Best Golf Mats
Let’s talk practice mats. True golfers need them. The problem is that it often feels as though good products are few and far between.
Sure, you can probably find a tiny cheapo option for fifteen bucks at your local sporting good stores, but there are plenty of reasons not to go that route. They won’t last long, they shed weird green synthetic fibers. In the worst case scenario, they can even cause injury.
You don’t want that. The good news is that you also don’t have to get it. There are good golf practice mats out there for every price range. Today we will highlight your options, and hook you up with some tips on how to buy the right mat.
Read on for a comprehensive guide on the best golf practice mats for your home setup.
We will now take a look at five of the best practice mats currently on the market for purchase.
- Fiberbuilt Practice Station (best golf mat for weatherproof setup)
- Country Club Elite (best golf mat for thousands shots)
- Rukket 3 in 1 Mat (best golf mat for affordability and quality)
- PGM3660 3′ x 5′ Emerald Par Golf Mat (best for budget minded buyers)
- Callaway Golf FT Launch Zone Hitting Mat (best golf mat compact and low profile)
Fiberbuilt is in the business of making synthetic greens and mats both for home stations, and for professional practice facilities.
They are serious about their stuff and it really shows in their flagship, single sided home station. The weatherproof setup is designed to stand the test of time, while producing accurate ball flights that closely mimic the experience of real grass.
Of course, you do pay for the quality. This is the most expensive mat that we will be looking at today, which means it may not be an option for people who are buying on a budget.
Still, the Fiberbuilt practice station does deliver in the department of quality. To give you a sense of how this mat earns its price tag, let’s now take a look at some of its key features.
A big selling point for the Fiberbuilt is how durable it is. The material has been made to withstand 300,000 shots before showing any symptom of damage.
Granted, that’s their claim – not a figure that we actually have the time to test out. Still, there is no denying that it is a sturdy mat. You don’t need to worry about a wayward swing splitting the materials here.
The size of their standard, one sided mat is 5X4 feet. With that amount of space you are going to have ample room to stand. You will also have the opportunity to move around a bit and approach your shots comfortably from multiple angles.
Last but not least the Fiberbuilt station features a contoured design that eliminates the awkward edges that you find on many commercial practice mats.
This unique configuration doesn’t really make the mat visually different than other options. It does however, give you the freedom to stand and strike anywhere on the product’s surface and still be comfortable.
One of the biggest hurdles for most people looking at the Fiberbuilt practice station is probably going to be the sticker price. If you can look past the cost though, there aren’t all that many problems that are worth noting.
One thing that we did zero in on is that the mat won’t take tees. You are stuck with the conventional rubber plug type tees that you see at a lot of driving ranges. This isn’t the end of the world—especially when you factor in that the majority of mats can’t take tees.
Still for the price it would be nice to be able to use real tees.
The Country Club Elite mat is a moderately priced product with a simple, but durable setup that will accommodate the needs of most golfers. Those looking for a mat fit to stand the test of time have a good option on their hands.
The price is probably going to keep true hackers from adding it to their home setup. However, dedicated weekend warriors that take their game seriously might want to pay attention.
Perhaps one of the best components of the Country Club Elite mat is that it is probably durable enough to outlive you. If you are looking for a practice station to bequest to your children, this might be it.
One of the factors that make this so is the sheer size of the mat. Practice stations that don’t allow for adequate room do get themselves into trouble because a fat downswing will probably collide with the foundation and do real damage.
Not a concern here. The station comes in two sizes (5X4, or 5X5) both of which allow ample room, for you and even your worst swing path.
The fibers themselves are also built to last. You should have no problem getting the mat to sustain many thousands of shots throughout the course of its lifetime.
The durability factor actually kind of takes the bite out of the price tag. Yeah, it is a little bit more expensive than low end models, but it will last much longer than they will.
Fiber Weaving Built for Tee Placement
One of the big downsides with many commercial mats is that you don’t get to use conventional tees. They just aren’t compatible. In the best-case scenario (we guess) you get this weird rubber plug thing serves as a pseudo tee.
The plugs are nonadjustable, and even good ones don’t respond at all like the real thing.
Then there are other options that just don’t have a way to tee the ball up at all.
The Country Club Elite mat stands out by featuring a unique synthetic weaving material that allows you to place a tee on any region that you would like.
Divot Action Technology
Obviously, you can’t actually take divots out on the mat. That would be a bad thing. However, the synthetic fiber weaving has been constructed with the intention of creating the feel of a divot.
The feedback is valuable for the obvious reason that it gives you a much more distinct perception of how you are contacting the turf.
With cheaper mats you get a “popping” sensation when you strike down on the ball. Not here. The experience of striking a shot on the Country Club elite mat is about as realistic as you can reasonably hope to get.
The biggest issue that we were able to find with the Country Club Elite was in the grabby nature of the fabric. This is actually an issue common to most commercial golf mats, but it is problematic for a couple of reasons.
For one thing, when the club gets snagged at the point of contact, your shots are going to react funny. The result will be a little like chopping out of deep rough, with just no telling where the ball will wind up.
Now obviously, when you are practicing at home your target is usually just a net located a few feet in front of you. Still, you do want to practice proper contact positions—otherwise you just won’t get everything that you can out of your practice sessions.
The other, bigger problem, is that grabby material can cause injury. As your club gets snagged in the weaving, your wrist or forearms undergo trauma that can cause lingering pain.
The good news is that not every style of swing is necessarily at risk of experiencing this problem. If you attack the ball with a sweeping motion, you probably aren’t going to get caught up. It’s people that really hit down on the ball that are going to run into regular problems.
Of course, with wedges where the motion is pretty much always to strike down on the ball, you are going to be at risk for issues almost every time you set up.
The Rukket 3 in 1 mat offers a good blend of affordability and quality. It’s about half the price of the Country Club Elite and might be enticing for buyers that need a fair price.
It is a good mat. The distinguishing factor, the “3 in 1” element comes in the form of three different materials to practice hitting from. The materials try to reproduce the sensations of fairway, rough, and tight lie grass.
Let’s now explore this affordable, unique mat a little bit as we take a look at its features.
Like the Country Club Elite, this mat is able to accept tees. The set comes with twelve plastic tees that are available at three different heights.
The variety of choices do cover your bases for the majority of typical teeing heights—iron shots, driving woods, and drivers.
We already talked about the turf options as we introduced the product, but they are worth re-iterating. The fairway and tight lie portions of the mat are good at producing that distinct, on the course feel. The clubhead does “pop up” a little bit upon contact, but for the most part the feedback is as good as you can reasonably expect from a commercial mat.
The “rough” section is a little bit, well. Rough. It’s hard to replicate the experience of long grass – a truth that is quite evident in the experience that you get with the Rukket.
The synthetic grass isn’t long enough to actually cover a ball, so you aren’t getting the precise experience of learning how to chop out of the thick stuff.
Instead, the material grabs at your clubhead, producing a peculiar feel that doesn’t reproduce course conditions. The practicing golfer would be much better served to drop a few balls on the lawn, and hope that their spouse doesn’t mind the divots.
Easy to Store
One final benefit is that this mat is remarkably easy to store. It folds into three different places so that can be readily packed away. A handy feature for people lacking garage space.
The main issue that we were able to identify through our encounters with the mat pertain to its size. The actual striking zone is very small, which means that you don’t have much room to work through club path extremes.
The primary problem is that the lack of room inhibits your ability to practice productively on straightening out your shot patterns.
The secondary problem is that if you do make the mistake of hitting too far behind the ball, you’re going to hit the rubber outer layer of the mat. This will result both in painful feedback, and the splitting of the mat material.
That in mind, there is also, of course, and additional issue of durability. The synthetic weaving itself is pretty sound. They say it’s built to last thousands of swings, and that does seem believable. However, if the rubber base gets torn up, the mat will become useless pretty quickly.
The PGM3660 is a reasonably priced practice station that provides golfers with ample room to work out the kinks in their swing. The 3X5 dimensions allow players to stand completely on the mat so that they can take an even stance, and the price point itself makes it an attractive option that even beginners might find approachable.
The setup does come with a few issues that are common to the price range, but for budget minded buyers it makes a good option.
Foam Grip Base
The base of the PGM3660 is fitted with a textured foam that grips into the surface beneath which it is placed.
The gripping base makes it so that the mat won’t slip around as you practice the way that really cheap stations do.
It’s kind of a neutral feature when you really break it down. After all, you probably wouldn’t even seriously consider a mat that slips around when you use it.
Still, in this price range, basic quality ensuring features are not necessarily a given.
You’re probably noticing that the key features on this mat aren’t quite as grand as the last few mats that we saw. Hey. That’s why its fourth on the list.
This mat does feature a slot for a rubber tee. Like most mats that take rubber tees, the spot is prefixed for a natural set up with a driver.
Unfortunately, the tee that comes with the mat isn’t sized for fairway woods or irons, but if you do want to practice teeing off with other long game clubs, you shouldn’t have much trouble finding compatible tees online.
Besides just being simple relative to the other options on the list, the biggest issue that we found with the PGM3660 is that it doesn’t wear quite as well as the other selections that we saw.
This is going to be especially true for golfers that strike down hard on the ball. Our finding was that over time, the mat foam beneath the fibers gets softer, and much less realistic.
Unfortunately, that is just the experience that you are going to find with most practice mats in this price range.
Otherwise it is a good product that gives beginners or budget buyers a low cost option for working out their nasty hook.
Finally, we have a product that comes straight from a true golf manufacturing giant. Callaway makes great clubs, and they also make a pretty decent golf mat. The “Launch Zone” hitting mat is as compact as it gets.
Small, affordable, and with more brand name recognition than any other mat on today’s list, the FT Launch Zone Hitting Mat is an easy way to add a low-profile hitting surface to your home setup.
One of the best things about this mat is also probably its biggest limitation. The setup is small enough to fit in your golf bag.
It has the length of a divot, which means its handy for a quick practice station in your yard, but it’s not the sort of tool you’d get if you were hoping for something that will stand the test of many thousands of shots.
Still, for buyers looking for something compact and low profile, there is truly no beating this option.
The Callaway FT Launch Zone station is the most affordable option on our list today. Granted, it does also give you the least amount of real-estate.
However, there is no denying the fact that it comes in at a price point that is as low as could be reasonably expected.
All of the issues that you will find here are a direct result of the size. For one thing, it moves around a lot when you hit it. Your average swing is probably going to shift it from the position it was originally in.
Granted, the mat itself is only the size of your average divot, so it isn’t very hard to replace, but the issue is aggravating over time.
Naturally, you also don’t have very much room for error either. If you hit your shot fat, it will collide with the base of the mat, and do damage over time.
Now that you know five of the top options, here are some things to keep in mind as you shop for mats.
One thing you may have noticed as we went through the list is that mats are available for just about every price range. Realistically, you can probably get a decent mat that will cost anywhere from $100-1000.
What does more money buy you? That ultimately depends on the specifics of the product of course, but the general assumption is that pricier options are going to be more realistic.
The benefits of realistic turf go without saying. The shots will respond better, and hopefully the entire mat itself will last longer.
If you have the budget for a sizable mat with enough room to stand, and synthetic material that will ring true to the conditions of the course, that’s certainly going to be the ideal. Otherwise, you may need to accept that your home practice sessions are missing some of the authenticity that you encounter at the range.
Naturally, durability is another thing to keep in mind. As you already know, golf clubs can do some real damage. Think about how scabby a fairway gets at the end of a busy season. The job of the practice mat is essentially to resist looking like that.
Good ones are going to be able to do this for a long time, but the eventual fate of every fiber weaving mat is to get torn to pieces. There is really no avoiding it, but there are mats out there that will be able to stave off their eventual defeat for longer than others.
A lot of the time, manufacturers will include an estimate for how long a mat will last before showing signs of wear. For example, the Fiberbuilt Station advertises that it can withstand over 300,000 shots before showing any damage.
Naturally, it is hard to say how accurately that will reflect your actual experience. The way that you make contact with the turf is going to be the true determining factor. Still, if a company does provide an estimate, it can be at least a decent indicator of what sort of experience you can expect to encounter.
Naturally, the more shots that the mat can withstand, the better. The right mat could easily last several years.
Let’s take the Fiberbuilt station as an example. Assuming that it actually can take 300,000 shots, that means you could hit a jumbo sized bucket of balls (about 150) every single day, for five years straight before you encountered wear and tear.
The more durable a mat is, the better the investment you are making.
You should also think about the size of your mat. Ideally, you want something that is big enough to stand on, with ample room for you to strike shots.
When mats aren’t big enough for you to stand on, it generally creates a small but noteworthy dissonance between the position of your feet, and the position of your ball.
Of course, bigger mats are going to cost more, but if you are more concerned with experience than budget, getting a sizable mat should be a no brainer.
As you saw with some of the options today, there are mats out there that will provide a variety of material consistencies. For example, the Rukket 3 in 1 features a fairway lie, a rough consistency, and the dreaded tight lie.
A little bit of diversity is certainly nice, but don’t get too sucked in to the promise of different feeling materials. Remember, that even really good mats don’t even completely mimic the experience of a fairway lie.
Chances are, even despite best intentions, they also aren’t going to perfect the feel of thick rough. If you want to experience different materials, that is fine. There is some value to that, but manage your expectations.
You will probably be better off with one really good material than you would be with three mediocre sections.
Generally speaking, you aren’t going to want to leave your mat exposed to the elements at all times. The majority of commercial mats will do much better indoors when not in use.
That being the case, it will be to your benefit to get something that is easy to transport and store. The Rukket is a good example of a mat that built with storage friendly features. It folds up so that it can be easily tucked away.
Ideally, you will be able to find something that won’t be a big hassle to put away at the end of a practice session.
One way or another, you are going to want to be able to tee up the ball when you use your practice mat. As we examined our list of top picks, we saw a couple different ways of facilitating this. Some mats use real tees. Others can take premeasured plastic options that resemble the real deal. Still others use the rubber kind that you find at driving ranges.
Granted, how you tee the ball up isn’t going to be the biggest factor in how you make your eventual decision. However, if you can get an authentic tee setup, that will certainly be to your benefit.
You should, however, make sure that the mat provides you with some method of practicing with the driver.
Last but not least, some mats come with, or are capable of accommodating accessories. Of course, the range of what you can expect to see is fairly limited. After all, we’re talking about a product whose only job is to pretend to be grass.
Still, you might find some of them useful. A bucket for carrying balls, or a ball trey that can grant you easy access to your next shot are both handy.
And of course, there also mats that can take rubber tees. As already mentioned, we do prefer setups that accommodate natural tees, but those aren’t common, so rubber tees can be a necessary accessory.
As you can see, there are lots of great options out there. The right golf mat is going to last a long time, help you improve your game, and of course, it won’t sprain your wrist.
Our pick for the top mat today was the Fiberbuilt practice station. The reasons are probably pretty clear. The materials are great, it looks good, and it performs really well.
You can’t ask for much more than that. But if you found the price tag to be a budget buster, there are more affordable options to pick from.
For example, the Rukket 3-1 mat, though not perfect is a quality budget friendly option to keep in mind.
Whatever the case, one thing is clear. Practice mats are a reliable way to improve your game. What are you waiting for? Try one today.