Take a Swing
When Larkspur residents Leah and Chad Solter
started thinking about replacing their water-hungry
front yard seven years ago, Chad floated an unusual
idea: how about installing a putting green? They
couldn’t put one in the backyard. They already had a
pool there. But the idea had some appeal: both Chad
and Leah are regular golfers and members of the
Meadow Club and Stone Tree Golf Club.
Leah, however, wasn’t convinced. “I thought,
‘Oh, God, that sounds so cheesy,’” she says. “My
dad even made a joke about how we’d have a wind-
mill in the front of our house and we’d have our
own miniature golf course.”
Chad kept after her for a year, though, finally
convincing her it would be fun for their t wo chil-
dren, both in elementary school at the time. Of
course the “kid” who might benefit most was
Chad, a scratch player and a modest man who only
reluctantly admits he’s won the Stone Tree club
championship three times.
After Leah relented, Chad found Back Nine
Greens, a company that specializes in installing
artificial turf. The company came over and for
roughly $8,000 installed t wo putting greens in less
than a week. One of the greens has five holes. The
other has two. They’re bifurcated by the home’s
walkway, which Chad calls “our natural hazard.”
Chad made sure the greens were tough enough
that even a scratch player would enjoy them,
requesting undulating surfaces. Across the driveway is also a 4-by-4-foot chipping area, where the
Solters now practice chipping onto the greens.
If the Solters worried about what their neighbors would think, they shouldn’t have. By placing
a putting green on their front lawn, they instantly
made their house the most popular on the block.
The Solters now leave a basket of putters on their
porch and balls in the holes, and it’s not unusual for
them to pull into their driveway and find friends
golfing in the yard.
As for their kids? Well, Dad was right. The Solters’
16-year-old son, Evan, recently switched from playing baseball to playing on the Redwood High golf
team. “He doesn’t leave for school in the morning
without grabbing a putter and putting,” Leah says.