Some people dream of converting part of their yard into a putting surface, but this couple followed through
It wasn’t part of their original renovation plans, but Rob and Glenda Hodge have joined a growing number of Edmontonians who have installed a putting green in their backyard.
The Hodges began by renovating their Whitemud Hills home in southwest Edmonton, and once the work had been completed they expanded their focus to the backyard.
“We had the inside done — we had wanted to modernize it, to give it a facelift — and we looked outside and thought the same thing: that the outside looked tired,” said Glenda.
While Rob is an avid golfer and Glenda had joined a putting league, the idea of adding a putting green hadn’t been part for their outdoor objectives. It wasn’t even on their radar. But once their landscaper made the suggestion they decided it was a natural thing to follow through on.
“It’s something people dream of but most never actually do,” said Marc Mercier, owner of St. Albertbased Yard Art Landscaping, noting that the company has another two clients who are also having a residential putting green installed.
The Hodges called in Mercier to take their existing deck, gazebo, and a small stream and give the outdoor space a facelift — or, as the Hodges prefer to call it, a “yardlift.” Yard Art Landscaping expanded the patio, injected new life into the stream, added a tiki torch light, and replaced the existing natural grass with artificial turf. The artificial grass — which requires no maintenance, watering or fertilizing, and of course, no mowing — was an early consideration for the Hodges.
“Rob wanted it (the outdoor landscaping project) as close to maintenance-free as possible so he would have more time to golf,” said Glenda.
But neither Rob nor Glenda originally thought that additional time for golf would see either one of them taking chip shots or sinking putts on their own backyard three-hole putting green.
Measuring approximately 16 feet long by 12 feet wide, the putting green and its three mini flag sticks also includes LED lights to illuminate each hole, so their putting time isn’t limited to daylight hours. A fringe — or higher level of artificial grass — surrounds the putting green, giving it a realistic look and feel that allows for practicing chip shots. There’s also a basalt stone bench with a smooth polished top that provides seating for three on the edge of the green.
If the interest in backyard putting greens is an indicator, local golfers will definitely be improving their short game and, in turn, their golf scores.
“The demand for (residential) putting greens is definitely getting stronger,” said Colleen Kwiatkowski, manager of Burnco’s west Edmonton landscape centre. “Sales over the last three years have increased by 50 per cent. A lot of people who were just going to put in artificial turf are now adding putting greens.”
Burnco, which supplied the Bella Turf artificial grass to Yard Art Landscaping for the Hodges’ project, claims that the overall product has improved over time as interest has grown.
“The quality is very good,” said Kwiatkowski. “It doesn’t have a straight blade, it has a U-shaped or V-shaped blade so it reflects the sun properly. It doesn’t give you that shiny look that almost looked like carpet. Now the product is far better and looks more natural.”
Burnco has been selling the Bella Turf line — a Canadian company based out of Surrey, B.C. — for about five years, with the putting greens coming into play approximately three years ago. But it’s not just golf aficionados who are opting to switch from grass to artificial turf. Kwiatkowski said the product is also being used for landscaping upper-end homes.
“Some homeowners will just do their front yard so it will look nice all the time, but a lot will do both the front and back,” said Kwiatkowski. “People who have larger lawns will tend to do the putting greens, but the Hodges’ home is a perfect example of utilizing a smaller space. They didn’t have a larger lawn but they did add a putting green.”
“The game of golf is won on the chipping and putting,” says Rob Hodge who had a three-hole putting green installed in his backyard.
Each of the three holes on the Hodges’ backyard putting green has LED lighting inside the cup. Marc Mercier, seen using a power broom, is the owner of St. Albert-based Yard Art Landscaping. The company installed a three-hole putting green in the Hodges’ backyard.