Putting is an essential part of golf, but it’s still quite hard to master. The best way to practice putting is by practicing it on a putting green. Unfortunately, some people don’t have access to one at home, or if they do, the green gets damaged easily. That’s why buying and using a putting mat is an option that many people are using as an alternative. But are putting mats any good? Will they really help your golf game?
What is a Putting Mat?
An indoor putting mat is a piece of sports equipment and training aid used by golfers to aid in the making of a putt. The player places the ball at one end of the mat and attempts to putt it into a golf cup at the other end of the mat (using their putter of choice). Some putt mats have markings on them that can help you aim your putt and gauge the accuracy.
Some putting mats have a raised section at the end where the hole/ golf cup is. This is something that baffles a lot of people, as they seem to have no idea why this is 🙂
These slopes were first intended to help the golfer to hit with a firm stroke, as well as to allow the golf ball to be easily returned to the golfer for a re-hit. These days, the golf mat technology has changed this. You can now buy a golf mat with a variable slope and camber rate, so that you can practice all types of putting scenarios.
9 Benefits of Putting Mats?
1. Practice Any Time
Let’s face it, practicing your putting at night or in adverse weather situations can be tricky and highly undesirable for the golfer. With a putting mat, you can practise at all times and in all weather conditions.
2. Regular Practice
The way that I like to use a putting mat is to do a ten to fifteen minute putting practise before going to bed. With a putting mat, this is very easy to do at home, meaning I am much more likely to follow through and do it every day. If I had to go to a real golf course every day or use an outdoor practice setup in my garden, I am much less likely to follow through (in my opinion).
3. Building Confidence
With the ability to practice on a regular basis in your home, you will quickly find that your confidence to hit putts will greatly increase. Those tricky eight to ten-foot putts will seem much more achievable with all the practise you have been doing. Golf is all about repetition and muscle memory, something that is easy to achieve using a putting mat on a regular basis.
4. Better Alignment
Most good quality putting mats will come with various markings to help with the alignment of yourt putting swing and follow through. This can be as simple as a white line that goes up the middle of the putting mat.
This white line will also show you if you have hit the golf ball in the direction you intended.
5. Better Roll Resistance
Roll resistance of the typical green is very different from the typical flooring in your household. For example, your ball will roll much faster on wood flooring and much slower on pile carpet. By using a putting mat, you can make sure to get a ball rolling speed much more in line with what you would see on a real course.
6. Distance Control
One of the toughest parts of putting is the distance control element (not over or under hitting). If you have the appropriate putting mat, you should find that this side of your game will get much better with consistent daily putting drills on it.
7. Protect Your Floor
By using a putting mat, you will also be protecting the flooring in your home. Golf balls and golf clubs are hard, meaning it is pretty easy to damage your floor when using them on there directly.
8. Gamify Your Practice
With putting mats such as the Putterball range, you will get to turn your golf practice into more of a game. This will make it much more interesting for you to practice putting and you may even start doing it with friends or family members. If you enjoy games, this will help you increase your level of putting practice in a fun way.
9. Pandemic Proof
At the time of writing, we have just gone through a global pandemic when all golf courses and driving ranges were closed for extended periods of time. With a golfing mat, I could still practise daily and keep my golf game in good shape. This is not only helpful for pandemics, but any situation where golf courses are closed.
3 Downsides of Putting Mats?
1. Not Using Ramps Correctly
One of the biggest problems I see is golfers using putting mats with a ramp or uphill slope built in and not knowing how to use properly. They will get in the habit of hitting their putts too hard and will overshoot their putts way too much when on a real course.
Either buy a mat without a slope or buy one which has an adjustable slope, so you can also strike your putts flat.
2. Some are Too Busy!!
Some of the putting mats will leave your head spinning will all the different lines and targets etc. they place on them. In my opinion, this will do more to distract the golfer than become an aid. Golf is a mental game, leading a lot of golfers to over think what they are doing. A golf mat with so many lines and angles will not be good for the psychological part of your game.
3. Roll Resistance
When buying a putting matt a lot of people don’t think about the rolling resistance. They then end up with a putting mat which varies widely in putting speed to what they are used to on the real courses they visit. This will lead to putting over and under striking when out on these courses, so make sure to bear the rolling resistance in mind when buying a putting mat.
Are Putting Mats a Good Idea for Golfers?
Yes, as long as you buy a good quality mat with the correct rolling resistance, you will find that the increased access to putting practice will greatly help your confidence and accuracy when putting. Most people see a significant improvement in their putting stroke after extended use of a mat.
I watched a video on YouTube recently in which Bryson DeChambeau showed ‘two weeks on tour’. During this video, Bryson had an indoor putting contest with some of his buddies. You can see that Bryson has several putting mats in his house during this video. If putting mats are good enough for one of the best golfers in the world, they are certainly good enough for little old me :)https://www.youtube.com/embed/FxHuYqqMcGE?showinfo=0
Which Putting Mat is Best for Me?
When Buying a Putting Mat….
…think about rolling speed
As stated above, when buying a putting mat, please pay attention to the rolling speed of the mat compared to what you usually experience with the real golf courses you visit. This will make sure that you don’t get into bad habits over or under hitting your putts.
….think about slopes or ramps
If you buy a putting mat that has a ramp, it is better if that ramp is adjustable. As with the rolling speed, if you get used to always hitting putts up an incline that is not present on a real course, you will end up over hitting all of your putts.
…..think about the amount of lines
Don’t buy something with a million and one lines and targets on it! You will end up being one of those golfers that overthinks everything and actually gets worse!! A set of simple white lines is more than enough for any golf mat, trust me.
……where to store your golf mat
Think about the size of any golf mat you want to buy and how you will store it when not in use. Maybe you have a massive mansion and can permanently set up your golf mat somewhere where it doesn’t need to be stored. In this situation, you wouldn’t have to worry about whether the mat is foldable or easily stored. However, if you live in a small apartment or house, these are factors you need to consider very carefully!
…..think about the quality
It may be tempting to go for something cheap and cheerful on Amazon, but something like this will probably be low quality in nature. The way your golf balls roll and react on such a mat would probably be vastly different from on a real golf course. Golf is a game which is all about feel, so buying something of high quality will make sure that the feel you get from the mat is as close to real golf as possible!
Also, you will be using this mat daily (hopefully!). You don’t want it to wear out in a couple of months, requiring you to buy a new one! And it should give you a consistent and true roll of the golf ball every time!
These are my current 4 favorite putting mats:
Simply click on the image of the product to view it for yourself over at Amazon.
True Birdie 10 Foot Putting Mat
The True Birdie putting mat is a great choice for something simple and affordable. It has a simple alignment graphic in the ball striking area and a distance guide on the side. This would be more than enough for most golfers, making sure you are not overloaded with guides and information. It can also be rolled up and placed in the bag provided, making it easy to store when not in use.
BOBURN Golf Putting Green
This mat from Boburn is for those with a little more space to burn, as it is bigger than the average putting matt. However, if you have the space, this putting mat is such high quality it almost feels like a mini green all of your own. If there was a perfect putting mat for me, this would be it!
Yes, you will pay a bit more for that quality, but you will get one of the best feeling and rolling golf mats around. And I like how it is totally realistic and gimmick free, as it doesn’t have any guidance lines etc. on it. Be aware that this mat will be tricky to store, so lends itself better to permanent placement.
PROADVANCED ProInfinity Putting Mat
If you like doing a variation of drills within your putting practice, this might be the mat for you. It comes with a wide variety of accessories that enable you to change things such as the slope of the hole and the camber of the putting surface. This will enable you to setup all kinds of different putting scenarios whilst you practice.
Another feature I love is the fabric wiper that can help this mat have four different green speeds, helping it match the type of speeds you usually play or want to practice.
Finally, if you want to gamify your putting practice, this could be the putting mat for you, as it comes with an accompanying booklet that details several games you can set up with the accessories provided.
Chirrp Putting System
As you can imagine in this day and age, technology is becoming an increasingly used part of these putting mats. With the Chirrp system, you have a set of infra-red sensors connected to a smartphone app (both Android or iOS), that enables you to record your putting accuracy scores and even play competitive games with others.
This system also has built in practice sequences, such as the 30 day practice mode, giving your practice sessions structure and variation. When you don’t have access to a putting coach, this is a good (and much cheaper) alternative.
There you have it! When used properly, these mats offer the perfect practice tools for any avid golfer! Of course, a real green is always preferred, but nothing beats the convenience of the indoor golf practice a mat provides.