Understanding Practice Range Mats

Driving Range Mats vs Real Grass

Admittedly, it’s not the most exciting topic in golf, but there are a few points worth remembering about the practice mats you’ll find at most ranges…

A lot of amateur golfers will tell you it’s much easier to play off grass than a synthetic surface.

However, you’ll get away with a lot of poor strikes from a mat that would be disastrous on the golf course (which is one reason I believe a lot of golfers struggle to transfer their range game to the course).

Watch the short video below about range mats or read the summary beneath:

Practice Range Tips Video Summary

  • The best practice surface is grass, so if you have a grass range available to you, use it. Range mats can encourage you to ‘clip’ the ball off the surface but taking a divot is an important part of solid, crisp ball-striking. The shape and direction of your divots can also give you good feedback about your swing.
  • If you hit slightly behind the ball (called heavy or fat shots) on a range mat, the club will bounce off the mat and still make a reasonable contact with the ball. On grass, the same swing would send the ball just a few yards down the fairway. Listen for the sound of the strike and discount heavy strikes as bad shots that you’d be punished for on the course.
  • Don’t fall into the habit of ‘clipping’ the ball off the surface of the mat. For a good strike the club should be bottoming out and brushing the synthetic turf after the ball.
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