DIY Horseshoe Pit Construction and Dimensions
So you’ve been thinking for a while that you want a horseshoe pit in your yard. Excellent idea, amigo. Seems pretty simple, right? Slap a little sand down, throw a couple stakes in the ground and you’re good to go.
Well, it’s not quite that simple. If you want to have a respectable setup there are a few guidelines you need to follow. That’s what we’re here to help you with. Setting up a backyard horseshoe pit doesn’t have to be that difficult, you just need to follow a few simple steps and be sure you have your dimensions on point.
A backyard horseshoe pit can be a ton of fun when it’s done right. If slapped together it will not only look sloppy, it won’t get any use.
Having a useless gravel pit in the backyard probably isn’t going to fly, so you may as well take the time and get things done right. We’ll go through a few keys to a well-constructed DIY horseshoe pit and a few of the official dimensions to make sure everything is up to industry standard. So with that in mind, here is our advice to creating the best DIY horseshoe pit.
How to Construct a Horseshoe Pit: Dimensions
- To start: mark off an area that is six feet wide, and 48 feet long (should you not have quite this much room in your yard do your best to come as close as possible)
- You’ll need to mark off an area for the “pitcher’s box” as well. This should be six feet by six feet at either end of the court
- Within the pitcher’s box you’ll need to mark two more distinct areas: the pit and the pitching platform. The pit is a rectangular area filled with the substance onto which the shoes are pitched. Its maximum length (in the direction in which the shoes are pitched) is 72 inches (183 cms) and its minimum length is 43 inches (109.5 cms). Its maximum width is 36 inches (91.5 cms) and its minimum width is 31 inches (79 cms). The pit must be centered in the pitcher’s box
- The pitching platforms flank the pit to its left and right sides and are parallel to each other. They shall be level with each other and to the top of the pit. They shall be 18 inches (46 cms) to 20.5 inches (52 cms) wide (depending on the width of the pit) and shall be a minimum of 6 feet (183 cms) long
- Finally you'll want a backboard 4' away from the stake.
- Next you’ll need to place your stakes: Each stake shall be centered between the pitching platforms with a minimum of 21 inches (53.5 cms) from the stake to the front and back of the pit. On regulation courts the stakes are 40 feet (1220 cms) apart.
How to Construct a Basic Horseshoe Pit: Materials & Instructions
- The substance that makes up your pit is largely up to you. Find something that is easy to obtain, like dirt, sand, or clay. We personally like playground sand.
- For a basic pit without the pitcher's box and a simple blackboard you'll need landscape timbers. Cut 4 of them 36' long and 4 of them 48'. The 36' landscape timbers will be used for the backboard, the 48' will be used for the sides.
- Drill 3 pilot holes of 1/2' in the 36' landscape timbers. 2 pilot holes at each end and one pilot hole in the middle.
- Pound in 1/2' X 2' rebar using a sledgehammer. This will fasten the 36' timbers together and into the ground. (Alternatively, you can dig the ground out and fasten them using timber stakes.)
- Use 1/2" X 1' rebar for the 48" landscape timbers
- Fill the box with sand, pound in your stake in the center of your pit and your done!
To recap you'll need:
- 28' of landscape timbers
- A drill with a 1/2" wood drillbit
- 3x 1/2" X 2' rebar spikes or 20 landscape timber spikes and a shovel
- 6x 1/2" X 1' rebar spikes
Knowing all of these things is important to creating a fun, and useful environment to play horseshoes. It’s not terribly expensive or difficult to put a well-made horseshoe pit together if you take the time and measure things out. Doing it right and creating a safe environment will only serve to better the game and the enjoyment down the road.
(Another piece of advice: set up your pit in an area where missed throws won’t cause unnecessary damage. All too often we see people throwing ‘shoes wildly and causing havoc. If you can, consider setting up nets at the end of each court to not only protect the people playing, but your home and any other valuables you may have in your yard.)
The most important part of throwing ‘shoes is to have fun. The game is built to promote competition and throwing back a few cold ones if the sun is shining. Play safe, and don’t take things too seriously.