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PGA Tour Indoor and Outdoor Putting Mat
When it comes to indoor sports, the choice is somewhat limited. Unless you fancy breaking a few windows or destroying your collection of priceless ornaments then you are limited to the pseudo-sports; pool, darts, table tennis, tiddlywinks - the list is short. Golf is another sport you would probably chalk down as an outdoor-only activity, and you'd be right, unless of course you limit the game to putting.
I've always been a fan of golf but when it comes to playing the game, I'm more Tiger Lily than Tiger Woods. I'm not one of those people who goes to a golf course with their own set of clubs; instead I just accept whatever iron sticks are kept behind the 'kiosk' since they are more than sufficient for my 'swing and hope' approach. To be honest, my putting is not the only thing wrong with my game but I thought by practising this I could at least be less of a halfwit when I next strode out onto a golf course. So when I came across the PGA Tour indoor putting mat at Argos for around £20 I thought I would treat myself.
=== In the Box ===
The putting mat comprises of a green felt mat which unravels from a raised up plastic ramp. On the plateau of this ramp is a regulation-sized hole (or cup) surrounded by two hollowed out dips to resemble a sand bunker and a water trap (no actual sand or water necessary). The cup comes complete with a miniature plastic flag with the PGA Tour logo printed on which I think is a very nice touch and adds a bit of realism to the product.
The bunker and water trap are beige and blue respectively and connect, along with the cup, to a ball return system. When a golf ball goes in either of the two hazards or the cup it will run underneath the platform and, using gravity, roll down the side of the mat by a few feet. A plastic gutter-shaped attachment fixes to the side of the mat next to the return chute providing a smooth channel for the ball to roll along. I really like this feature because I am able to collect my golf balls using my putter as a fetching stick and don't have to walk back and forth all the time.
Unfortunately, the putting mat comes with neither a golf putter nor any golf balls so you will need to fork out extra expense before you can start putting if you don't already have said equipment. I picked up a cheap putter for around £8 and a pack of 6 golf balls for £2 from a local sporting goods store.
=== Putting it to the Test ===
The idea is to place your golf ball on the end of the mat and putt up the ramp and (hopefully) into the cup (a distance of 6 feet). The ramp helps you practice the firmness of your putting but I find this feature more annoying than helpful in all honesty. On many occasions I have found that my putt is heading towards the middle of the cup like an arrow only to run out of steam and trickle back down the ramp. Cue some choice words expressing my disapproval and the overcompensation on the following putt resulting in the ball flying off the back of the ramp and into the far wall.
However, with practice the 6 foot distance limited by the length of the mat becomes a bit tame so I decided to become a bit more adventurous and extend the putting distance to around 20 feet. I start from across the room and putt the ball across the carpet before it rolls onto the mat and ultimately up the ramp towards the cup. I find the golf ball rolls smoothly onto the mat where the end of the mat meets the carpet and there are no issues with the ball bumping at this join.
Of course, a carpet is necessary for this so if you have a hard flooring in your golfing room then you will be limited to putting from the mat unless you can find some additional felt to fashion your own extension to the mat. I have never used this mat outdoors but you would obviously need dry weather and a flat surface if you wanted to do so.
I really like the putting mat and it has provided me and my family/friends with a great game for those rainy days. Our favourite game is to have a penalty shoot-out scenario where we compete to get the most holes in one from 6 shots (using the 6 golf balls I have). A winning score is usually around three so it's fair to say that we won't be winning wildcard entries to the Ryder Cup anytime soon. Despite our collective lack of skill it is still an entertaining way to pass a few minutes fuelled by our competitive spirit and propensity to provide unsupportive ridicule whenever a shot is mishit.
I find that the felt mat mimics grass quite well and the golf balls roll as they would on the green of an actual golf course. The mat rolls up neatly when not in use allowing me to store it in the corner of the room out of the way. It is incredibly quick to set up again and so the effort of organising a game or a quick practice session is not prohibitive.
One small issue I have with the putting mat is the soft plastic around the ramp. This is a little weak and has split in parts where clumsy people have accidentally kicked it when walking past. This hasn't affected the performance in any way but it does look a little less attractive as a result. Stronger plastic providing a more rigid structure would have been better here and it is a shame this is not the case given the price I paid.
=== Verdict ===
I really like the design of the mat and the addition of an imitation sand bunker and water trap are very nice features indeed. I do find having to putt balls up the ramp slightly annoying at times but it does not detract from the overall experience. The satisfaction of plopping one in the cup is a great feeling and I have to prevent myself from punching my putter into the air in celebration and taking out a lightshade in the process.
If you have an interest in golf and want to practice your putting then I would highly recommend this product as it is a very effective way to hone your skills without needing to go down to the local putting green. Even if you are not too serious about becoming the next Nick Faldo then you can still have great fun either on your own or with your friends and family. All you need is a cheap putter and a set of golf balls and the entertainment potential is great. It is quite addictive and I often find myself trying to beat my personal record of number of cups made in ten shots whenever I have a few spare moments.
You can buy the PGA Tour indoor/outdoor putting mat from amazon.co.uk for £22.94 (at the time of writing) and you should be able to find a cheap putter and set of golf balls from any sporting goods store for around £10-15 collectively if necessary. The mat is admittedly a little pricey at over £20 but I have got a huge amount of use and fun out it which makes this a more than worthwhile purchase for me. If it looks like fun to you now then I promise you it will be even more fun in practice!
Thanks for reading :)
Many golfers insist that putting is the most difficult part of the game - the art of striking a ball at the correct pace and direction into a small hole can be a frightening prospect. So what better what way to practice than invest in an indoor putting matt, and putt away to your heart's desire from the comfort of your own home. There are many, many, devices which allow you to improve your golf game, and today i'm testing the 'PGA Indoor and Outdoor Putting Matt' which is widely available to buy online. Although it has a recommended retail price of £39.99, the putting matt can currently be purchased for £14.99 from amazon.co.uk - bargain!
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Measuring around two metres in length, the matt is one of the larger putting aids that you can buy. Whilst in theory an increased length is a good thing, in practice it means you'll need a fair bit of space to use it. That said, the majority of the matt (the part that's made from fabric at least) can be folded up and easily stored away when not in use. As household carpet isn't an especially good replica for actual grass (a golf ball will travel too quickly across it) the PGA Putting Matt has a surface which simulates the speed of real grass quite nicely - plus, the slight uphill gradient means you can hit the ball at a similar speed as when you're out on the course.
Avoid the Bunker
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Not only does the matt provide you with a decent surface to practice on, there's also the added benefit of a regulation sized golf hole to putt into, a water hazard, and a bunker. Of course, the bunker isn't a real bunker, that is, it doesn't contain any sand; but it provides the person putting with something to avoid. In the centre of the hole sits a small plastic flag. To be honest, the flag doesn't serve any real purpose, and also looks a bit silly - therefore I removed it pretty much immediately. Once you've managed to hole the putt (it's generally quite easy), the ball is returned via gravity down a ramp. The return process is a good idea, although the ball can annoyingly get stuck halfway down the ramp on occasion.
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Although the construction of the putting matt feels little flimsy with thin plastic raised edges - actually it's more sturdy than you would first imagine. Overall then, the PGA Tour Indoor and Outdoor Putting Matt is a decent training aid which will help with alignment when out on the course and hopefully improve your game.
Around this time of year as the nights draw in and the weather starts to get that bit worse, the allure of the golf course may start to lose its' appeal. How then do you keep your game at its' optimum. Well practise indoors. Well at least your putting at least, and if like myself or Sergio Garcia you are completely useless on the green, you will need all the practise you can get. Thankfully with the PGA TOUR Indoor and Ourdoor Putting Matt you can.
So what do you get. Not a lot as it is a fairly simple device, which for the people who need it may be a good thing. Golf and complications don't work well together, just ask Tiger!! Anyway you get a length of astro turf measuring 200cm x 29cm, The top quarter of this mat is raised by the presence of a plastic ramp. At the top of this raised area are three holes which simulate a water hazard, a sand trap and the most important target, the regulation sized cup into which goes a PGA Tour flag. To the left hand side is a ball retrieveal system, similar to the ones used in a bowling alley that saves you the effort of having to bend down to pick the ball up. Also, more importantly, you can maintain your stance and become more comfortable, perhaps using a new technique to iron out flaws.
The ramp has the effect of giving you an idea of your putting strength and firming it at the same time. You can store it back in its' box with ease once you finish and despite it's flimsy appearance, it is very well constructed. In the two years I have owned it, the colour of the plastic representing the sand and the water is still as vivid as ever.
Leaving it in the box for prolonged periods of time will result in the mat becoming creased. Now depending on your point of view, you may look at this in one of two ways. You may feel this a hinderance and spend time trying to correct it, either pinning to the floor or ironing. Then again, you might be like me who sees it as a way of developing my green reading techniques. You can of course take this one stage further and start placing thin magazine, books o ranything you can find to replicate the undulations of a putting green.
Anyway, for £19.99 from amazon.co.uk, it is a worthwhile tool for helping your putting game. It does not come with putter or bowls however, and strictly speaking, the materials and effort taken to make it do not reflect the price. However, it is certainly a lot cheaper than lessons from your club professional and if you look out the window on a grizzly Winters' morning and the 18 holes that await, you may be glad you have this as a backup
==PGA Indoor and Outdoor Putting Mat==
Himself is golf mad, and this in itself drives me mad! However I can be rather nice on the rare occasions such as Christmas or Birthdays and I succumbed to buying him a golf related present this year at Christmas and it did get somewhat of a positive response. I say somewhat because although he seemed pleased enough to receive the putting mat it hasn't been until the last month or so that he had actually used the thing and taken it out of its box.
Himself does play once or twice a week and I often prepare myself for when he comes home regaling his story of balls flying this way and that. I sit with smile on my face and gently nod in agreement or frown with empathy at unlucky shots. However he has probably realised that I have little or no interest whatsoever in his game, or any other game, of golf. I have been known to pay a bit of pitch and put but playing the game and listening to him is a completely different thing.
So buying him this PGA indoor and Outdoor Putting Mat was really so I wouldn't have to listen to so many tales of poor putting in the hope that with using this piece of equipment he would improve his small shots and stop his moaning. We have a lovely long and wide hallway in our flat and this area is perfect for this product so it seemed like a great buy.
The PGA Indoor and Outdoor Putting Mat is basically a tool for which to practise your putting. It is very simply made and this was represented in the price I paid. I have seen them in various on lone shops but managed to pick up a brand new one from eBay for £15 which included the postage and packaging. This was the cheapest I could find when looking at that time but I am not sure if they have come down in price any but I shouldn't think you would get it brand new for any cheaper.
The Putting Mat consists of a long green felt piece of material which leads up to a plastic ramp with the felt covering this and upon this ramp there a bunker and a water hazard and of course the hole which has a small flag to stick into.
The bunker is coloured sand coloured and the water hazard is a light blue in comparison to the dark blue of the hole. There isn't really much difference from the bunker to the water hazard as they are both similar shaped holes. All three of the holes will lead off to a return tunnel which when the ball has fallen down any of the holes it will then be thrown back down the ball slide and ends up back at the start of the green felt again, ready for the player to take the next shot.
The box that the Putting Mat comes in is a large cardboard box with all the necessary information on and the PGA logo. It shows a picture of the Putting Mat which is held inside. I would say that it is a rather large box and is a bit of a pain to find somewhere to store it (along with the gold clubs, the gold trolley and all the other golf paraphernalia!) The size of the Putting Mat itself is 78 inches by 11.5 inches which is a good sized mat and this can be made easier or harder depending on your positing of the ball.
Having watched Himself and little Jack play on this Putting Mat and even having a go myself I would say that it is a good bit of fun for all ages and all abilities. It is not overly hard to master but again as I said before altering the distance and placing of the golf ball can alter how hard the shot can be.
The overall quality of the putting mat is not brilliant as I have seen other similar items which are higher in price, of course, but of a much higher quality and generally more advanced. The ramp being made of plastic makes it seem cheap and rather flimsy as with the "unique gravity ball system" which is the basic plastic ramp on which the ball is returned again is of very standard quality but does do the job.
The one major draw back to the putting mat has got to be the fact that when it has been in storage the mat is not flat and smooth but has the creases in it from where is has been folded up in the box. I did get the steamer iron on it to smooth it down but himself said it actually added to the game play and made it slightly more realistic with the lumps and bumps that would appear on a rougher green. I personally think he was more worried about me melting the felt with the iron and just wanted me to leave him to put in peace.
The Putting Mat is described as indoor and outdoor but we have never ventured outside with it because really it does the job just as well indoor as it would do outdoor and I personally feel it is more of an indoor game that I wouldn't want to get mucky from putting it on the ground outside. However it wouldn't make much of a difference if it was played outdoors but I would think if there was a bit of a wind then this would also add to the difficulty rating of the putting itself.
It states on the box that the gold hole is a regulation sized hole and that the putting mat will help increase overall putting accuracy. Which is true but again so would a cup positioned on the floor, would it not?
Generally though for the price paid I think it is a fine bit of fun and has seemed to improve Himself's putting accuracy but then again maybe the fact that he has taken to swanning off to the golf course at every available opportunity has also added to this! Not that I am in the slightest bit angry about this!
I think the PGA Indoor and Outdoor Putting Mat deserves a 3 out of 5 star rating. It is a fairly good product for the price I paid but I don't think I would have wanted to pay any more for it as the overall quality is not overly brilliant.
Many thanks for taking the time to read.
I do hope that this has been of some help/interest to you.