Obsession Confession

One man’s passion for golf takes root at home.

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  • Written by
    Charlie Koones


It’s a little weird for me to admit this, but I dream about golf. I dream about drives booming down tight fairways, perfectly drawn approach shots and putts snaking their way into four-inch holes from 35 feet. I’m okay with the fact that these qualify me as a golf obsessive.

Sadly, my dreams and reality are quite different. See, I’m a dead average golfer. Despite playing for more than 20 years, I still consider a good day one when I shoot in the mid-80s. 

But I love to play the game. For years, I was a member at Lakeside Golf Club, but I gave up my membership when I started commuting to our corporate offices in the South Bay. I have great memories of my days at Lakeside. It’s a fabulous club, and a remarkable number of my nocturnal golf shots still happen on those fairways. 

As fate would have it, now club-less, I find myself playing more golf than ever. Our boys are teenagers now, and my weekends are no longer filled coaching or sitting in the bleachers. There are some great public tracks around the Valley, and I play frequently at Robinson Ranch and Angeles National. And that’s fine for my Sunday morning games, but I really miss practicing on that beautiful putting green at Lakeside. 

That’s what turned my obsession to my backyard. Like a lot of Valley homeowners, we’ve got a decent-sized backyard, and I started imagining what it would look like with a putting green spread out over it. 

I did some research online and quickly found my way to Jay McMullen at Southwest Greens. Jay sells a synthetic product that looks amazingly real. My buddy Andrew put a grass putting green in his backyard, but the time and effort he puts into his green struck me as too much work. 

Southwest is affiliated with Jack Nicklaus and Warren Buffet, and they supply synthetic greens to numerous touring pros. If it’s good enough for them, I figured, it’s good enough for me.

Next came winning over my wife. She spends a lot of time making our property beautiful, and I knew there was no way she’d go for something cheesy. No windmills. No clown mouths. If she was going to give up natural green grass, it would have to really look great. 

Our green was installed in June, and I’ve got to say, it exceeded expectations. It rolls fast and true, has great undulation and looks fantastic. I love having friends over for cocktails and putting—it adds a whole new dimension to being at home. And our boys and their friends are using it as much as I do.

The only downside comes now when I make a tough putt in a match. My playing partners routinely say “What do you expect from a guy with a putting green in his backyard?” 

If that’s the price of obsession, I don’t mind paying.


Dreaming About It Too?

Installation time is about five days.
Southwest Greens has installed greens from 150 to more than 3,000 square feet.
Greens are also great for chipping with varying “cuts” around the fringe and sand traps.
Average cost is $15 to $18 per square foot. 
Ball speed: Greens can roll from 10 to 14 on a stimp meter.