Finding the right golf mat for your practice sessions is very important. This is a product category where you truly get what you pay for. Hitting mats will vary greatly in their performance and durability based on their price, and this guide will help determine what are the right golf mats for your needs and budget.
Additionally, you want to make sure you are practicing properly with your new golf mat. In the second half of this article, I have included some creative ways to make sure your practice sessions are productive. Using a synthetic hitting surface isn't as real as a grass driving range, but there are ways to make sure you are getting proper feedback on your shots.
Also, here are a few other guides we have on the site if you are interested in pairing your golf mat with a simulator, net, or training aids:
Budget Golf Mats - Under $100
Golf is an expensive game and I know many of you reading this don't have an unlimited budget for your practice mat. There are a few options available at lower price points that can get the job done for you. There will be some tradeoffs, but these are reasonable pieces of turf.
Our Pick: Callaway Launch Zone Hitting Mat ($31)
I have had this mat from Callaway for almost three years now, and have hit thousands of balls off it. I'm shocked that for $30 it has held up as well as it has at this price point. The turf is reasonably good, and it absorbs impact from your swing nicely. Additionally, the material adheres to the ground so the mat does not slide out of position after your swing.
The only drawback is that the hitting area is quite small and you won't be standing level with the ball (it will be slightly above your feet). You could find another piece of material, such as a home welcome mat to stand on in order to level your stance. Other than that, you'll be hard-pressed to find a better value at this price level.
Option #2: Rukket Tri-Turf Golf Hitting Mat ($59)
This is another budget option that gives you a few different surfaces. The turf is decent quality, but a similar issue arises with the Callaway option that the ball will be elevated from your feet since this is not a larger mat. For $59, it is still a good deal if you are looking to simulate heavier lies in the rough.
Option #3: Emerald Par Golf Mat ($69)
If you want a golf mat large enough to stand on, but don't want to break the bank, then this option is probably your best bet for $69. The hitting surface measures 3' x 5' and for the price, it will perform fairly well for you. Some of the other picks in this article will have a more realistic turf and heavier materials that will hold up over time. That being said, this is a great entry-level option (it also includes a rubber tee).
Mid-Level Options - $100 - $400
When you get to the next level of mats you can expect a lot more quality. The mats will be heavier, feel more realistic, and hold up over time. There are a few options in the mid-level range that you should know about.
Our Pick: Country Club Elite Real Feel ($319)
This brand comes recommended from a few sources that I trust. The turf on this golf mat is much more realistic than our budget models, and it is a heavier-grade material. Additionally, you the surface can accommodate real tees. Here is a video to give a little more info:
I recommend getting the 4' x 4' model because it will allow you to hit all of your clubs (the smaller version will not accommodate your driver).
Option #2: Dura-Pro 4' x 5' ($212)
This is another quality option that is built from better materials. It has a thicker rubber backing that will absorb shock better than the budget picks, which will reduce stress on your wrists and give a more realistic strike. It also is quite large and will fit a golfer of just about any size allowing you to hit every club in your bag.
Premium Golf Mats - $500+
If you have the budget, then there are some even better options at higher price levels. This is reserved for golfers who want the absolute best material. It will last the longest, and provide the most realistic turf interaction. If you are planning on building a high-end golf simulator in your home, these are great options.
Our Pick: True Strike Hitting Mats ($739)
This is one of the leading brands in the industry. It is trusted by college teams, high-end driving ranges, and golf pros around the globe. This is a commercial grade material that will give you the most realistic feel of the golf course. As expected, you will pay significantly more. However, this is a product that will last a very long time and give you the best experience.
Option #2: Fiberbuilt Performance Mat
This is another commercial-grade option that carries a 300,000 shot guarantee. This is more geared towards high-end home systems that want the best golf mats.
How to Practice Effectively With Your New Mat
One of the main issues with golf mats, in general, is that they don't provide 100% realistic feedback. I want to give you a couple of drills that can help with that.
Conquering the Low Point of Your Swing
One issue that most golfers struggle with is how their golf club is interacting with the turf at impact. Many players strike the ground before the ball, which results in fat shots that don't travel very far. Unfortunately, golf mats will not give you this information and you can "cheat" your results.
What you really want is the low point of your swing arc to be after the golf ball. This is a great article that will explain why.
There are two drills that can help you with this, and I'll cite a couple of videos to demonstrate.
The first is using a towel behind your golf ball:
The next is to use a prop in front of the golf ball like a tee, or a business card:
Work on Impact Location
Many times if you are just hitting balls into a practice net you also will not be receiving any feedback on the quality of your strike. One great way to improve is to work on your impact location with your irons and driver.
It's quite simple - purchase a dry eraser pen or Dr. Scholls Odor X spray. You will either make a small marking on the back of your golf ball or spray the face. Start paying attention to your tendencies - are you striking the toe more, the heel, or all over the face?
Then start to challenge yourself to hit specific parts of the clubface (not just the sweet spot). You will be shocked on how this can enhance your ball striking ability, it's one of the best practice drills I recommend to golfers. If you are interested in taking things a step further, this is a great online course I recommend.
Wrapping it Up
Getting the right golf mat to work on your game at home is a great way to enhance your practice routine. Hopefully, by this point, you understand the differences between different price points and what you can expect.
More importantly, try some of the drills I mentioned. It will make your time more efficient, and I believe those drills will help you on the golf course.