Product Type: PGA Tour Golf
Newest Review: ... 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... more
Indoor golf, without the carnage.
PGA Tour Indoor and Outdoor Putting Matt
Member Name: GodfatherOfSoul
PGA Tour Indoor and Outdoor Putting Matt
Date: 23/04/12, updated on 17/04/13 (140 review reads)
Advantages: Great fun. Very attractive design. Folds away neatly when not in use.
Disadvantages: Ramp design is a little annoying at times. Weak plastic around ramp. Putter/golf balls not included.
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 :)
Summary: A great way to practice your putting indoors and have fun with friends and family.