If you’re like me, you need to practice your putting mat……. A lot…… I mean take the time you want to practice each month, multiply it by 10, then add 10 hours to that. Let’s face it, of all the skills in the game of golf, putting is something many of us amateurs tend to practice the least. When was the last time you heard people at the course talking about “Man I spent 5 hours last week on my putting, and I just can’t get enough!” The putter is hit more times in a single round than any other club yet we have this avoidance affair with it. We’ll smash the driver for hours on the range, look at the watch, and give 5 minutes to put it on.
I’m guilty of this myself. As someone who knows I need to practice my putting more, it’s just not that much fun. It’s also not very convenient for me. The closest course to my home is 25 minutes away. 50 minutes in the car is a large commitment for me just to practice putting in several days per week.
So given my goal of scratch golf, my knowledge of statistics, and my passion for improvement, I started looking into “at home” putting training aids. I searched around on the internet for everything from putting mats, auto-return systems, and DIY putting platform building guides.
I liked a few of the products just fine and was narrowing down my options to a few of the mats. I know several had great reviews and even skill-type games you can play, but I just couldn’t get over not having the ball fall into a cup. There is something satisfying about seeing the golf ball fall into a hole and disappear. So I started to plan out a platform build. I had the specs and was all set to go to the store and spend a few days knocking it out.
Literally, the night before I was going to go to the store, I stumbled upon a page on Instagram called “Perfect Practice Golf” and saw they are putting mat. They had a giveaway contest going on for the PGA Championship so I threw my name in for the drawing. I decided to wait and see if I got lucky before I built my platform and (wouldn’t you know it!) I won! So I decided to hold off on building a platform to see if this thing was any good.
Their Instagram page showed quite a few PGA Tour players (e.g., Tony Finau, Marc Leishman, Smiley Kaufman, see their quotes below) who were using their putting mat so I figured it would be good enough for me.
Quality and features
When it arrived, the first thing I noticed was that the actual putting carpet was top-notch. I’m sure you’ve all seen the putting mats you can buy at the big box stores and the carpet they come with looks like something that is made out of cardboard. You have to lay encyclopedias on it and even then you may have some creases, it never lays flat, etc. Straight out of the box, this thing unrolled and lay flat. You could literally start putting on it right out the box!
The actual material feels a lot like velour (that’s the best way I can describe it although it is not a perfect description). They call it “crystal velvet,” but all I know is it is a very pure rolling surface. A plus is that you can vacuum it as well.
On that mat, you’ll find printed markings for every foot and smaller marks for every inch (it looks like a giant ruler). You also have two alignment lines (one for the regular-sized hole and one for the mini-hole). As a golfer who struggles with “seeing the line” over my putts, the alignment line really helps.
The mat also features an incline up to the holes, to ensure a confident stroke and to assist with the gravity-fed ball return system. In their first version, the base and return ramp was made out of plastic. It had a good weight to it and I had no complaints. On their newest model, they made some upgrades to the base material. Namely, it is now made of wood instead of plastic, there is an insert-able backstop to catch putts hit with too much gusto, extra space behind the holes to catch balls, and the return ramp has magnets to connect the pieces. Each of these upgrades adds a much more “high quality” feel to the overall product. They did not change the crystal velvet putting surface, and in my opinion, they didn’t need to. It’s great as is.
With the original version, my kids had a tendency to hit the ball past the holes and off the mat. They were more than happy to chase the balls down the hallway, but it was a bit of an oversight in the original design. This has been fixed in the newest version. It would take a freaking missile launch of a putt to blast it off the mat now.
For the price, I’d be hard-pressed to find a better putting training aid. At just over $100, you get a high-quality putting surface and the mental boost of seeing a ball fall into a hole over and over and over again. You can roll it up, stick it under your bed, and put it every single day, rain or shine, all from the comfort of your home.
This thing rolls fast and true. They claim it rolls up to a 14 on the stamp if you put it on hard floors (think wood floors or concrete), and you can slow it down by putting it on the carpet. When I put it on my bedroom carpet, it is noticeably slower than when it is on the tile floor.
If I were to have a critique, it would be that I wish the mat were just about a 1/4 inch thicker. I have a tile floor in my home and carpet in the bedrooms. When putting on the tile floor, you can get a bump here or there (due to the gaps in the tiles and grout). I fixed this by using some runner rugs we have in the hallway and I typically just put them under the mat. I can’t be too critical, because I know that adding more thickness would increase the price, add to shipping, etc. Overall it is a solid putting mat well worth the price. I have hit hundreds of putts on the original model and the newest model and have yet to notice any depressions or grooves in the surface. I know this is a concern for any putting mat, but so far so good on this one.
Performance on the course
For the first few weeks that I had the original Perfect Practice Golf putting mat, I couldn’t get enough of it. My kids and I would spend hours throughout the day hitting 4 footers, 6 footers, 8 footers, etc. We even came up with a trick shot and had a blast doing it.
Read more: A Comfortable Yoga Practice With Yoga Mats