Get Our Free Ebook
Sign up for the newsletter and receive our free 30-page eBook on course strategy!
Practicing is a part of golf that almost any player can do at home. As such, MANY mats and training aids are now available. So much so that it's hard to find out what your money is worth and what isn't. In the past year, a new product, the Perfect Practice Putting Mat, has risen above the noise and social media has been taken by storm.
After meeting with the co-owners of the product at the PGA Show recently, I discovered a cool story about entrepreneurship. A few guys were sick of the poor quality of placing mats on Amazon, so they went looking for a product that addressed all their shortcomings. With the help of a smart social media strategy involving professional golfers, they now have one of the most coveted products to sell.
After having applied the perfect exercise mat for hours, I am impressed by its quality, challenge and addictive effect. In this review, I will discuss all the important functions and help you decide whether it is worth spending some extra money compared to other products out there.
It is not often that a putting product gets a lot of attention on social media. The only other brand that has recently been "puffed up" is PuttOut Golf.
If you are on Instagram, you may have seen a video of the Perfect Practice Putting Mat; that's how I first heard about the product. In the short time that it is out, they have managed to collect some nice testimonials from professional golfers. March Leishman, Vijay Singh, Charles Howell III, Lydia Ko, Joaquin Niemann and Jimmy Walker are some of the names that have come out with positive testimonials.
A collection of their public testimonials from tour players
As you know, tour validation is one of the most important selling points of just about any golf product. Usually it is through approval deals. When I visited the Perfect Practice booth at the PGA show, I asked co-founder Oren Kantor how they had managed to get all the testimonials from tour players. He told me it just went through a lot of crowds. They continued to reach pros to see if they wanted to try the product.
Smylie Kaufman was the first player to post a video to his 200,000 followers, and they managed to get it into the hands of other players. Oren said that all messages from tour players are unpaid and 100% authentic.
I can tell you what they have been able to do very well. Whatever small amount of fame this website has managed to get, I constantly receive offers from inventors of training products. I cannot imagine how often tourists are harassed. The fact that so many were willing to try the product, posted videos of themselves and enabled the company to use their testimonials publicly, speaks volumes.
The strategy succeeded fairly quickly. Since their launch in January 2019, they have been sold out several times, according to co-owner Ed Mileto. The person who receives the product, whether he is a pro or a regular golfer, seems to like to put it on and keeps spreading it.
My curiosity was a high point, so I just had to try it myself.
What I like about the mat
There are many subtle details to the Perfect Practice Putting Mat that make it a viable exercise tool. I will summarize the main functions that I noticed after having spent many hours on them.
Here is a short video of various putts, so you can see how it works when you make or miss putts:
The surface gives a real role
Perhaps the most crucial part of this product is the quality of the surface that they used. Compared to budget mats I have tried, the artificial grass on the Perfect Practice is of a much higher quality. You can expect a faster, more real throw, which is essential when you work on your stroke.
One thing you should know is that it takes about 24 hours for the mat to be flat. You can make that process a little faster if you use an iron (not the wave type).
Another thing that struck me is that it works well on a carpet or a hardwood floor. The material is quite thick and resistant to slipping, making it viable on multiple surfaces.
Although I would say that both surfaces give you relatively high speed, a hardwood surface will speed up the pace.
You must also know that there may be subtle pauses based on where you place it. On my carpet in the basement, depending on where I put it, there would be a small break in both directions, which frankly isn't so bad when it comes to practicing. You can probably expect that you get little or no break on hardwood, but that depends on your floors (not every floor is perfectly flat).
It is challenging and fun
My number two observation after hours of practice on the mat is the level of challenge that it offers. The combination of the higher speed together with the option to draw to a smaller hole increases the difficulty.
Years ago, when I had the SKLZ Accelerator mat
I eventually lost interest in using it because it became monotonous. The lack of speed made it easier to sink putts over and over again, and in the end I lost interest because there was no way to make it harder.
It doesn't matter which putter level you are, I think you will find it difficult to make many putts in succession, either on the conventional hole or on the smaller one.
For example, I had my wife (no golfer) try out 10-20 putts from the longest distance on the mat (about nine feet). She has only made a few. Because the surface is faster, you have a smaller margin of error on your starting line.
During my sessions on the mat I noticed that I was going back and forth between the larger and smaller holes, depending on the distance from where I came from. For whatever reason, when I tried to quit, I always got that & # 39; another putt & # 39; feeling – similar to an addictive game on your phone that is hard to place. In general, I think this is the strongest function of the product; it's fascinating and fun.
The Ball Retrieval Is Nice
I will confess; when it comes to practice, I can get lazy. Although I had set up a nice platform in my basement that looks like real green, I still invested in a small gadget that spits the ball back at me. For me, one of the best features of the Perfect Practice mat, no matter what putt I hit (short, in the hole or long missed), I was able to retrieve the ball within an arm's length from where I was standing.
Some of the other premium well mats that are available do not have a ball retrieval system or type or border. So when you practice on a hardwood floor and drop off the back of the mat, you walk your ball down the corridor. Or, once you've gone through your 3-6 balls of practice, you have to walk to the other side and pick them all up.
Other cheaper mats have a similar retrieval system as the Perfect Practice Mat, but they don't work as well, and you would set up a less realistic surface.
I think the combination of the collection system and the quality of the surface makes this product fairly unique in today's market. You can get both. If you have somewhere between 3-6 balls in the drawer, you can keep playing as long as you want without bending over and picking up a ball.
When you work on putts within 10 feet, your alignment and the ability to start the ball on your intended line become even more critical.
Like some of the other premium mats that exist, I think the Perfect Practice has some excellent design features. By marking the distances, along with the different alignment lines and edges, you can give more structure to what you are practicing.
I would recommend experimenting outside the lines as well. For example, I found it even more challenging to putt over the mat to the hole on the other side. So if my ball was on the left, I would aim at the smaller hole on the right, and vice versa. You challenge yourself to properly align yourself without the help of the lines.
Apart from the functionality, the appearance of the Perfect Practice Putting Mat is something else. What it looks like may not be that important to you, but it can also be for your other half.
The combination of the finished wood on the outside and the grass design on the turf makes it look much nicer than black plastic and the deep green that you find on budget mats. So if the mat is prominently displayed in your house or apartment, it will fit in the room a little nicer.
Again, this may not be an essential feature for some people, but after the product had been in my house for a few weeks, I noticed that it was less a breakthrough than some other products that I tried.
How I would use it
Practicing your 10 foot inside is very important. These are the distances at which golfers have a considerable chance to make putts.
I often bring up these statistics to give people perspective on moves and the difficulty:
Source: Mark Broadie
By using these percentages as a guideline, you can benchmark your progress. There are many different games that you can play to keep yourself involved and challenge yourself to build your put skills. Here are a few that you can try:
Place six balls about a foot apart. If you make the first putt, go to the next. Every time you miss, you have to start over. See if you can get the last putt. To add a challenge, you can continue with the smaller hole, or add to the number of putts you need to make at each station (2, 3 or 4 in a row).
A variation on this game is to slightly change the position of each ball to force yourself to re-align for the next putt (pictured below)
Choose a distance on the standard cup or the smaller one and see how many putts you can make in succession. Provide a ranking to keep track of your best scores from every distance.
Variations that you can do to challenge your alignment and line
Is it worth the price?
Like most of the reviews I do about premium products, the question always arises: & # 39; Is this thing worth the money? & # 39;
Coincidentally, one of my friends randomly sent me this text message a few days before I got the message.
Let's get straight to the point! But who is Matt?
The Perfect Practice Putting Mat sells for $ 150 on their website. They have given me a code for Practical Golf readers, so you can get a 10% discount with code PRACTICAL10 at checkout to help a little with the costs.
But $ 135 or $ 150 for a putting mat is not exactly cheap. There are numerous products on Amazon for $ 40 – $ 70 that have similar functions. Those mats were the inspiration for this product and I believe they have made a better version.
Although I cannot justify all your budgets, I think that if you invest the extra money, you will get a better overall experience. My premonition is that you can practice more effectively, but more importantly, you stay more involved and use it longer. If your goal is to improve your putting at home, investing a little more may be worth it. That does not mean that the budget mats are completely worthless; this is just a better mousetrap.
There are also some other considerations of other premium mats. There are many mats with comparable quality turf in the region of $ 80 – $ 100. But some have no real hole or a ball refund. I think the most important considerations are the ball return element and have a "safety net" for your putts. If you don't feel like walking to the other side of the mat to pick up your balls, or if you lay on a hard surface and don't want to chase a golf ball down the hall, the extra money investing may be worth it for you.
In general, I think the Perfect Practice mat combines many of the features that some competitors lack in one product. You pay more for it, but I suspect that this is the main reason why this product has become so popular lately.
You can purchase the Perfect Practice Putting Mat here on their website. When using code PRACTICAL10 you get a 10% discount.
They have also just announced pre-orders for their Compact Edition here. A larger version of approximately 14 feet is also en route.