Feb 20, 2023
POSTED BY: Nicholas Venditti

Is it Better to Practice Golf on Mats or Grass?

Ah, yes, it’s the age-old question that’s crept into the minds of numerous golf players - amateur and veteran. The answer might not be as apparent as you’d first think. Indeed, various factors come into play here; choosing between grass and a golf mat for your practice isn’t as simple as the flip of a coin. 

Luckily, we're here to help! We'll take you through everything you need to know about golf mats and how they compare to grass, including their many advantages and disadvantages. By the end, you'll feel confident enough to make an informed decision. Let's start with some basics!

What's the Difference between Mats and Grass?

The predominant difference between golf mats and grass is that golf mats act as simulators. What does that mean? They effectively provide opportunities to practice whenever you can't get to the course or only want to drill a specific part of your game - such as your swing or shot height.

Another significant difference, of course, is texture. A golf mat will always feel different from the real thing, no matter how high-end the brand may be. This difference poses some benefits and challenges in equal measure. Let's swing you through some of them. Ready?

Golf Mat Advantages

Despite the significant debate surrounding mats and grass when it comes to practicing your swing, there are certain advantages to using a golf mat. To make the most of your mat, you need to know what you should expect. Let's walk you through some of the key benefits. 

Consistency - Every Time

Unlike the unpredictable nature of the golf course, with your mat, you know what you're dealing with every single time. It isn't affected by inclement weather or differing landscapes; your mat stays the same no matter what. This predictability offers consistency on every swing, allowing you to refine your practice repeatedly - without interruption. You won't get an opportunity like that on grass, although you’ll find community taking either route.

Practice Drills Without Moving

Out on the course, you’ve got to change your location after every shot. Whether retrieving a ball or adjusting your position to accommodate the landscape, you're always on the move! With a golf mat, you can stay put and complete repeated drills without interruption. This steadiness provides more practice time, ultimately benefiting your overall game.

Practice Your Swing (Almost!) Anywhere

The only time you’ll have the opportunity to practice on live grass will likely be when you're out on the course; this isn't always practical or possible. However, with a golf mat, you can practice drills whenever and wherever you’d like - within reason, of course! Your backyard, the driving range, a net in your garage: the world is your golf course when you own a golfing mat! Sure, it'll be a different experience from playing out on the course, but it breathes versatility into your practice, which could significantly improve your performance.

Encouraging and Motivating

Ultimately, using a golf mat is meant to make your swings easier and your performance more refined. If you’ve been struggling with a particular swing or want to try a new technique, golf mats provide the perfect opportunity anytime, any place. This confidence can make you feel more courageous to try out new skills on the course!

Golf Mat Disadvantages

However, it's important to remember that golf mats aren’t all sunshine and rainbows. They do have certain downsides, and we’d be giving you an unfair comparison if we didn't walk you through them. 

Tougher on You and Your Clubs

Mats are generally much tougher, texture-wise, than grass. This toughness means placing more force on your joints with each swing, which could result in aches and pains over time. There's a particularly heightened risk of repetitive strain injury or tendonitis following prolonged use of a golf mat, so be careful when planning your training length. These mats are helpful resources, but just like with any sport, it's always possible to overdo it!

More Forgiving

As we mentioned before, you may notice an improvement in your game once you utilize a golf mat. Part of this could be due to all that extra practice, but it could also be due to your mat giving you a little extra help with each shot. On grass, hitting the ball fat will result in it sinking into the ground. On a mat, your ball will bounce back against the club, and you may accidentally develop bad habits. If you’re not mindful, this guide could become misleading. 

Can Affect Your Shot Flight

In the same way that differences on the course can affect your ball’s flight, so too can differences on your golf mat. If you get used to your particular practice mat, you may develop habits that only work well for your specific mat. Indeed, your ball flight may not synchronize with your course swings, potentially harming your overall game. 

Provides Less Feedback Than Grass

Grass provides excellent feedback levels on your swing. The texture of the ground against your club offers a solid idea of how your swing could play out - or not. Unfortunately, you don't get this same feedback on a golfing mat. While a smoother surface certainly has its benefits for practicing, it isn't as helpful for feedback. So, how could you mitigate this problem? We recommend paying close attention to your swing on a golf mat. You’ll want to keep your eye on the ball - literally!

Should I Practice Golf on Mats or Grass?

Truthfully, it’s up to your personal preference, but we recommend practicing on both. As we’ve just evaluated, there are pros and cons to using practice mats instead of grass. The most significant benefit of golfing mats is their versatility. You can practice anywhere, and despite the reduced feedback, they’re still incredibly valuable resources for honing your skill - especially as a beginner just hitting their golf stride. Indeed, getting out onto the course and practicing on grass isn't always possible or practical. Mats offer the opportunity to develop your skills anywhere - a garage, a hotel room, or your backyard.

Frequently Asked Questions

How Similar are Golf Mats to Grass?

Good question! It depends on the brand type and feel. Some will try to replicate the feeling of the golf course almost identically, whereas others will take an entirely different approach. Are you trying to improve your performance or practice recreationally? This answer will ultimately affect your mat purchase. 

Why Can I Hit Off Mats but Not Grass?

There could be several reasons why you have more luck on mats than on the course, but the most likely is the different surface. Golf mats are far more forgiving than grass. Overcome this by trying a more realistic mat - or make time to get out on the course where you can. 

Can Golf Mats Negatively Impact Your Performance?

Too much practice isn't always a good thing, especially with a particularly deceptive golf mat. It’s possible that you could develop bad habits if you only ever practice on a mat rather than getting out onto the course. Remember, mats can be a beneficial resource, but nothing beats getting out on the green. Balance is key!

Shop Stitch Golf to Always Look Great – Even While Practicing

No matter where you stand on the use of golf mats, there's no denying that they have a solidified place in the golfing world. There’s something to be said for their unique portability! For all your other golfing needs, there's Stitch Golf. Our full collection features everything you need, from apparel to umbrellas to travel bags. Take a look, and we’ll see you out on the green!