I never thought I’d be putting golf net designer or golf net builder on my resume, but after living on a golf course with hundreds of balls flying directly towards our house each week, building a new golf net was a necessity. The net that was previously installed at our house was built with treated wood 4x4s in a high wind area, and when one post snapped, the previous owners bolted another 4×4 on top of the short one, which was of course falling over when we moved in (see before picture below). Although not everyone has need for a golf net, for those that do, they are extremely expensive to have designed and built by the “professionals” (our neighbor got a quote around $3000, and they probably would have used the same treated 4x4s that our old net had). The net we built cost us around $1000, it has been regularly complemented as being the nicest net on the course, and I venture to say it will outlast most other nets because we put our money into quality materials instead of labor. We also built in a pulley system into our net, so we never had to climb a 20’ ladder, and the net itself can be easily repaired or replaced if ever damaged. In this blog I will go into the basic steps we took to build our golf net.
The old net was improperly constructed and falling down (left). The new golf net (right) extends the property line, has clean sharp lines, and will withstand high winds.
Step 1: Prepping Post Holes
Our old golf net was placed about 2 ft in front of the fence that separated our property from the golf course. The fence was our property, so we decided to incorporate our golf net with the existing fence in order to extend our yard and give the property line a clean look. Our fence posts were approximately 8’ apart, so we wanted to replace every other one with a 20’ post to support our net. Although there are various wood choices, we decided to spend a little more for Redwood because of its strength, rot resistance, and because it matched our other fence posts (check your local lumber yard to see what is available and best for your area). We also chose to go with a 4×6 post for extra strength since we live in a high wind area.
To dig up the old posts, we rented a small jackhammer for a day to break up the old concrete. We needed holes that were at least 3’ deep to support our net, so we dug the existing post holes down to this level using a digging bar and the ShopVac .
3' Post hole
Step 2: Prepping our Posts
We wanted our golf net to be as high as possible using 20’ lumber. Since our ground wasn’t level, to determine the height of each post, we used the technique discussed in Tip #7 of The Level. We kept the total length of the post with the largest “X” equal to 20’, and cut the other posts accordingly (make sure to label your posts so you know where each one goes).
Pre-cutting your posts level
Once all posts were cut, we used Black Flag’s Copper Green wood preservative to treat the underground part of each post, helping to prevent future rot problems (even though Redwood is rot resistant, it was better to be safe). At the top of our posts we installed a pulley, a pole catch, and a post cap (before installing, we sprayed the hardware black using Rustoleum Spray-paint). Once all hardware was installed, we ran our rope through each pulley, attaching the ends together with a leader rope, forming one giant loop (the last thing you want is to lose your rope 20’ up). The main rope was just a few feet longer then the height of the net, and the leader rope was just enough so the rope loop was easily reachable from the ground.
Hardware installed at the top of each post (note: this post served as an end to our net and our neighbor's net so it has extra hardware to service both nets)
For the end posts, we needed a way to pull the net taught against the post. To do this, we installed a small pole catch near the top, so we could fasten the sides of our net to a ½” piece of conduit that would then slide into the catch and get fastened to the post in the middle and at the bottom.
At this point the posts were ready to be installed (see Installing a Fence Post for tips on this part of the process), although before concreting them we needed to sight everything. It is amazing that even with a 16’ tall golf net, your eye can pick up the slightest variances in height. You do your best to cut everything as perfect as possible, but you may still be off by an inch (also dirt in your hole can shift slightly as you drop your posts in). To sight the height, we stepped back onto the golf course and just looked. If something felt low, we added some extra gravel under the post until things felt right. Once all of the posts were good, we locked them in place and concreted them in. We then reattached our fence panels and added tie hooks near the ground directly below each pulley.
Setting the 20' posts in each hole prior to leveling and sighting them
Step 3: Prepping the Net
Although 16’ posts look pretty cool by themselves, they don’t do much to protect you from bad golfers, so it was time to prep our net. The net from our old golf net was in pretty good shape, so we chose to reuse it. If you need to buy a new net, there are tons of specialty online stores out there such as The Fish Net Company (they were recommended by a neighbor and seem to have the best prices). When buying, make sure the holes are small enough to catch a golf ball, and also make sure they have been weather and UV treated so they don’t deteriorate. The nets typically come in standard sizes, so if you build your net to one of these you can save some money, or you can have the net custom made to meet the dimensions you choose.
To hang our net, we fastened several sections of 1” conduit together until we had a solid piece matching the width of our net (make sure the connectors are not at the posts, or your poles won’t fit into the catches). We also chose to cap the ends of our pole so it didn’t become a home for insects. To install the pole, we tied the rope from each pulley to the pole in the appropriate spot using a Bowline Knot (see video below) secured with some zip ties. We then raised the pole up a few feet so we could easily attach the net. To raise the pole properly, we started at one end and worked our way down, lifting about 1-2 feet each time.
To fasten the net to our poles, we used lots and lots of zip ties. We started at one end and worked our way across, placing a black zip tie every few inches and pulling the net taught as we went along. There are other ways to secure the net, but zip ties were inexpensive, held the net taught, and if some need to be replaced in the future, we can easily pull our net down and fix it. We fastened the sides of the net in a similar fashion, but to a length of ½” conduit, which we then attached to the end posts.
We attached the net using zip ties every few inches
Step #4: Raising the Net
A mentioned before, it is important that you don’t stress the pole too much as you raise the net. Go down post by post, and raise each rope 1-2 feet at a time, then tie off the rope to the tie hook using a slip knot. When lifting the net, if something gets stuck, don’t try to force it or you risk damaging your net. Simply back off the net slightly, evaluate what was happening, and try again. The first time we raised the net, it took some trial and error before we got into a rhythm.
Both our net and our neighbor's net 1 1/2 years after installation
Although building a golf net may seem like an intimidating project, it really isn’t much different than putting up a fence. If you are in need of a golf net, I hope this gives you some ideas on how to do it yourself. Feel free to leave any comments or questions, I’d be more than happy to give further details on any part of the process.