On average, putting accounts for almost half the strokes we take on the golf course.
Greens come in all shapes and sizes, and learning to master them is a fundamental part of our game. But, what is the average size of a putting green?
In this article, you’ll learn everything you need to know about green sizes. From USGA regulations, and PGA tour examples, to the common sizes for backyard putting greens.
What Is the Average Size of a Putting Green?
The average size of a putting green is approximately 5,000 to 6,000 square feet in area. However, golf course greens can average as little as 3,500 square feet (Pebble Beach), and up to over 11,500 square feet (St Andrews Old Course). Backyard putting greens are usually around 1,000 square feet.
Are There Rules for the Size of Golf Greens?
While the USGA does offer guidance on hole locations, they don’t enforce any rules or regulations for green sizes.
Instead, the design of putting greens is informed by several key factors:
- The existing site characteristics
- The desired complexity of the hole
- The level of maintenance required
When building a golf course, natural site characteristics such as terrain, trees, and lakes can all influence the design of the course. These characteristics can restrict both the size and shape of greens, which in turn adds character to the course.
The second consideration when designing a putting green is the desired complexity of the hole. Course designers can make a hole more challenging by reducing the size of the green. Alternatively, they can opt for a bigger green but add complexity in other areas, such as greenside bunkers or other obstacles.
The final factor to consider is the level of maintenance required. Greens require the most attention on the golf course when it comes to maintenance – the bigger the green, the higher the operational cost. For example, the enormous greens at St Andrews Old Course require 14 full-time greenskeepers to maintain the notoriously high standard.
Average Green Size on the PGA Tour
The average green size on the PGA Tour is approximately 5,000 to 6,000 square feet.
However, this figure ranges from as little as 3,500 square feet at Pebble Beach up to a massive 13,608 square feet at St Andrews Old Course.
Many pro golfers prefer smaller greens as it requires more precision in the approach shot. This takes the emphasis off distance and relies more on the golfer’s ability to perform shots with accuracy.
Smallest Greens on the PGA Tour: Pebble Beach Golf Links
The greens at Pebble Beach average just 3,500 square feet, the smallest on the PGA Tour. This equates to an average green depth of 26 paces.
Tiny greens make for intimidating approach shots, particularly when combined with Pebble Beach’s myriad of greenside bunkers.
To counteract this high level of complexity, the course is the shortest on the PGA Tour. This allows for golfers to use wedges and short irons to control their daunting shots into the green, rather than long-distance clubs.
Biggest Greens on the PGA Tour: St Andrews Old Course
In stark contrast, the Old Course at St Andrews features greens with a whopping average of 13,608 square feet on a per-hole basis.
However, what’s even more astonishing is that this 18-hole course has only 11 greens. Seven of these are prestigious double greens, which average a huge 22,267 square feet.
Rather than being created by design, these double greens evolved out of the nature of “out-and-back” play – golfers traditionally played down one side of the field, turned at the far end, then played along the other side of the field.
Despite the enormous size of the greens, the nature of links golf in Scotland presents unique challenges when it comes to hitting greens in regulation. The firmness of the ground and unpredictable wind conditions are two factors synonymous with St Andrews.
Five-time British Open champion Peter Thomson once famously stated, “hitting these greens is easy; staying on them is the hard part.”
What Is the Average Size of a Backyard Putting Green?
Many golfers choose to bring their passionate hobby into their own backyard, giving them the opportunity to practice their putts at home.
Backyard putting greens are usually sized around 1,000 square feet.
According to backyard green supplier Tour Greens, putting greens can be custom designed to suit your backyard space with size options ranging from 200 to over 2,000 square feet.
How Much Does a Backyard Putting Green Cost?
Tour Greens offer pricing guidelines for these common backyard putting green sizes:
|2,000 square feet and larger
|$15 to $20 per square foot
|400 to 2,000 square feet
|$20 to $30 per square foot
|Under 400 square feet
|Over $30 per square foot
So for an average 1,000-square-foot backyard green, this will set you back approximately $25,000.
Alternatively, you could build for cheaper if you opted for a DIY route.
To summarise, most golf courses feature putting greens sized at around 5,000 to 6,000 square feet.
However, this can vary based on a number of factors including existing site characteristics, desired hole complexity, and the level of maintenance required.
Backyard putting greens are usually around 1,000 square feet in size. But, they can usually be custom designed to suit backyard spaces ranging from 200 to over 2,000 square feet.