My one sentence review of the Perfect Practice Putting Mat would be; If you want to get better on those knee trembling four footers then this is undoubtedly the mat for you. If you want to know why then read on and I'll tell you.
Endorsed by former world number one Dustin Johnson, no less, the Perfect Practice Putting Mat is a must have accessory for golfers who want to improve their ability to get the ball in the hole but who don't have the time to dedicate hours to the task.
There are lots of elements to golf and you can give yourself an edge in many different ways. Having a top of the range golf watch or a Rapsodo Mobile Launch Monitor can help, but putting is to all intents and purposes a sport all on its own and being a wizard on the greens can cover for a multitude of sins elsewhere. Golf is really hard and the easiest way to lower your handicap is to become a skilled putter. The good news is that anyone can improve with enough practice.
Most of us will never be able to hit drives like Bryson DeChambeau but there’s no reason why we shouldn’t be able to putt like him, or even better. No, I'm not joking. The world’s top golfers are on another level when it comes to swing speed, flexibility and technique and most amateurs could spend their entire life on the driving range and never get even close to that. You could invest in the best driver and the best irons but you won’t be able to hit shots like the tour pros unless you can swing at 120mph and time your strike to virtual perfection.
Yet we should be able to putt like the pros because putting does not require any kind of supreme physical skills or athleticism. In theory, even a non golfer could conceivably become the best putter in the world. It’s touch, feel and consistency of stroke, all of which you can now work on at home thanks to the number of excellent putting mats out there.
Having a putting mat set up in a quiet corner at home really encourages practice. The beauty of it is you don’t need to set aside half an hour to go and do some practice. If it’s already set up in your house then you can just hit a putt or two here and there any time you’re walking past. If you’re watching TV and the ads come on, grab your putter and spend a few minutes practicing.
I have hit thousands of putts on the Perfect Practice Putting Mat and while it hasn’t really had the desired effect on my game (yet!) I have certainly had a lot of fun with it and there is a lot to love about it. Here’s my review.
Perfect Practice Putting Mat - Price & Availability
This mat is widely available online and in golf stores. The standard edition retails at £129 in the UK and $169 in the US. That makes it one of the more expensive mats out there but it is made from premium materials and really looks the part.
Buy Perfect Practice Putting Mat from American Golf in the UK here.
Buy Perfect Practice Putting Mat in the US here.
Perfect Practice Putting Mat - Features
Setting up could not be easier. After unpacking from the box it’s simply a case of rolling out the mat and then allowing it to settle. You can weigh down the ends to speed up this process. The wooden slats join together with magnets and take just a few seconds to set up. These provide a gutter from which your ball will be returned to you, whether you make or miss your putt.
The mat itself is of the highest quality and runs at 10-14 on the stimp meter (depending on the underlying surface). You won’t get any skipping or bobbling due to the Crystal Velvet Trueroll Technology and the Train Track Alignment helps you improve your stroke and alignment.
You can also combine the mat with other Perfect Practice aids, such as the Perfect Putting Gates, Laser Putting Glasses or Putting Alignment Mirror, but none of these are essential and the mat works just fine on its own.
The mat is available in three sizes.
The Standard Edition is 9 foot 6 inches, but there is also a Compact Edition which is 8 foot and the XL Edition which is 15 foot 6 inches. I used the 9 foot 6 inch version.
Perfect Practice Putting Mat - Performance
There’s nothing particularly fancy or high tech about this putting mat and if you want to delve more into the technical side of things then you should probably look at alternatives such as the WellPutt Practice Putting Mat which is more interactive and is used in conjunction with a phone app.
What this mat does effectively is help you perfect your putting stroke, specifically when it comes to holing shorter putts. You aren’t having to think too much about speed or break because this is simply about hitting a straight putt into the hole. Over and over again. Repetition is the key.
If your stroke isn’t good then you’ll quickly find out because the ball won’t be going in the hole. On the golf course there are several reasons why a putt might not fall and it may well have nothing to do with your technique. Maybe you just read the putt wrong, or maybe you read the putt right but hit it too hard so it didn’t break in time. Or it could be that you under-hit it, causing the ball to break too early. Perhaps the ball hit a spike mark or a small stone that changed the direction of the putt. There are a lot of variables in a missed putt.
Sometimes you make a perfectly good putting stroke but the ball doesn’t drop. When that happens you can second guess yourself and wrongly blame it on poor technique. With the Perfect Practice Putting Mat you will know if your stroke is good or not because you are hitting a straight putt which, if lined up correctly, will roll along a line and then drop into the hole.
Assuming you are on a flat surface (and if you aren't then you should be), If your putt veers away from that line then you know you were either lined up incorrectly or your stroke is to blame. If you are lined up correctly but the ball goes left of the line then you’ve pulled it. If it goes right, then that’s a push.
You don’t always know this when you’re on the golf course but by practicing at home with this mat you will get a good feel for your stroke and with enough repetition you will reach a point where you can putt with your eyes closed and you will know as soon as you strike it whether it is a good putt or not. You’ll recognise what a pull or push feels like, and that will help you identify it when you’re out on the course.
I found that this training aid helped me massively in that regard. I don’t think I have become a vastly more accomplished putter despite all of the hours I have spent practicing, but it has definitely helped me to recognise my bad tendencies and when I miss a putt on the course now I usually know immediately if my stroke was to blame or if it was just a bad read.
Finding the time and the motivation to practice is a problem for many casual golfers but the way I got around that was to have the mat set up all of the time. If you have to go and dig it out of the cupboard and set it up and then put it away afterwards, that’s when you’re most likely to just not bother. If you have a space where you have it permanently set up that changes everything.
Although I used it outside a couple of times when the weather was nice, mostly I had it set up in the conservatory and would set myself targets, such as making ten in a row from eight feet. If I did that, I’d go for 20. Then I’d go from four feet using the smaller hole. This is a really useful feature because after you’ve been making putts in the smaller hole, when you go back to the standard sized hole it feels like putting into a bucket.
If I was watching TV and the ads came on I’d grab the putter and go and sink a few putts. Or if I had to walk past the mat on the way to the kitchen or the bathroom, I’d stop and hit a couple of eight footers. Doing it that way enables you to hit a lot of putts without it ever feeling like actual practice.
You can also set little competitions to keep it interesting. For example, I like to take two (or more) different putters and have them compete against eachother, with the winner going in the bag the next time I go out and play. Another thing I will do is set myself a target with a forfeit if I don’t reach it. Nothing too punishing, it might just be doing chores that I’d been putting off, or making my wife a cup of tea. Anything to give a little consequence to the task as that helps to recreate the pressure of being on the golf course.
Perfect Practice Putting Mat - Verdict
I’m a big fan of this mat and I would wholeheartedly recommend it to anyone who struggles with short putts. If you want to work more on longer putts and speed control then you should look at alternatives such as the WellPutt Practice Mat, but if your goal is to develop a consistent and repeatable stroke on putts from inside eight feet then look no further than this.
I found that it met all of my requirements in a practice mat and because of the way it is designed you can tuck it away in a corner somewhere and just roll it out when you want to use it. You don’t have to waste time retrieving the balls as they’ll come straight back to you, and the smaller hole is a great way to improve your success rate on the three and four footers especially.
Other mats might give you more of a challenge but if you just want something to help you feel more comfortable on short putts then the Perfect Practice Putting Mat is just the job.