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Good on the mats; not-so good on the course.


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I've taken lessons every other week for the last few weeks, and I've been working on the tips my instructor gives me most weekdays in between.   I then play with my regular golf buddies every Sat. and/or Sun.   The range at my club is closed Mondays, then hits off mats Tues. - Fri., then on grass Sat. and Sun.   The last 2 to 3 weeks I've been hitting my irons pretty darn well off the mats during the week, but then I get on grass on the weekends - both on the range and on the course - and I don't hit them nearly as well (if fact, not well at all).     Is this a common phenomenon or am I just a weirdo?     If it's common, is there a reason for this?     Thanks.

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Hitting off mats can mask mishits tremendously. Especially hitting "fat".  A small miss on a mat you won't notice but on the turf it will magnify.  

Sometimes it's just nerves too , especially if you are working on a bunch of different things and anxious to try them out on the course.    This is very common for beginners too , they alway

Golf is played on grass not on mats Hitting off  of mats is a wonderful way of developing and exacerbating wrist/ forearm/ shoulder injuries 

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Mats are horrible to practice on but most ranges will have them to keep from having to replace turf after a lot of wear and tear. Like others have said, a fat shot will probably be a chunk shot on grass so keep this in mind. You still have to put good contact on it either way. 

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As noted above, if you come in too shallow a mat will mask it and the shots will be good.  On grass you hit it fat as the club digs.   I'm guessing you bad shots on the course are fat and it not a topping thing or direction?  It's could also be the varied lies well.

 

If your stuck hitting off mats try laying a tee down behind the ball when hitting . If you miss the tee but hit a good ball you're doing well.  There's also a thing called and accustrike golf mat.  It shows where the club made impact.  Reviews are pretty good.  

 

 

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Sometimes it's just nerves too , especially if you are working on a bunch of different things and anxious to try them out on the course. 

 

This is very common for beginners too , they always are worse on the course than the range. This was a problem for me my first couple of years playing golf

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Grass is very different. Assume your AoA is a solid -5 on a perfectly flat and level mat, on a real downhill lie which is almost imperceptible (-2,-3), it could only be something like -1 . If you theoretically swing exactly the same you will find hitting irons off grass very very difficult and that's before you factor in sidehill and downhill lies and how far into the grass the ball is sitting etc and how much your shoes lift you off mat vs grass. You might even be standing on a flat lie but the ball is on a tiny mound.

 

Mats also mask fats very well.

 

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Mats should be outlawed.   I've mentioned before that I started playing golf on a short PAR3 course with mats.  It was $3 for 9 holes so I played a lot.  Fairly quickly (within a year or so) if I didn't finish 9 holes under PAR it was a bad round.

 

Moved to grass/golf course and it was fat city.  So scared of hitting it fat I couldn't hit a shot if you held a gun to my head.  Mats probably ruined my chances of being a touring pro (JK).

 

Now if I'm forced to hit off a mat I always put a towel down or spray foot powder to see where I'm striking the mat.

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22 hours ago, Gsea said:

Hitting off mats can mask mishits tremendously. Especially hitting "fat".  A small miss on a mat you won't notice but on the turf it will magnify.  

 

Agreed.

Using a grass range near me has made a huge difference this year. Unless you’re very lucky you’ll still have times where you have to use a mat, in which case I try to hit it as clean as possible, on the verge of a thin. Better for the wrists as well 

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yeah, try not to extrapolate off of mats. They can ruin your swing.  

 

For me, I can get "into a rhythm" when hitting off a mat, but put me on a course and stuff starts going through my head, I get rushed, and make a bad swing.  If I just relax, don't rush the transition, and try to swing "easy" then I make a good shot.  I didn't have this issue growing up but it has been a problem since I started playing again. Try and play more if you can; that is what I am doing! 

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Gave up range because it caused issues with iron play especially.

If possible just play on a course for practice - 9 holes or even less & if you can go at a non busy time play 2 balls.

I used to play at a course that had a couple of practice holes, a short and long one you could book for an hour.

Currently my course has a (hidden) practice area that you can use if free.

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15 hours ago, NotThatGuyorAmI? said:

But...aren’t most of the fantastic launch monitor numbers people put up here, and the fancy fittings, done on mats?

 

Most people don't have access to an outdoor range with Trackman, so yes launch monitor numbers generally come from indoor settings on mats.

 

And fancy fittings kind of implies something indoors. You are using tech to try to simulate the outdoors. Fancy does not mean best. Maybe with a putter indoors and fancy could get you a great fit, but anything with turf interaction, like irons and especially wedges should really be done or at least confirmed outdoors on real grass. 

 

 

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Thanks for all the responses.   I'm already paying a bunch of money for monthly club dues, so I don't see also paying a bunch more money to practice at a separate range.   Follow-up question:   The range at my club has two surfaces at each spot - one that is very short, hard turf like what I see at most ranges; and another that has longer, "shaggier" turf and an overall softer feel  (see picture).     Would I be better off hitting my iron shots off this softer turf better mimic actual grass?     Thanks.

IMG_2546.jpeg

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47 minutes ago, Brenkj said:

Thanks for all the responses.   I'm already paying a bunch of money for monthly club dues, so I don't see also paying a bunch more money to practice at a separate range.   Follow-up question:   The range at my club has two surfaces at each spot - one that is very short, hard turf like what I see at most ranges; and another that has longer, "shaggier" turf and an overall softer feel  (see picture).     Would I be better off hitting my iron shots off this softer turf better mimic actual grass?     Thanks.

IMG_2546.jpeg

 

I do the opposite. The shaggier stuff is further away the short is what you stand on not even sure I’m supposed to hit off it..

 

the shaggier stuff is just fluffing the lie up it’s not offering any resistance. You should be able to tell if it’s heavy off the tighter surface. I could be wrong 

Edited by milesgiles

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I used to play on a range that used exactly that mat. Neither surface solves the problem. What you can do is look up some videos for ball first contact. You can put something a couple inches behind your ball, like a business card or thin towel or broken tee, and practice avoiding touching it behind your ball off the mat. Other people suggest putting broken tee pieces several inches in front of your ball to make sure you are hitting down past the ball.

Still not as good as grass and divot analysis. The range mat could also hurt your wrists if you have a downward angle of attack as you should.

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