For many golfers, the only way to work on your game is while playing off of a mat.
Grass driving ranges are hard to find because they are costly to maintain.
If you are not a member of a private country club, you will likely struggle to find a grass range.
Luckily, there are lots of driving ranges out there with mats.
Mats have some benefits that even grass does not have, so as long as you know how to practice from golf mats properly, you can use them to improve your game.
How to Practice on Golf Mats
To practice properly on golf mats, there are several things you are going to want to consider.
The two most important factors are safety and performance.
Mats are not as soft or as natural as turf.
When you hit a shot from the turf, you will very likely take a divot, and with the speed your golf club is traveling, the ball gets through the grass quite easily.
Since you cannot take a divot from a mat, the club will make more of an impact with the mat, and it will cause some stress on the hands, wrist, neck, and sometimes the back as well.
Golf mats today are not what they were ten or twenty years ago.
Years ago, mats were made with very hard rubber and a thin layer of fake turf on the top.
This has changed considerably, and now the rubber is much softer, and the turf is a lot thicker.
This helps players feel as though they are making some indentation in the surface of the mat.
It gives more of a real feel than the old mats would where the club would skip right over the top of the mat.
You will also notice that the base of these mats is sometimes made with softer material now than it was in the past.
These have been some great advantages for the golfing population that is limited to practicing from mats.
The worst shot to hit off of a mat is a chunked golf shot.
When this happens, your club typically slams into the mat, and the truth is that it can be quite painful.
Of course, for most golfers, it’s hard to know if you are going to chunk a shot, but if this is a typical miss hit for you, you may want to try and practice on turf for a while until you fix this issue.
You will probably start to feel some pain in your hands and wrists after prolonged practice on the mats.
The best way around this is to monitor and limit your practice on golf mats.
One of our best strategies is to hit a shot or two and then switch to a driver.
The driver will give you a break from the mat because the tee is going to be almost the same as hitting off a regular wooden tee.
It would help if you aimed to hit about ten shots and then took a break for a few minutes.
Hit a few shots off a tee or a few chips and then switch to the iron shots you were hitting before.
Hitting golf shots off mats one or twice a week should not cause too much distress for a golfer.
Hitting shots all day, every day from mats will probably cause some parts of your body to hurt.
Golfers should not be concerned about their safety practicing from mats from time to time.
When you hit shots from a mat, you will probably hit the ball a bit further.
Another thing to keep in mind is that you will make cleaner contact with a ball from a mat than you will from the grass.
When a golf ball and a golf club make contact with each other, the grooves and the dimples work together to get higher launch and lots of distance.
Anytime there is anything in between the grooves and the dimples, it will affect the ball flight.
When hitting from the turf, grass and water can affect the way the ball flies and the results you get.
As long as you are aware of this fact, it won’t have much impact on your golf game.
When you go out to the golf course, you may notice that you don’t hit the ball quite as far as you do when you are on the range.
The good thing is that you are still practicing and working on your mechanics even if you are not getting the same results that you do from the turf.
Just be aware of this fact and expect a couple fewer yards when you are on the course.
Another area where performance is affected from the mats is if you tend to hit slightly behind the ball.
When you hit behind the ball on a mat, sometimes the club skips over the mat and into the golf ball.
Most of the time, you will be able to feel this, but you won’t see too much of a difference in the results of the golf shot.
This can be misleading for new golfers who are still trying to figure out what a great shot feels like.
If you are at this stage in your game, make sure you are practicing from the grass as well as the mats so you can learn what this feels like.
Many of the newer mats with extra padding and cushion will give players more realistic turf-like feedback which can be quite helpful in learning to better your golf game.
How to Protect Your Golf Clubs When Practicing on Golf Mats
When practicing on golf mats for prolonged periods, you may notice that it will cause some issues with your golf clubs.
The newer, thicker, real feel mats will be better for your clubs than the older, thinner mats.
If you have graphite shafts, there is a chance that the shaft can break if you hit behind the golf ball repeatedly while practicing on a mat.
Graphite shafts sometimes break, and it is not caused by hitting behind the ball, but it does happen a good bit.
With these kinds of breaks, you will notice that the shaft will snap very close to the clubhead.
One way to help protect the shafts of your clubs is to inspect them from time to time.
Take a look at the graphite on your shafts and make sure you don’t see any splits or splinters.
If you do, have that shaft replaced before it turns into a mess at the range, and you potentially lose the clubhead.
You should also attempt not to hit behind the ball when practicing on mats.
Of course, this probably seems like an obvious statement, but if you struggle with this issue in your game, try and correct it on the grass before moving to mats.
Another thing you will notice about your golf clubs when practicing on mats is that they will tend to get some of the mat fibers on the club.
After a good practice session, you may notice that the bottom of your clubhead is covered in green fibers.
These should come off with a quick club wash.
It is best to get these off your golf clubs as soon as possible; otherwise, they can become more difficult to remove.
For the average golfer who heads to the range once or twice a week to work on their game, the golf mat is not going to cause significant damage to your golf clubs.
Is it bad to practice golf on mats?
One question many golfers ask is whether or not it is bad to practice golf mats.
Many professionals and great players will tell you that the worst thing for your golf game is no practice at all.
If you are putting in the time and the effort to practice golf, that is great.
If you don’t have access to a grass driving range, you should not let it stop you from practicing golf.
Golfers only need to watch out for their clubs and their bodies if they are spending prolonged amounts of time on the driving range.
Golf, in general, is a sport that will take a toll on your body over time.
Most of the golfers who have shoulder, knee, or back pain related to their history on the golf course cannot directly attribute this to practicing on a golf mat.
Is hitting golf balls into a net good practice?
One reason people like to practice off a golf mat is that they can set up a hitting station at their own home.
Most people don’t have a yard large enough to set up a complete driving range, so a mat and a net work to create an area to practice your swing.
The disappointing thing about golf nets is that you cannot see the ball flight.
Not seeing the result of your shot can be difficult because you may not know how it is flying.
As golfers, we all know that sometimes a shot that feels great does not end up where it should be.
There are some things about practicing using a golf net that can be good and some that are bad.
1. Pros of Practicing with a Mat and Net
- Practicing with a mat and net will help you work on mechanics.
- You will be able to make sure your setup and stance are precisely how they should be each time.
- Taking swing and hitting shots into the net allows you to work on great balance and to get to a finish position in your swing.
- Swinging a golf club every day can significantly improve your tempo and timing.
- You can work on visualization while you practice with a net, and you can visualize your home golf course.
- If you want to try a new concept like a new grip or new takeaway, this is a better place to do it than the golf course itself.
2. Cons of Practicing with a Mat and Net
- Will not have the same feel or ball flight as the grass.
- The net will stop the ball and not allow golfers to see how it was going to land.
- The net may give you misleading results about how the golf ball is flying.
- Prolonged practice on a mat can be bad for you physically and be difficult for your golf clubs.
The bottom line when practicing with a mat and a net is to make sure you are realistic about what you are doing.
You can think of this as an exercise where you practice the motions of your swing.
You should incorporate some video recordings of your swing and use this information to work on swing mechanics.
The most important thing to remember is that your results are going to be slightly skewed.
As long as you prepare for this and expect it on the golf course, you won’t have any issues.
Are Putting Mats Worth It?
Some of the best mats for golf are rather large and can work for both chipping, putting, and full swings.
These, of course, are more expensive than a standard strip of rubber matting you can use in your yard.
The best mats are those which allow your feel and your clubhead to be at the same level.
Anytime you have a mat that is raised but does not allow you to stand on it, you may run into some trouble.
You will create some angles in your swing that are difficult, and you may have issues with balance.
If you invest in a putting or hitting mat, choose one which allows you to stand on the mat itself.
The money you spend initially will be well worth it in the end.
Practicing on golf mats can be great for your game, as long as you have clear and realistic expectations.
Take precautions to protect yourself and your clubs and ensure you understand that mats will probably affect your ball flight and performance.