You need a green that acts just like real grass not only on putts, but also on chip shots and pitches. The two most common materials used in synthetic greens are nylon and polypropylene. After 16 years of experience, research and installing hundreds of greens, we know that the most realistic material is polypropylene. A polypropylene sand-filled product most accurately duplicates a real grass putting green.
Many synthetic greens are being installed with nylon, which may be an effective surface in places like Florida or Arizona, but it doesn’t perform as well in rugged Northeast conditions.
The fibers in nylon will bend down after awhile. When this happens, the ball will roll much faster, and there is nothing you can do fix it. The longer you have your nylon green, the faster the ball will roll. Nylon is also a stiffer fiber, which can cause the ball to bounce, and not hold the green. Being a more porous fiber, nylon will absorb and retain water, leading to odors and mold, mildew and fungus growth. It is usually installed on concrete, which doesn’t allow for drainage, and must be sloped so the water can drain off the green. Your balls will also tend to roll the way the drainage is set up, which is not a realistic putting surface at all. Nylon fibers tend to be darker, giving the surface an unnatural blue-green appearance. Nylon can also wrinkle up causing bumps and creases on the putting surface. It can also have “streak lines” that run the length of the turf and can seriously hamper true ball roll. In our experience, nylon greens do not create a realistic surface that allows for a true roll of the ball.