic based turf products. This will also create lower maintenance requirements as the surface requires less sand. Nylon turf will be much denser and more expensive than plastic based turf.

Synthetic greens can be built with many of the features of a natural green. Contours can be built to create putts with varying degrees of break. Sand can be added to the surface to manipulate the speed of the green. Multiple hole locations can be built into the putting surface; similar to the set up commonly found on practice greens at golf courses. Synthetic greens can be designed to hold shots from over 100 yards and still offer a playable putting surface.

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