Driving range mats are an important part of your home practice set-up. In fact, they can be customized in a variety of ways to best suit your set-up.
While these mats tend to look similar to each other, there are some subtle differences that can affect the way they perform.
If you are considering adding a mat to your practice course, or replacing a mat that you already have, there are a few things to consider before making a decision.
Imitating Grass and Ground
The first thing to consider when shopping for driving range mats is material.
It is important to remember that the main purpose of the mat is to recreate the feel of a golf course.
It is also important to remember that the feel of outdoor golf courses can vary quite a bit due to differences in the density of grass and ground.
If your golfing is limited to one course, you can try to find a driving mat that has a similar density and feel. If you golf on many courses, you should try a mat that has the most natural feel.
The majority of driving range mats are made from astro-turf on top of foam rubber, which is far tougher and denser than a real golf course.
If you are looking at rubber-based mats, you should try to find the one that has the thickets rubber base. The thicker the base, the more give the mat will have and the more it will imitate the feel of soil, rock and grass.
If you are looking for the very best driving mats, there are some high-end models that use a silicone base instead of rubber.
Like the dirt on the fairway, silicone is much less dense than rubber. The give and bounce it provides is much more realistic and it can give you a more authentic environment in which to perfect your shots.
Reasons why silicone mats are worth the added cost:
- They have a more natural feel than rubber-based mats
- The impact is less jarring
- Improvements in your game are more easily translated to the course
- Fitting Your Space
Criteria for choosing the best driving range mats, one of the criteria needs to be considered is the number of styles suitable for home and portable use.
One of the biggest factors in choosing a mat for your home should be the space you are putting it in.
In an ideal world, the mat should be wide enough that both of your feet are firmly planted while you are swinging.
This will put you on the same level as the ball and will give you a more authentic driving experience.
If you are practising in a small space, such as a fenced yard or large basement, you may want to limit the impact your practice range has on the space.
In these situations a smaller mat only wide enough to accommodate the tee will still provide you with an impact surface to practice your swing.
If you are trying to set up a practice range in an small space, you will probably have the best luck with a very small driving mat set close to a golf practice net.
This way, the ball will hit the net before it has the opportunity to stray from its path.
Choosing a driving mat is a personal decision that reflects your style and practice technique.
While many factors depend on your space and set-up, it is important to remember that the more natural the mat is, the easier it will be to translate your improvements to the course.
Read reviews of the best golf driving mats and see what other golfers recommend.