How to Play Golf in Backyard


If you are a fan golf and want to experience the thrills of the game without leaving the comfort of your yard, then creating your very own course is something you may want to try.

It is possible to play golf in the backyard. However, due to limited space or equipment, it might have to take on different forms from the original version. But, with a little creativity, you can come up with a fun course for you and your friends to enjoy.

Whether you want a course to help you practice to be the next up and coming golf star, or a fun course to put put around with the kids, there are tons options to try.

golf club hitting white golf ball on green lawn

Making Your Own Traditional Golf Course

If you have lots of open space you can create your own traditional golf course, however according to Golf Week many regulation size golf courses are between 110-200 acres.

If you don’t have that much space you can still create your own smaller course.

With some planning and a few less holes, you can create a golf course that can fit in your own backyard.

Because in the end, it isn’t the acreage that makes a great golf course, it’s the space between the tee and the hole.

What is Par?

When setting up a course of your own, it’s important to take par into consideration.

For those of you who never understood golf speak, here is the general gist:

Par is the golf term for the number of strokes a decent golfer is expected to use to make the hole.

So say I was playing a round of golf, and I was at a 3 par hole.

Not being the best player, it took me six shots to make the hole.

That means that it took me three extra shots than the determined amount to make the whole, putting me 3 above par.

If somehow I was having a great day and it only took me 2 shots to make the hole, then I would be 1 under par.

Each stroke is tallied, and unlike most sports, the lower the points you end up with the better.

Standard Distances for Par

According to TheGolfNews.Net, par is determined mainly by distance, but also takes into account terrain and slopes of the hills.

Generally, it is broken down as follows:

ParWomenMen
30-2100-250
4211-400251-470
5401-575471-690
6576 and above691 and above
Information from The Golf News. Net

Using Par to Determine Hole Distances

Since you will be making your own course, you don’t necessarily have to use the standard professional par distances.

When setting up your own course, determine how far par is for you before you place the holes.

To do that, ask the following:

  • How far can I hit the ball in the area that is available?
  • What terrain hazards are there that could make this a difficult hole?
  • What is the average skill level of people playing this course?

Once you have an average distance, set up holes that can be made in 1-5 par, depending on space available.

How Wide and Deep are Golf Holes?

In order to make a hole-in-one, you need to place holes in your course for the ball to go into.

GolfWeek lists he standard size of a golf hole as being 4 1/2 wide, and about 4 inches deep.

For your own personal golf course you can make the holes as wide and deep as your terrain will allow.

Make sure that the hole is wide enough to allow the ball to enter, and deep enough so it won’t easily bounce out.

Backyard Golf Hazards

In golf, a hazard is a certain area that makes it difficult to hit the ball.

On traditional golf courses, these usually take the forms of sand traps, water hazards, or the rough areas (tall grass or weedy areas along the edges of the course).

You don’t need to hire a landscaper to create hazards, with a little ingenuity you can use the area around you to add hazards that can challenge even the greatest golf pro.

Placing down tarps with sand on top can be a fun way to add a temporary sand trap to your course, or you can just leave the lid to your kid’s sandbox open (watch out for buried toys and cat droppings)

For water hazards, you can get a couple kiddie pools and place them in different spots of the course.

You could also turn on the sprinklers for an added fun element.

Adding hazards is a great way to improve your glof game.

Fun story, my grandfather was an excellent golfer, and from what people told me was good enough to be a professional.

The reason why he was so good was because his family were caretakers of a golf course and he was in charge of its upkeep.

My grandpa didn’t spend his time on the neat manicured lawns to practice, but in the tall weedy fields that surrounded the course.

By practicing in the loamy, weed infested areas he was able to develop his skills so that he could hit further and higher to get himself out of any sand trap.

Golf ball about to enter hole

Backyard Golf Equipment

The great thing about backyard golf is that it doesn’t require tons of fancy equipment to get started.

In fact, all you need are a few simple things.

Golf Flags

Sometimes holes are hard to see far away, so it is a great idea to have flags indicating where the hole is located.

These flags should be removeable so they don’t interfere with the ball as it enters the hole.

If you don’t have a traditional golf flags, you can use some stake flags or marker flags that are used to mark underground pipes and wiring for construction.

Make sure the flag is visible from where the golfer is teeing off.

Golf Clubs for Backyard Golf

Golf clubs are broken down into four general categories:

  • Woods (Which are actually made of metal, but originally made of wood)
  • Irons
  • Putters
  • Wedges

There are also hybrids of different categories available

Within each category are several different clubs that are engineered to make certain shots depending ono terrain and distance.

You may notice a number engraved on the head (wooden or metal part that makes contact with the ball).

According to HackGolf.org, the number indicates the general loft of the ball (how high and far it can go).

The more loft a club is capable of, the higher the ball can go, but it doesn’t go as long of distances than clubs with lower loft.

Recommended clubs for a course that is small and flat are:

  • Irons (used generally when a ball is less then 200 yards from a hole). Irons 7-9 are recommended for beginners. Lots of loft, short distance.
  • Putters (great for short distances at a slower pace. Main golf club used for put put golf).

Recommended clubs for a course with hazards:

  • Wedges (Offers more loft if ball gets stuck in sand or other soft surfaces).
  • Irons (Offers loft which helps the ball soar over hilly terrain)

Wood drivers are excellent if you have a long distance to cover, but aren’t the best for small areas,

In the end, you can skip the caddie since you only need one to three clubs for your personal backyard course/

Choose the ones that suit the terrain the best.

Golf Tees

Golf tees are small pieces of wood that or plastic that lift the ball off of the ground so that the ball remains still for the first shot.

Although nice to have, they are not necessary for back yard golf.

Golf Balls

Golf balls are easy to find and don’t cost a lot of money.

Plus, you can buy them in bulk, which is great if you are near an area that makes it hard to retrieve wayward golf balls.

Golf balls are about 1.7 inches in diameter and weigh about 1.6 ounces.

The unique texture of the ball came about when William Taylor noticed that used, dented balls traveled further than new, unscathed balls.

So he patented a design that had the entire surface of the ball dimpled to improve aerodynamics (BYU Design Review) .

Backyard Golf Rules

Backyard golf rules are the same as traditional golf rules, with modifications made to suit the course and it’s players.

  • In traditional golf, you are allowed to carry up to 14 clubs in your bag. With backyard golf, three should be all the clubs you will need.
  • Tee off (Initial hit of the ball) in the designated area, don’t step out of the boundaries.
  • Don’t hit another person’s ball. (Before play, mark each players ball so that it will be easy to identify them).
  • Hit the ball from the exact spot that it lands (If for some reason, the ball needs to be momentarily removed, mark the spot so you can resume the game from that exact location).
  • If the ball lands somewhere irretrievable or becomes lost, the player will have a penalty stroke added to their score and they will remake the shot again from the previous position.
  • Hit the ball until it lands in the hole.

The player with the least amount of hits wins the game.

Golf Terms for Beginners

For those of you who feel like golf terminology is an alien language, here is a quick guide for some of the most common terms:

  • Ace- Hole in one (Congratulations)
  • Approach- Shots that begin at least 100 yards from the hole, doesn’t include the tee off shot.
  • Attend the flag- Another player removes the flag so another player can try to get the ball in the hole.
  • Away-Who ever is the furthest from the hole gets to play first.
  • Back-The last half of the golf course, also the longest hole.
  • Birdie- You score the hole one under par.
  • Bogey- You score the hole one above par.
  • Carry- How far a ball travels from when it is first hit to when it makes it to the ground.
  • Chip- Short low shot.
  • Drop- In cases when a ball is lost or unplayable, the ball is dropped from shoulder height onto the course.
  • Eagle- The hole is scored two under par.
  • Fairway- The area between the tee and the green that is made up of short-grass.
  • Follow-through- The rest of the stroke after the club hits the balls.
  • Fore- “Watch out, I hit the ball and it’s coming for you!”
  • Gimmie-When other players feel bad for you and let you keep hitting the ball with short strokes until you make the hole.
  • Grain- The angle of the blades of grass that can impact the resistance of the ball and where it goes.
  • Green-Short grass around the hole that is ideal for putting.
  • Gross Score- The total amount of strokes before handicap is taken into consideration.
  • Half Shot- Controlled swing without the normal range of motion.
  • Handicap- Adjusting the score to compensate for varying skill levels of the players.
  • Hole Out- Your ball finally made it to the hole. Good job!.
  • Hook- The ball curves away from the right to the left.
  • Knee knocker- A short putt that you shouldn’t have missed.
  • Lie-Where a ball ends up after it is hit.
  • Lip- The edge around the hole.
  • Penalty-Strokes added to the score for losing the ball or breaking the rules.
  • Recovery-Hitting the ball out of a bad position back into a good position.
  • Whiff- When a player swings and misses the ball (counts as a stroke).

(Information taken from GolfToday)

Back Yard Driving Range

I have some very cherished memories of my grandfather taking me to a driving range near his home and attempting to teach me proper golf technique at a local driving range.

Driving ranges are great, because you don’t need an entire course go practice the perfect shot.

They are also good for those who find it hard to walk great distances or carry equipment around.

Making a driving range in the back yard is also very easy, and perfect for those who have limited space.

The general concept of a driving range is to have an area where you can hit a ball as hard and as far as you can.

To make a backyard driving range, all you need is a net, and a frame to hang it onto.

Frames can be made from PVC pipe or metal tubing that are anchored at the bottom so that they do not tip over.

Fishing net can serve as netting attached to the frame so that the ball will not travel places where it can break things.

Set the frame on the other side of the yard, away from windows or other breakable surfaces.

On the other end of the yard, set up a teeing off area that has short grass or artificial turf (a tee can be used if needed).

Then you are good to go.

Set up your tee and with a driver or other perfered club, hit the ball towards the net.

Make sure you are not hitting the ball when another player is retrieving the ball from the net.

Playing Golf Is Fun

As much fun as golf is to watch, it is even more fun to play.

Bring a little excitement of the PGA to your own backyard by making your own golf course or driving range.

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