I absolutely despise practicing at ranges that have mats. As we all know, finding a driving range that actually has real grass is now the exception. While I understand the motivation for driving ranges to move away from the maintenance and cost of keeping a grass range, it doesn’t make me feel any better about having to hit from synthetic astro-turf and 5 inch rubber tees. I’m convinced that my game gets worse after long sessions hitting from mats. I have however found a couple simple tricks that will make it more tolerable to practice from range mats, and help your ball striking in the process.
When you practice from range mats, the lie is always going to be very cushy. This gives you a wider margin for error than when hitting on grass. You can hit a few inches behind the ball and still make decent contact and have a good result. This can easily trick you into thinking your swing and ball striking is solid, that is,until the next time you’re on the course, and you manage to chunk or thin every iron shot
Try This Range Mat Trick!
Grab a clump of grass from the range area and place it one club head length in front of your ball on the practice mat. Now try to hit the ball then the grass clump you just put down. Hitting the ball first, with the focus on pushing the grass off the mat after impact, will help you groove good contact. Take this over to the course, and you’ll be hitting ball first and producing a nice divot IN FRONT of the ball…where it belongs.
Great ball striking starts with ball first contact and hitting “into” the ball as opposed to sweeping through it. Try this next time you’re having to hit from practice mats, and watch your contact improve the next time you’re playing a round. Stay tuned for for more range tips.