METRO GOLF REPORT: "Tee Off In Your Backyard"
In part two of this week's Metro Golf Report, NY1's Adam Balkin speaks with a golf course designer who specializes in backyard courses and filed the following report. Michael Lehrer builds some of the world's most exclusive golf holes. The holes he builds you either have to know the owner or be the owner to play. That's because the holes he builds are in backyards. His company, Home Green Advantage, is one of the several companies that construct anything from a putting green to a par three for anyone with enough space and money and golf addiction to want one. "You can kill a couple of birds with one golf ball," says Lehrer. "Number one, you have the aesthetic improvement to your property. It's subtle, blends into the natural surroundings, if you do it the right way. And then, you know the deal with golf, the more you practice the better you get. If you can knock off a stroke every other hole, you can drop your score by nine strokes, if that's your intention." Three big questions though before teeing it up outside your back door. Number one, how much space do you need? "If you have a backyard that's only 20 yards by 40 yards across, or even and eighth of an acre, you can have a green that's 300-400 square feet," Lehrer says. "You can have a green that's 20x30 in one corner and has the tee on the other end." The second concern, and for some this is the biggest concern, what's the upkeep on these things like? Do owners need to get one of those special mowers just to keep the grass super tight on the tee box and green? "Very rarely do I build natural greens for people," says Lehrer. "As a matter of fact, I tried for 10 years to keep one at my house and lost it three times and I'm in the profession. I suggest synthetic turf. Then you can walk on the green, ride your car on it, it's impervious to any sort of trampling, and all you really have to do is take a blower and blow it off. If you have a sand trap, you have to rake it once a week or else, like a garden, you'll have little weeds in it." Lehrer says he typically charges about $15 a square foot for the green and tee box, which can run as little as $5,000 for a simple putting green to six figures for a nice-sized par three with multiple tees. While it may be a lot of money, it may seem worth it to the hardcore golfer, who realizes how much he or she'll be able to brag to friends about all the holes-in-one they've gotten over the years.