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From: Vol. 1, Issue 39, December 21-January 3, 2006

By Norb Garrett
San Clemente Times

Like many families with young kids, Bob and Roxanne DePalma surrendered their backyard to swing sets, tree houses and playhouses so that their young ones would stay occupied right at home. But as the DePalma’s kids, Ana and Matthew, grew up, Bob and Roxanne could begin dreaming of a backyard that the entire family could enjoy. Maybe a pool? Basketball court? Volleyball net? No, for the golf-obsessed DePalma family the centerpiece of the new backyard was obvious: a putting green.

“The putting green was always our intent,” says Bob, who runs his own business importing a variety of products while Roxanne can be found on QVC selling them. “Both of our kids love golf, and I love golf. I thought it would create an area where we could play together.”

The re-invention of the backyard also included a fireplace and covered bar and barbeque area, but the putting green is the focal point. Bob researched the potential companies, of which there are several in Southern California. He attended trade shows and researched online. He settled on One Putt (888.505.PUTT), a company that specializes in personalized putting greens. The green itself is meticulously built and is about 4 to 6 inches deep with layers of rubberized pebbles, crushed rock and sand. The surface is porous and the and three quarters-inch “grass” blades on the carpet rest on pressed sand-roughly seven pounds of sand per square foot. Occupying about 300 square feet, the DePalma’s course was hand-designed by Bob who wanted a multi-styled green that included a variety of breaks-left to right, right to left, uphill, downhill and straight. He also wanted a specific pitch and added a pitching mat just off the green.

“Now that Ana’s developed into a high school golfer [she made the San Clemente High School varsity team as a freshman], this gives her a place to practice the most critical part of the game-putting and chipping,” says Bob.

Amazingly, the process of actually installing the putting green took the company only three days. The cost varies by project, of course, but Bob is thrilled with how the job, which was completed earlier this year, came out. “I think it’s a great value, given how much time we spend out here.”

Bob leaves a bucket of balls and a putter next to the green, which invariably means that literally everyone visiting the house grabs the putter and starts hitting balls (the author included). Family tournaments are a regular happening, and Matt, a sixth grader, is the house champ. “It brings the kids’ friends here,” says Bob, “which we love.”

Now that’s what’s called a home course advantage.

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