Artificial Grass vs. Natural Grass Putting Green: A Comparison Guide

Golfers are always looking for ways to improve their game, and the putting green is where it all starts. Having a backyard putting green is a great way to work on your short game from the comfort of your home.

In addition to being a way to practice, it’s also an amazing investment. It raises property value and saves time and money by practicing golf at home instead of a golf course. Plus, it’s a great way to unwind after a long day or entertain guests at your next social gathering.

When it comes to choosing between an artificial grass or natural grass putting green, there are a few important factors to consider. In this guide, we will discuss the pros and cons of each option, as well as some tips on how to choose the right one for your needs.

natural grass putting green

1. Maintenance

One of the biggest differences between artificial grass and real grass putting greens is the maintenance required.

Real Grass

If you choose a natural putting green you will need to:

  • Seed or sod and wait for the grass to grow
  • Mow, weed, edge, water, and fertilize the grass consistently. Pennington suggests for a backyard green that you mow 4 to 6 times a week and fertilize 4 times a year.
  • Keep pets from urinating on the grass to avoid patchiness
  • Monitor use of green to avoid damage to the flat surface from furniture, toys, children, and pets.
  • Worry about mud and wet surfaces after rain
  • Prepare for colder months when grass is susceptible to dying

Artificial Grass

If you choose artificial turf:

  • No waiting on grass to grow
  • Occasional rework or addition of infill
  • You can easily remove or rinse away pet accidents
  • Any furniture or play from kids and pets will not damage the turf
  • Excellent drainage following a rainstorm
  • Will look great year-round
A group of people playing golf on artificial turf with a view of the ocean in orlando, fl

2. Performance

Another factor to consider is the performance of the two options.

Real Grass

Real grass putting greens can offer more variability and challenge, with natural undulations and slopes depending on the terrain. However, this can also make it more difficult to maintain a consistent putting surface.

A real grass putting green also allows you to change the holes, so you can have a new challenge whenever you want.

Maintaining a real grass putting green requires effort. However, it will more closely resemble the appearance and texture of a golf course green.

Artificial Grass

Synthetic turf putting greens are known for being consistent and low-maintenance, but they often lack the natural slope and contours of a real grass green. However, you can add slopes, sand traps, roughs, and obstacles with no problem.

The cups are mostly permanent with an artificial green but will free you of the maintenance that comes with moving the holes on natural grass.

While it is hard to compete with a real grass green, artificial grass can mimic the feel and bounce that you’d expect at the golf course when paired with the appropriate product and infill.

The performance of your putting green depends on how you want to use it. If you want to install a putting green for friends and family to use for fun, an easy and durable artificial green would be best. If you are an avid golfer looking to practice reading greens and putting more difficult putts, a natural grass green might suit you better.

Artificial putting green in backyard in the mid-atlantic region

3. Durability

Both synthetic grass and real grass putting greens can be very durable but in different ways.

Real Grass

Natural grass putting greens may be more prone to damage, from putter divots or areas with heavy foot traffic. However, real grass can also regenerate and repair itself naturally, making it a good option for those who are willing to put in the work to maintain it. But, these areas will never return to their former perfection. This is why golf courses have professionals to maintain the greens or opt to completely replant during the off-season.

Artificial Grass

Artificial grass is made to be resistant to wear and tear and can last up to 15 years with proper maintenance. Turf is manufactured from a durable and resilient polypropylene or nylon blend. This means it was meant to withstand golfers, kids, pets, and weather.

artificial turf putting green beside pool and trees

4. Location Flexibility

The option to place your putting green anywhere – whether that be on a roof, in a garage, or in the middle of your pool – makes artificial turf the winner here.

Real Grass

Natural grass is fully dependent on the environment for sunlight, water, and soil for its ability to thrive. In this case, a real grass putting green cannot survive in areas without these factors. This restriction limits the number of areas where a green can be installed. Consequently, you can really only use a natural grass putting green when the weather allows.

Artificial Grass

In comparison, fake grass can be installed virtually anywhere. It requires no soil or sun to look its best. You can install an artificial turf putting green in endless locations. Plus, if installed under a covered area, you can play in any weather condition.

artificial turf putting green in backyard

5. Cost

Lastly, cost is an important consideration to make when choosing between artificial grass and real grass putting greens.

A few factors to consider that will influence the cost:

  • Your geographic location
  • The product you choose
  • What company you hire for the job
  • Prep work needed
  • Complexity of design
  • Sand traps or any additional holes

Whether you decide on an artificial turf green or a natural grass green, it is highly recommended to use a professional installer.

Real Grass

Real grass is less expensive upfront but requires ongoing maintenance and may need to be replaced more frequently.

Artificial Grass

Artificial grass is generally more expensive upfront but requires less ongoing maintenance and has a longer lifespan.

Installing an artificial turf putting green in your backyard could cost between $11-$35 per square foot. The price varies on if you install just a putting green, or if you replace the entire yard as well.

Depending on your budget and long-term goals, either option can be a good choice.

Ultimately, the decision between artificial grass vs. natural grass putting greens will depend on your personal preferences, budget, and goals. If you are looking for a low-maintenance, consistent putting surface, artificial grass can be a great option. If you value natural aesthetics and are willing to put in the work to maintain it, real grass can offer a unique experience. Whichever option you choose, the most important thing is to get out there and practice your putting – after all, that’s where the real improvement happens.

Watch the video below to hear from ProGreen customers on their decision to get an artificial turf putting green in their yard.

Questions about artificial turf putting greens? Let us help!

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