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We’re sure you don’t need to be told how important good putting is to lowering your scores in golf.
And if you’re serious about improving your putting, being able to practice without getting out to the range, out to the course, or even just outside in general is a huge asset.
This is where putting greens come in. While golf simulators allow you to analyze your shot data and hit your irons and woods indoors, indoor putting greens allow you to practice your putting (and often chipping as well) rain or shine, day or night.
Of course, not everyone can afford top-of-the-line putting green complexes that cost four or even five figures. Fortunately, you can save a tremendous amount of money building one yourself with relatively cheap materials obtainable at your local hardware store.
So today, we’ll walk through a step-by-step DIY guide for building your own indoor putting green. This is certainly not the only way to build a putting green, but we believe it’s one of the easiest and best methods that anyone with a bit of handyman skills can apply.
We will also tell you how you can gain access to a support system that will be available to help you at any point in the building process. To jump to that right now, click here.
What You’ll Need
- lumber pieces for outer frame (2″x4″, 2″x6″ or 2″x8″)
- lumber pieces for inner supports (quantity depends on size of green)
- nails and screws
- power drill
- framing square
- circular saw
- plywood sheets (or particle board)
- 4.25″ hole saw blade
- 4.25″ regulation cups
- putting green turf (Camry Golf recommended)
- 1/16″ trowel
- carpet adhesive
- carpet knife
- 3/4″ PVC pipe with fittings
Where To Buy
In our opinion, Camry Golf is the best place to buy putting green turf — this fantastic turf has actually been endorsed by pro golfer Webb Simpson. They also sell regulation cups.
The rest of the materials can be purchased at your local hardware store, or online or brick-and-mortar retail locations. You can get really good power drills at great prices on Amazon.
When it comes to the cost of building an indoor putting green, it’s just about impossible to give an exact dollar amount, especially in the current economy where the price of building supplies is so unstable.
There are so many variable at play, including the size of the green, the materials you already have, the materials you plan to use, and the prices in your local area.
However, if your putting green is to have an area of 60-70 square feet, you can expect the cost (from scratch) to be around $300. This is significantly cheaper that any pre-built branded putting green out there.
Step 1: Construct the frame.
A self-contained indoor putting green generally requires not just an outer frame, but also an inner frame that supports the boards and turf placed on top as well as your body weight when standing on the putting green.
For the outer frame, you have a choice of using 2″x4″, 2″x6″ or 2″x8″ wood boards.
Each of these sizes have been used successfully to build great putting greens, but we suggest 2″x6″ or 2″x8″ sizes because they are more resistant to bowing under weight and you won’t have issues with the cups being too tall to fit.
Depending on whether you want to build a square or a rectangular-shaped putting green, you may want two sides of the frame to be longer. Hardware stores like Home Depot will likely offer different lengths for this purpose — for example, you could use two 8-footers and two 12-footers.
Once you have everything ready, do the following:
- Lay out the putting green frame in a butt joint style, ideally with the nice side of the boards facing outward.
- For each corner, use your power drill to drill 2-3 pilot holes through the face of the outside board into the end of the adjoining board. At least three holes are advisable for 2″x8″ boards.
- Insert the correct-sized nails into the holes.
- Use your framing square to square up the frame.
- Hammer the nails in fully to secure the frame.
Pre-drilling the holes isn’t necessary but it does make things easier, especially if you’re not particularly experienced in these kinds of DIY projects.
The first thing you need to consider when securing the inner support pieces is the fact if you were to lay a board inside the framed region (widthwise in the case of a rectangular green), it would be about three inches too long due to the thickness of the two frame pieces which are both 1.5 inches.
For this reason, you’ll need to trim three inches off the length of the inner frame boards using your circular saw. A few things to note:
- it’s easier to trim 3 inches off one side instead of 1.5 inches off both.
- we recommend spacing the inner boards roughly two feet apart, so whatever number of boards achieves that layout is the number of boards you’ll need to trim.
- if there are knots or splits on one end, trim that side off.
Once all the boards are trimmed to the correct length, place a few of them loosely within the frame and cover everything with your plywood sheets. Try not to leave any gaps in between adjacent sheets. Mark the excess regions around the perimeter with a pencil and trim them off.
If you’re using more than one plywood sheet, note the crease where both of the boards meet inside the frame — one of the inner supports should rest directly underneath. Mark this position, remove the boards, and nail the first beam in place.
From here, position the rest of the inner supports around 1.5-2 feet apart, and secure them to the frame with nails or screws.
Step 2: Secure the plywood base.
You can use cheaper particle board for the base of the putting green, but if you can afford it, we recommend plywood sheets because they are sturdier and much less likely to split or sag under pressure. The only drawback of plywood aside from price is that drilling the cup holes can be more difficult.
Now, lay your plywood sheets over the top of your frame, ensuring that the edges are flush with the edges of the frame. Any excess plywood that would overshoot the side of your build should have been trimmed off in the previous step.
Start by screwing down the four corners of the sheet (or eight corners if using two sheets) with your power drill equipped with a screwdriver bit. Do it about ¾” from the edge of the frame — this is the halfway point of the 1.5″ board.
You should now be able to walk on the top of the sheet, but at this point, you might as well go ahead and drill more screws into the plywood sheet along the perimeter and along the inner cross-beams as well. You should have one screw every 1-1.25 feet or so.
Remember that if you followed the previous step correctly, any sheet edges that fall inside the frame should be supported directly underneath by a cross beam. If not, you’ll need to backtrack and add one.
Step 3: Mark and drill the cup holes.
Many people find drilling the cup holes to be a pain in the rear, particularly with plywood which is more difficult to cut through than particle board. But with some patience, finesse and preparation, it’s not too bad.
Marking The Holes
There are a few important things to consider when choosing the locations of your holes:
- regulation golf cups have a diameter of 4.25″, or a radius of 2-1/8″.
- you’ll probably want 2-5 holes depending on the size of your build.
- the holes should be near the edges as this gives you the most room to practice the longest putts.
- the hole should not touch any of the frame beams.
We suggest choosing locations for your holes that are at least three inches from any beams that make up the frame. Mark the center points with a pencil.
Also take into account your handedness (left or right) when choosing the hole locations.
Drilling The Holes
Before you go ahead and drill with the hole saw blade in place, we recommending drilling a small hole in the center point of the hole first. Combined with the pilot bit, this will ensure that the blade stays in place during drilling and creates a properly sized circular hole.
Take your drill equipped with the 4-1/4″ hole saw blade and a pilot bit, use the center hole as a reference point, and start drilling. If you’re having trouble making the cut, try putting the drill in reverse.
It may take a few minutes to cut through the plywood, so take your time.
A Note On Installing The Cups
Many people drill 4-1/8″ holes, sand off the excess, and force the cups in super tight before applying the turf over top. You’ll find this method in many guides online.
However, in our view, it’s unnecessary and not worth the effort. Not only does it require using a tool like a sanding drum, but it also means you’ll need to cut holes out of the turf by hand, and the end result can be messy.
Step 4: Glue down the turf.
We can’t recommend enough that you use Camry Golf turf for your putting green. This high-quality material emulates Tour-level greens with an amazing roll, it’s endorsed and used by pro golfers including Webb Simpson, and you can get any size you need for your particular build. Get it here.
Once you have your turf in hand, we suggest laying it out on the platform, putting weights on top like books, and leaving it for a couple days to flatten out any bumps, kinks or curls.
Then, start applying carpet adhesive to the plywood or particle board surface with your trowel. We suggest rolling the turf over 3-5 foot sections at a time. Start by lifting one side, switch to the other side, and then gradually move towards the opposite end.
Make sure to follow the application instructions of whichever adhesive you’re using, which will likely include:
- giving the adhesive a number of minutes to set
- keeping foot traffic on top of the glued turf to a minimum for 1-2 days while the adhesive cures
You don’t need to apply much pressure to the glued turf aside from a few books while it dries. If there’s any extra turf hanging over the sides, cut it off with a carpet knife.
Step 5: Install the cups.
You should have made a rough mental note of where the hole locations are on your putting green.
Get a pin or something similar and push it through the turf in that general area until you’ve identified both sides of the circular hole (if you don’t hit board, the hole is there).
Once the hole is marked, take your carpet knife and cut an X in the turf, ensuring that its size is no larger than the hole underneath. You can then take a regulation cup and push it through until it’s flush with the green surface. Repeat the process for all of the holes.
Step 6: Add a backstop.
You could technically start using your putting green as is, but it wouldn’t be ideal because your balls would be falling over the side.
So, you should install some kind of backstop around the perimeter of the putting green; this might be a border of wood planks, a fence, or a bumper rail.
One of the easiest routes to take here is to build a bumper rail out of 3/4″ PVC pipes. It’s not a particularly glamorous solution, but it’s very effective, and you can use leftover piping as alignment aids too.
You will need at least four elbow fittings, and depending on the size of your build and the lengths of PVC pipe that are available to you at stores, you may need to use some couplings as well.
Start by laying down one side of the PVC pipe on the putting green. If it’s too short, join it to another pipe with a coupler. Mark the excess that runs off the other side and cut it off with a hacksaw.
Then put the cut side into an elbow fitting, insert another pipe, and do the same for the adjacent side. Repeat the process for all sides until you have a bumper rail that properly fits your build.
Balls shouldn’t move the bumper rail much, so you could leave it on the putting green loosely, but it’s a good idea to secure it in place. You can do this by nailing the elbow fittings and center points of each side to the frame.
The great thing about a basic, flat indoor putting green is that it allows you to practice the most important aspect of putting, which is impacting the ball with a square face. Many people believe that slopes and breaks should be reserved for the golf course, and we tend to agree.
However, if you want to practice break on your green, there are a few things you could do to introduce uphill, downhill or sidehill putts:
- use furniture levelers
- stack thick books or bricks under a corner or side
- use a jack
Other things to note:
- you can decorate the outer frame of your putting green with stain, varnish, paint, trim, or artwork based on your own personal tastes
- you should build your putting green where you want to use it, since moving it can be awkward, particularly though narrow spaces
To make the finished product look nicer, we recommend using wood filler to fill in any knots, splits, cracks, or screw holes on the visible part of the frame. You should also sand down any exposed sharp edges.
We have tried to include a fair bit of detail in our step-by-step guide on how to build an indoor putting green, but we’ve left out a lot of the minutiae. It will be up to you to use your common sense and DIY experience to successfully execute your vision.
We’ve mentioned Camry Golf greens before. It really is a no-brainer to buy your putting green turf from them because:
- it emulates top-tier greens
- it lasts long and has a premium look
- it rolls true in every direction (11 on the Stimpmeter)
- it’s very affordable
- it’s endorsed by pro golfers
Another huge perk of buying your turf from Camry Golf is that you gain access to their support team which will help you at any point during the construction process, as opposed to being on your own to figure everything out. They’re just an email or a phone call away.
Best of luck building your dream indoor putting green!
Thanks for reading this guide. How did your indoor putting green project turn out? Feel free to leave a comment below. If you’re interested in the best pre-built branded putting greens, go here.