I now have a 10 year old (female) Border Collie and a 15 month old (male) Belgian Tervuren. To say they are different is the understatement of the year.
When I had two BCs, I would exercise them in the 20+ acre field in the middle of the development I live in. They were so good and so obedient that there was never a problem with doing that. So, no yard tearing-up.
My BT is a dog of a different color. I thought Border Collies were intelligent and energetic; this BT makes them look like laid back bananna slugs.
Because he had/has issues, I cannot exercise him anywhere but in my back yard. Walking him is out of the question, and they (both BC and BT) need and want more strenuous exercise than a long walk or two. So, I chuck balls for them in the yard several times per day.
My BC is fine. But my Belgian Terv thinks he's Lou Gehrig or something. He doesn't just catch a ball; he charges at it and slides (honestly) like he's running for home base. Every time. Low ball, high ball, ground ball, whatever, it's the same. And the lawn in a disaster; we all come in with terribly muddy feet. (Well. my BC and I have muddy feet. He's muddy from the belly to the tip of his toes.)
The ground doesn't reliably freeze/stay frozed where I live, so waiting for it to freeze isn't the answer.
His claws are kept short. He is exercised until he's so tired, he doesn't want to go for the ball anymore, or he's getting too hot (he'll walk up to a kiddie pool of ice water, wade in and stand there cooling off.) But every time he does go for a ball, he does it with his entire being!
My dear boy doesn't do well with negative reinforcement. I wouldn't know how to do that for ball catching anyway.
Any good ideas on how to get Max/Lou Gehrig to not tear up my lawn?
I do do a lot of indoor exercises with them both, and he doesn't tear up my carpets, thankfully. But it isn't nearly enough to tire him out for more than 5 minutes. We do a lot of mentally challenging things as well. But he loves him his yard.
Edited for update:
I did what Yvette suggested and put down two layers of plastic mesh (the green, open one in her examples) on the worst areas of the yard. Max quickly caught on that it was more comfortable for him to slow down when he got to the mesh. It worked wonderfully! Thank you, @Yevette Colomb!