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Hitting Off Mats


mochila

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I notice more and more ranges are carrying the newer realistic mats that don't mask fat shots. Maybe you can lobby your range to do the same. I notice two types, one with bristles and the JR or something other, which is kind of like a thick shag rug.

Steve

Kill slow play. Allow walking. Reduce ineffective golf instruction. Use environmentally friendly course maintenance.

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i hate them, it messes me up, i rather stay at home and practice small, slow, precise swings than hit off mats

Matt Dougherty, P.E.
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Mats are great, if you have a decent game. If you know ball placement and make regular divots then mats can be a wonderful practice tool. If you are just learning the game then STAY far away from them because it is impossible to hit a bad shot. Meaning if you hit 4" behind the ball on a mat you will still hit a good shot...
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I own a driving range and have 20 mats. They serve a purpose of giving you a great lie. When teaching they eliminate a bad lie. Amazing how students will hit from grass and place the ball in a hole avoiding grass and look at you when they hit a bad shot. With mats they cannot give me that odd stare. Hitting fat I would fix as an instructor.

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Mats are a great if you utilize them properly to work on swing components or off the tee.  You have to be careful because they can also build a false confidence that will have you shaking your head when you play on a course.  I practice a lot from mats, but have learned not to trust them as an indicator of how things will go on a course.  The mats always provide a great lie, always flat, and even when you hit it fat the ball goes pretty much where you wanted it to.

On a course, along with the pressure of playing an actual round, the lies aren't always perfect, many times the ball is higher or lower than your feet, and nothing on a mat can prepare you for a shot in heavy rough or sand.  You can't chunk up 4" of grass and dirt before the ball and expect it to go very far or in the direction you thought like it does on the mats.  The fat shots get into your head and make you try to compensate by hitting it thinner which results in a bullet flying 8' off the ground and right over the green into the woods.

I'd be a scratch golfer if I could play from the mats all the time.

Joe Paradiso

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  • 11 years later...

I see lots of content on this site and others that claim that hitting balls from a mat, as in at the driving range, is a bad idea. I have never seen anybody say why it is not good. I understand that hitting off grass has to be better because it is what we do on the golf course, but why are mats bad for practice? I don't know of any driving ranges that have real grass to hit from except maybe a couple of weeks of the year because the grass is gone from all the hits.

Hitting off a rubber tee at a range seems ok for the driver but seems worthless for all the other clubs. How to people get good practice when the only thing available is the driving range? Why are the mats bad for practice?

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1 hour ago, Mkgrady said:

I see lots of content on this site and others that claim that hitting balls from a mat, as in at the driving range, is a bad idea. I have never seen anybody say why it is not good. I understand that hitting off grass has to be better because it is what we do on the golf course, but why are mats bad for practice? I don't know of any driving ranges that have real grass to hit from except maybe a couple of weeks of the year because the grass is gone from all the hits.

Hitting off a rubber tee at a range seems ok for the driver but seems worthless for all the other clubs. How to people get good practice when the only thing available is the driving range? Why are the mats bad for practice?

Depending on the type of mat, it can mask poor contact. Especially fat shots. It can also do more damage over time to your irons. 

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1 hour ago, Mkgrady said:

How to people get good practice when the only thing available is the driving range? Why are the mats bad for practice?

Depends on what you are practicing on. 

If you are working on swing path stuff, or other stuff that doesn't really need you to hit a golf ball, then hitting like 30 shots over the course of 1-2 hours isn't that big of deal. Mostly because hitting the ball is to just break up constantly working on something that doesn't include hitting the golf ball. 

If you are working on different type of shots, like hitting fades, draws, high, low shots. Then you'd want to hit off grass. 

 

Matt Dougherty, P.E.
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What's in My Bag
Driver; :pxg: 0311 Gen 5,  3-Wood: 
:titleist: 917h3 ,  Hybrid:  :titleist: 915 2-Hybrid,  Irons: Sub 70 TAIII Fordged
Wedges: :edel: (52, 56, 60),  Putter: :edel:,  Ball: :snell: MTB,  Shoe: :true_linkswear:,  Rangfinder: :leupold:
Bag: :ping:

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It you're hitting the ball the way you're supposed to, you won't get the same interaction off a mat as you will off turf.

For those of us who're "pickers" (don't raise much, if any, divot) it probably doesn't matter quite as much.

 

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23 minutes ago, SEMI_Duffer said:

For those of us who're "pickers" (don't raise much, if any, divot) it probably doesn't matter quite as much.

I agree with this. For me it really doesn't matter because I am a picker to begin with so I don't get a false sense of anything because I rarely hit it fat. My miss is thin and the mat doesn't mask a thin shot. I even can hit 65 yard wedges off a mat, but when it comes to short game, you really need the turf. 

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My personal experience, I played 80 rounds during the winter on a simulator.   I spent 6 weeks in rehab for my shoulder.   

6 hours ago, Vinsk said:

Depending on the type of mat, it can mask poor contact. Especially fat shots. It can also do more damage over time to your irons. 

This..

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If you hit it fat, the clubhead will bounce off the mat into the ball and the ball flight will look decent-ish. That shot on grass the ball will go nowhere.

If you're videoing your swing, the replay will should give you a clear indication if fat or not.

If you've been playing for awhile, you should immediately know when you've hit it fat by feel.

Maybe you have a choice of ranges and some use the better mats that simulate real grass.

Steve

Kill slow play. Allow walking. Reduce ineffective golf instruction. Use environmentally friendly course maintenance.

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Ok. Thanks for the responses. They make sense. My swing fault is hitting fat, never thin. Maybe hitting off mats will train me to hit thinner (better). It doesn’t feel good to hit a fat shot off the mats I have been using. If I hit fat I usually assume I did not get enough hip turn. I like the idea of swinging on a mat without a ball to groove a repetitive swing.

Can we agree that using a driver and the rubber tee will not cause a problem?

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If you do use a mat, you can place a towel a little bit behind the ball to help eliminate fat shots.   Instant feedback!

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10 hours ago, Mkgrady said:

Ok. Thanks for the responses. They make sense. My swing fault is hitting fat, never thin. Maybe hitting off mats will train me to hit thinner (better). It doesn’t feel good to hit a fat shot off the mats I have been using. If I hit fat I usually assume I did not get enough hip turn. I like the idea of swinging on a mat without a ball to groove a repetitive swing.

Can we agree that using a driver and the rubber tee will not cause a problem?

There are drills you can do on mats to work on fat shots. Put a piece of tape on the mat behind the ball and inch or two and work to not touch the tape. Also, I agree on drivers.

I’m not sure what kind of mat you have, but the can can wear and tear on your wrists and arms.

Scott

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Maybe you can train yourself to hear it. You can hear the ball first mat contact sound vs the different mat first ball contact sound.

Yeah rubber tee is fine. Use an adjustable height one.

Steve

Kill slow play. Allow walking. Reduce ineffective golf instruction. Use environmentally friendly course maintenance.

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I've had this mat for almost 2 years and have used it a lot in the basement and in the garage. I really like the swing spot feature. You can use it to show if you hit behind the ball or in front of the ball. It also reveals (at least to some degree) your swing path. I also use the hex path feature a lot. I'm continually working on swing path. The only issue I have with the mat is that the Velcro pads at the bottom of the foam yellow sticks eventually fall off. I fixed that with a little gorilla glue and haven't had a problem since. 816423616_mat1.jpg.4cc6b99b46fd9270a09413dd77e76db3.jpg1781511982_mat2.jpg.069c3e9b56298a788bf5fca7812e2a8a.jpg1868518097_mat3.jpg.21303815fbe24aa0a6e1ab9bbec0e4bd.jpg

Okay, but what do you do if you are at the range? Obviously you aren't going to bring your own mat. I suggest bringing a playing card (or a whole deck). You can put the playing card behind the ball. If you hit the playing card, you hit behind the ball. Easy peasy. 

The other thing I bring with me to the range is one of these.

1276698008_91KmEuCFveL._AC_SX679_PIcountsize-10TopRight00_SH20_.jpg.1d69bdf8ca9ea98f4445dea331957503.jpg

With one of these in your bag, you can tee up a ball on the mat far more naturally than you could if you use the silly rubber tee that's at some ranges. Or worse yet, that stupid adjustable tee that is as hard as piece of iron sticking up through the mat. 

Yeah, mats aren't as good to practice on as grass. But I assume I'm like many and have very little choice. Where I live I get access to driving range grass only once in a blue moon. So, you make the best of what you have.

 

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