Synthetic turf circles installed in a high-use practice area-Part 2

Synthetic turf circles with eric von hofen and turfunderground.com
Like many driving range tees, practice chipping areas are tight on real estate.  The same holds true at this course.  With 575 golf members and a young membership that invades the area on a daily basis to hit their quota of practice shots, something had to be done and we began to explore our options.  In years past, we would rope off sections of the turf and not allow people to hit shots, allowing the turf some time to recover.  The success rate of this plan was highly dependent upon the growing season and the weather.  As a result, we realized synthetic turf was the only option.  If you saw my story on the installation of synthetic turf on a driving range tee, you know we kicked all the tires when selecting which product to use.  The product we selected for the driving range tee project received great reviews, so we went with it for the installation on the chipping area as well.  The Director of Golf and I hit a few shots from the chipping areas we thought would be best to maximize the land we had.  We also looked at how the design would work with 8 or more people using the space at one time.  The area allows 3 players to hit bunker shots, 5 to hit wedges to target greens and 2 to hit punch shots.  Not bad for a piece of real estate that is less than an acre in size.  We thought about installing a long tee line however, we quickly realized this was not an option.  A long tee line would have cut the size of useable space in half, limiting players to one area and preventing them from hitting their choice of shot.  After weighing the options, we chose to place 4 circles in different locations, which provided angles to both target greens from each location.  Check out the video below to see how we did it.

Please check out the video below of us changing out the driving range tee with the help of Synthetic Turf International.

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Synthetic turf change out on the tee line


Is there ever enough turf on a busy practice range tee? In many cases there is not, and an area of synthetic turf is the only option to keep golfers happy. If you’re thinking about installing a synthetic turf at your golf course, you should watch this video below. In it I explain the process and show you how a new tee line is installed. If you have ever warmed up on one of the old types of synthetic turfs, you know when they wear out it hurts your hands after you hit the surface with your club. I have seen that the nylon material wears out in about three years, depending upon traffic and sun light exposure. The new materials are now made out of polyester and are made to withstand heavy use. The cost has come down over the years and it makes more sense to look at these products as a solution to your shortage of tee space.

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What’s wrong with this picture?

Is your range tee or practice area large enough to handle the wear and tear from regular use? Do you have to hit from a synthetic turf when you warm up or practice? These are two tough questions that many golfers and courses have to ask themselves everyday. Now what product do you select? This picture shows that even synthetic turf has a life span. The current turf was installed four years ago and it has lost cushion. Golfers are having problems teeing up a ball and hitting irons off of this surface. I feel that the product has lost it’s pile height/cushion because of the sun, foot traffic and heavy use for the last four years. The synthetic turf was installed on a sand based product and it drains well. So water was not an issue.

I have placed a new synthetic turf test square right on top of the current product so golfers can see the difference and test it out. This process brings back a bunch of bad memories for golfers that remember the first product that came out 10 years ago. That product was loaded with rubber and sand. The idea of that was to help with the shock of the club hitting the ground and make it feel more like hitting out of real turf. This idea might have lasted for the first few months after it was installed then it quickly turned to rock. Golfers hated it and made many courses remove the product. Today we are faced with selecting a replacement synthetic turf. There are not many companies that make the product but there are a bunch of companies will install it for you. Nylon over polypropylene is what we are faced with. Check back in a month and I will tell you which one is the winner. Which one do you think will win?

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