Karen Moulton’s company spreading putting greens across the North Shore and beyond

By Bob Albright

Looking for the roots of some of the most imaginative synthetic putting greens in New England?

Well, you need look no farther than Hamilton. It’s there, in a renovated old Volvo repair shop on Route 1A, where you will find Karen Moulton and her company, TM Turfscapes.

T.M. Turfscapes owner Karen Moulton.

Turfscapes installs a wide array of synthetic pet areas, roof decks, patios and playgrounds, but Moulton figures that about half of  her jobs come with three or more holes and varying degrees of undulations and graduated rough.

“The reason is that because when we start talking about doing someone’s backyard, invariably there is a golf lover in there who asks how much more it would be to add a putting green,” said Moulton, who grew up in Ipswich and started the company in 2010 with the support of her husband, Tom, who owns a landscape business.

Such was the case at one of TM Turfscapes’ most scenic installations near Lynch Park in Beverly. The company was originally slated to turf over a portion of a bluestone patio. Instead, the owner upped the ante by adding a kidney-shaped three-hole green that is guarded by a pool just a flop shot away, not to mention that the Atlantic Ocean is no more than a 8-iron beyond that.

(Moulton says she cannot take credit for the miniature orange T. rex that hovers over the green, much like its larger, iconic version has done for so many years on Route 1 in Saugus.)

There really is no limit as to where Moulton and her crew can spread her realistic turf. From basements (often accompanying golf simulators) to roof-top decks, she has seen – and installed – it all from Camden, Maine, to the Cape.

There is some maintenance involved, but compared to the meticulous care that the real McCoy demands it pales in comparison. Mostly, Moulton says, it involves keeping the green and rough free of leaves, pine needles and other debris that can eventually spread its fibers and subsequently slow the roll of the ball.

“We have replaced three (real) greens where people had invested in the real thing, but it just proved to be too much maintenance for them,” she said.

Prices vary depending on the quality of the turf and accompanying fringe and on the foundation underneath. A rooftop application that uses a pedestal system to compensate for the natural pitch of the roof can be the most costly.

Utilizing its patented SYNLawn technology, TM Turfscapes offers four styles of nylon turf – at four different price points. All turf comes with a 15-year guarantee and generally rolls between 10 to 12 on the Stimpmeter, depending on how much sand is used, and all greens are built to conform with noted short game guru Dave Pelz’s “12 Elements of Practice.”

To insure that you have ample room to drain at least a winding 20-foot snake, Moulton suggests that greens are at least

25 feet long and 20 feet wide. Adding undulations, fringe and even bunkers are all options, but will increase the cost.

“It adds up fast and it’s like putting in a patio or a deck to your house,” Moulton pointed out. “Like any capital improvement to your home, you really want to take the time to plan it out and do it right.”

All Turfscapes greens are receptive to short chip shots of less than 30 yards. And those with large backyards and those who want to dip deeper in their bag can opt for the company’spatented“shotstopper” technology, which holds approach shots of 150 yards or more.

“Anything can be done,” Moulton added, with a smile.

Well, almost anything. Like we said ore, the bright orange T. rex is all on you.

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