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Mats vs. Grass at Practice Range - Page 11

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 #181 of 258

I hit my new clubs off mats first before grass. The shots off the mat came off lower. I do think the mats mask a slightly heavy strike too much. I try to practice from iffy lies anyway, because I don't play on a well manicured course. The drought in Texas last year was brutal.

post #182 of 258

If you are just learning, Grass is paramount. I have been playing for under a year and my game varies wildly on a mat to grass. I have my good days but my bad days are much worse on grass. I am going to play from the grass in my back yard and repair the grass as I go along and move the cage. Mats, Mask a thin shot and a fat shot. The feed back from mats just aren't the same. That being said, I say practice from both. 

post #183 of 258
When I first started playing golf, there were no grass driving ranges in my area. By default, I was forced to practice on artificial grass range mats. Not knowing any better, I believed that they were just as good as the real thing. Boy was I wrong. Indeed, I became pretty proficient hitting golf balls off padded Astro Turf. But that's a lot like saying you can fly a plane well after only piloting a video flight simulator.
 
While hitting a teed ball off range mats doesn't pose a problem, hitting unteed balls off range mats can adversely affect your swing. The main problem with range mats is that they don't allow you to take divots. When an iron impacts real grass, it digs in and scoops out a chunk of turf leaving the so-called divot. When this happens in relation to contact with the golf ball is all the difference with iron ball-striking. When hit properly, the iron contacts the ball before it impacts with the turf. If the iron hits the turf before the ball, the turf will interfere with the iron on ball contact resulting in the so-called "fat" shot (see picture). Besides the dreaded shank, the fat shot is the ugliest shot in golf. Laying sod is for landscaping your yard, not for hitting a golf ball.
 
Practicing on real turf gives you the necessary feedback to learn proper iron ball-striking. Hit a fat shot on real turf, and the ball behaves just like it does on the golf course - it goes nowhere. The beauty is knowing that you must have done something incorrectly to produce such a poor result. However, a fat shot on a range mat will likely produce a somewhat acceptable result. How do you improve if you don't know when you are doing something wrong?
 
Another problem with range mats is that they are unyielding to the impact from a properly struck iron. As a result, golfers may try to minimize contact with the mat, adversely affecting their swing. I certainly felt that extensive practice on range mats caused me to develop an overly shallow swing and become a "picker" of the golf ball. In other words, I was hitting the golf ball without taking a divot whatsoever.
 
While I don't think that there's anything significantly wrong with being a "picker", the margin for error is much less for a picker. Strike the ball one or two grooves lower than normal on the clubface, and a picker will hit it thin. A steeper swing will forgive such faults.
 
Lastly, the firmness of mats may actually start to alter your clubs! If you have soft, forged irons, the constant pounding against a range mat could bend the club's lie angle. Be sure to have the lie angles of your forged irons checked if you've been hitting off a mat.
 
Thankfully my local course now has a full-time 100% real grass driving range. I realize that my extensive practice on range mats was not only largely fruitless, but also detrimental. I now refuse to practice on range mats, using them only to warm-up before a round in the absence of a grass range. As Cheech and Chong might say, "there's just no substitute for real grass."
post #184 of 258

I started hitting off the grass in my back yard, I couldn't find a mat that responded like grass, so I'm just gonna hit off grass intothe net. I also bought a bag of grass seed a bag of fertilizer and two sprinklers. 

post #185 of 258

I wish I could hit off grass more, but the course I usually play at is mostly mats.  And when it is grass, it's not in the best condition.

post #186 of 258

There's a huge difference between hitting off grass on a good range and the grass on a bad range. Here in KC there are a lot of ranges with grass that can be used all summer long, but most of them are a sandy mix that doesn't come close to what you'll encounter on a course. My preference would be good grass then, a good mat, then a bad mat, then bad grass.

post #187 of 258

Mats vs Grass

I have seen many threads and heard many complaints of people having difficulty switching from Mats to Grass, but has anyone had difficulty going from grass to mats?

 

My home course has a grass driving range, but due to weather conditions and limited operating hours, I practiced at another course today, which only had mats. I felt like I was hitting the ball as bad as I was a month ago (started playing 2 months ago, so pretty bad). 

post #188 of 258

I refuse to practice off of a mat. It doesn't give way like grass does. 

post #189 of 258

I have to agree with Pixel, I did a number on my ribs hitting (digging) into those mats. Grass only now.

post #190 of 258

I play on an indoor sim 5x a week and outside 2x or so a week and I have to say that now I like the mats, BUT when i first started, the mats hurt my hand and didn't help my game at all. 

 

Now that ive played on mats for the last 2 months, Ive gotten use to them and like them ( Still rather real grass )

 

I even know how much the "rough" and the "deep rough" takes off my irons so I can go up a club on the sim.  After you get use to it, It is just fine.

 

And with the driver it is the same thing, if not a little more forgiving, because the mat gives you a bounce off if you get under it a bit and does not slow your swing down or make you hit it "fat". 

 

All in all.... a mat is 8/10 compared to some nice grass when a range is well kept. 

post #191 of 258

I have to agree with pixel5, mats don't give me the same feedback.  I seem to hit the ball the same but I don't like the feedback I get from the club.  I like see my divot fly far in front of me I guess!

post #192 of 258

Never had any trouble going from grass to mats, but it takes me a few swings to get re-adjusted when going from mats back to grass.

post #193 of 258

One course I play at has mats for 3 of the 18 holes - I tend to just tee off from the grass either side of the mat. I don't like the feel of the mats when you would have otherwise taken a divot you end up with a bit of a shock up your arm.

post #194 of 258
I would much rather practice on mats than badly kept grass. The range I usually go to doesn't move the hitting bays until they are really messed up. Yesterday I went and actually got to hit off fresh grass, it was amazing.
post #195 of 258

I don't mind practicing on mats but I don't like it when the plastic fibers gets melted onto the bottom of my irons.

post #196 of 258
Quote:
Originally Posted by Stargaze View Post

I don't mind practicing on mats but I don't like it when the plastic fibers gets melted onto the bottom of my irons.

 

Comes off easily with a little soap and a microfiber towel.

post #197 of 258

My range has nothing but grass.  Last year we had a drought so the grass, although watered regularly, was a bit thin.  Now we've had rain in 10 of the last 12 days and I've never seen it so good.  I'd have trouble switching to mats after all of the grass practice.

post #198 of 258

I posted this on a different thread like this, but something about mats gets into my head. It's probably dumb, but the idea of concrete being under the mat at most ranges makes me subconsciously lift my shoulders a bit as I come down through by swing. Because of this, I've noticed that when I hit off mats I tend to hit a lot of balls off the top. For me, you can't be the feeling of real grass.

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