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Mats vs. Grass at Practice Range

Poll Results: Do you hit off the grass or mats when you go to the range?

This is a multiple choice poll
  • 50% (54)
    Always off the GRASS - I want realistic conditions
  • 7% (8)
    Always off the GRASS - This is all my range offers
  • 0% (1)
    Always off the MATS - It's cheaper
  • 0% (0)
    Always off the MATS - I like the feel of the mat
  • 0% (1)
    Always off the MATS - I don't want to clean my clubs when i'm done
  • 16% (18)
    Always off the MATS - This is all my range offers
  • 11% (12)
    I switch it up but mostly off the GRASS
  • 4% (5)
    I switch it up and it's 50/50
  • 12% (13)
    I switch it up but mostly off the MATS
  • 0% (0)
    It doesn't mater to me at all. I have no preference
107 Total Votes  
post #1 of 258
Thread Starter 

So I've been practicing with my 7-6-5 irons mostly (beginner) on the practice range turf mats and doing ok.

I've decided to try out my swing on the real grass (somewhat thick, not fairway) and find out I do horrendously. I hit it fat and thin etc... and when practicing to increase my swing lag, VERY FAT....

I've played b4, and not really had problems on a course... well.. that is translating what I've practiced on the practice mat to the course..

If i have blades/muscle-backs, should I be practicing on mats or grass? I've read that mats actually deform blades...

post #2 of 258
Originally Posted by drocpdp View Post
So I've been practicing with my 7-6-5 irons mostly (beginner) on the practice range turf mats and doing ok.

I've decided to try out my swing on the real grass (somewhat thick, not fairway) and find out I do horrendously. I hit it fat and thin etc... and when practicing to increase my swing lag, VERY FAT....

I've played b4, and not really had problems on a course... well.. that is translating what I've practiced on the practice mat to the course..

If i have blades/muscle-backs, should I be practicing on mats or grass? I've read that mats actually deform blades...
The mats are going to show you that you are able to hit the ball pretty well. Then liek you said you go to the grass range and you can't hit it the same. The mats will mask your fat shots.
In my opinion and most other users on this forum will agree that you should always try to use a grass range and stay away from the mats as much as possible.
post #3 of 258
Go with the grass. Not only does the mat mask the fat shots, but also you can look at your divot and see if you're hitting it right. You also aren't limited on your tee shots. Most of the mats have a little rubber tee that obviously does not have an adjustable height. This is one of the reasons I hate the mats.
post #4 of 258
Mats suck! I hate them :( but it is hard to find a grass driving range around here.

The best I found was a golf course 20-25 minutes from me that hits on grass Weds-Sat, and mats Sun-Tues.

Let me put it this way, its worth driving 20-25 minutes just so I don't have to hit mats and can instead hit grass. Of course it helps that I bought a $44 a month unlimited range ball membership :)

Edit: the divot comment is also spot on. being able to see where my divot is going is very important to me
post #5 of 258
I will not even hit any club off mats except my driver, and even it I prefer off grass. You definitely do not get a real practice experience off mats as often bad shots are 'corrected' by the mat. Even with driver there is often a problem with the fact tee height is not adjustable. Practice off gress whenever possible, preferably a good range that has grass that is at least close to fairway/tee box grass.
post #6 of 258
Mats are forgiving, but if you hit the ball right, they won't make any difference to how the ball behaves. The difference is that the club will bounce off behind the ball rather than digging into the ground and take a divot.

I have nothing but mats to practice off here. You have to know how the mats work and what they can do to the swing and feedback, but it's not a problem hitting off them. They don't deform blades, but they will contribute to bending soft irons, mostly forged, more easily. It's not a big problem, but you should get them checked for lie and loft once a year.
post #7 of 258
I love my driving range cause it has real grass to hit on so it gives real results
post #8 of 258
My home course has a grass driving range and it's great. However, I go through tees pretty fast. Are there any alternatives to wooden and plastic tees that break so easily? Or would something like that mess up your clubs?
post #9 of 258
Originally Posted by pxc View Post
My home course has a grass driving range and it's great. However, I go through tees pretty fast. Are there any alternatives to wooden and plastic tees that break so easily? Or would something like that mess up your clubs?
I'm pretty sure they have some fancy hi tech tees that you can reuse as long as you don't tee flip it way out onto the range
post #10 of 258
Mats have their purpose. You really need to pay attention to how your ball sounds when struck, not necessarily the flight. You can certainly have a bad swing where the ball goes straight. This would not happen on grass.

Mats do have their benefits if you're working on a certain aspect of your swing and you don't want to deal with divots every where.

All that being said, grass is by far the best to practice off of.
post #11 of 258
Mats do suck, but when I practice on my lunch hour the closest course has mats only.

I try to hit my driver mostly from the mats (as others have mentioned), as iron shots are much different on grass.
post #12 of 258
Mats and irons don't mix. If you can avoid it you need to. I developed a ganglion cyst because of it and those suckers are painful. More importantly, most mats don't allow you to take a swing with a divot so you teach yourself a different swing. Not a good thing to do considering there aren't many turf golf courses.
post #13 of 258
I agree that grass is definitely preferable. That said, my only available ranges have (frequently replaced) mats, and I've found that yes, the mat will mask fat shots in the ball flight, but for me at least, I can feel and hear when I'm hitting it fat on the mat, so it's nice to see the ball go straight with 90% distance and all, but I know when the ball flight wouldn't look like that on the course.

I also haven't found that the mats stear me away from getting a good divot, though I started naturally towards the picker end of things and not the heavy divot end of things. When I'm hitting well I get a light to medium divot, despite practicing my irons on mats.

That said, I've never gotten to hit my 3 days a week on the range off of grass, week in and week out, so maybe I'd be better if I did...
post #14 of 258
Originally Posted by pxc View Post
My home course has a grass driving range and it's great. However, I go through tees pretty fast. Are there any alternatives to wooden and plastic tees that break so easily? Or would something like that mess up your clubs?
I use the "aerospark tees" those things cant be broken ... check them out
http://www.aerosparkgolftee.com/
post #15 of 258
I'm probably in the minority here but I think there are some advatnages to hitting off of matts. the biggest thing is that you can set up your hitting station with alignment clubs and not have to move everything around after every few divots. I've been lucky enough to take lessons from some very well known instructors and they all insist that you cannot practice without a proper practice station unless you can afford to have someone you trust watching you. So I think the mats are good for that.
post #16 of 258
Is shot shaping greatly affected by mats? i noticed yesterday while playing that the same stroke for a 5 foot draw i was using on the range mat the day before turned into a 15 foot draw, and the opposite with the fade. are range mats deceptive when it comes to shot shaping?
post #17 of 258
Grass is a million times nicer in my view.
post #18 of 258
Grass all the way. Mats will definitely lie to you, depending on how good/bad your ball-striking is, and the feeling of my club slamming into the concrete hiding under a mat at the range when I get too steep on a swing makes my wallet hurt.

I've never had my ball land on a mat out on the course.
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