Astute golfers understand that better scores require a proficient short game. But exemplary wedge play and a deft touch around the greens—like every aspect of the sport—require plenty of dedicated and focused practice. With many avid golfers struggling to find the necessary time to play regular rounds of golf throughout the year, the prospect of carving out extra time to get to the course just to practice is mere fantasy. Fortunately for those golf enthusiasts, Back Nine Greens is well-versed at turning fantasies into reality.
For more than two decades, the Palm Desert company has specialized in building artificial backyard putting greens and short-game practice areas for discerning clientele. These aren’t just average, run-of-the-mill flat putting greens, either. Through the company’s luxury division, Back Nine Greens works with homeowners to build a sloped and contoured green complex—one that features artificial bunkers and can accommodate multiple hole locations, if desired. In fact, the company recently hired a shaper who had previously worked for many revered course architects. He was even instrumental in the redesign of The Hay, a historic short course at Pebble Beach that just reopened for play.
“We construct it just like you would a golf green anywhere,” Dominic Nappi, the company’s founder and president, says of the putting surfaces that Back Nine Greens builds.
The company also benefits from a staff of specialists, including a former professional golfer who now serves as a partner and oversees the company’s aforementioned luxury division. In fact, that golfer was first a Back Nine Greens customer. “When I was living in Rancho Mirage, I wanted a tour-speed green,” says Dave Stockton Jr., who played as a professional for more than a decade. “They did it perfectly, which is why I got involved in the company. I couldn’t believe what they put in my backyard.”
These backyard green complexes replicate on-course conditions in more ways than just how the putting surfaces roll. Bunkers are constructed using a white, wiry turf that realistically simulates sand-filled bunkers and, as Stockton acknowledges, they require that golfers hit shots just as they would out on the course. “You have to make the same kind of swing you would in a normal bunker,” he says, “sweeping underneath it and finishing high.”
A simple and straightforward Back Nine putting green typically starts at $18 per square foot, while the company’s intricate luxury division green complexes cost as much as $40 per square foot. Given that the company has built some as large as 13,000 square feet in size—a backyard par 3 hole with multiple tee boxes and a variety of bunkers—these projects can be a significant investment. “These greens aren’t cheap,” says Stockton, “and you want the person to say when it’s done that they never knew it would look this great and play this realistic. That’s the highest compliment you can get.” backninegreens.com