Going to the mats – measuring the difference between golf balls hit from synthetic range mats and from grass
Why do you often hit the ball better from synthetic range mats than from grass? Well, when you’re done trying to nail the guy in the caged cart, check out what you’re standing on. Range mats differ from real grass in two key areas: You can’t take a divot, and a fat shot still gets a decent result. Tom Stites, of the Golf Digest Equipment Panel, tested shots hit from mats versus grass. Bottom line: Iron shots went higher with less spin; for drivers, there was no difference. For other range-mat tips.
Mats vs. grass
Using two-piece high-spin balls, Golf Digest measured launch conditions of players hitting 7-irons from mats and drivers from rubber tees. We compared them with grass and wooden tees.
Cushion the blow
On average, players hit 7-irons off the mat with a higher launch angle and less backspin than from grass. Most tended to sweep the ball off the mat but use a more descending blow from grass.
Though shots may sound and feel different, our tests showed no consistent difference in driver launch conditions from a mat and rubber tee compared with grass and a wooden tee. When the clubhead reaches the tee, the ball is already leaving the clubface.
Tax dollars at work
FMP Int’l uses technology originally created for damping vibration in F-16 fighters to produce mats with a “composite leaf spring” base instead of the traditional rubber base shown here.
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