The 10 Best Putting Mats
How To Improve Your Putting
If you're close enough to the hole, you should be gripping the club more with your fingers than with your palms.
Great putting is all about steadiness and control, or in other words, about lots of practice and repetition.
Far too many golfers have known the agony of ruining their score through poor putting. You can watch a hole turn from eagle to par to bogie and beyond as you knock a golf ball inches past the hole in a painful series of missed putts, or you can practice your putting until it's one of the most reliable aspects of your game.
Great putting is all about steadiness and control, or in other words, about lots of practice and repetition. Unlike a power drive, which requires strength and flexibility, putting can be mastered by golfers of almost any age and physical ability. Mastering your putt is a great way to compensate for a weaker tee shot or fairway drive, and there's another benefit to focusing on putting as well: unlike practicing tee offs or driving shots, you can practice your putting almost anywhere, indoors or out. All you need is a putter, a golf ball, and a putting mat.
Before we discuss which putting mat can help you get the most out of your practice sessions, let's talk about basic putting technique. Once you have the ball on the green and within a few paces of the cup, your golf swing becomes more about rolling the ball than hitting it. Putting involves a gentle, steady touch that pushes the ball toward the hole, letting gravity and terrain help as much as possible.
If you're close enough to the hole, you should be gripping the club more with your fingers than with your palms. There's no reason for a firm, fist-style grip when it comes to a gentle putt. Stance is also very important when putting. Your non-dominant side (i.e. left arm for righties and vice-versa) serves as the guide, your dominant arm serves as the slow and steady propulsion provider. Try to move your putter through your ball as opposed to moving it to the ball; imagine a line that is traced from the ball to the hole and move your putter along this line. Many golfers achieve this by aiming not for their ball itself, but for an invisible point a few inches closer to the hole than the spot at which the ball actually rests. Aiming for this imaginary point will help you move the putter "through" the ball, thus sending it along the right trajectory to sink the shot.
Choosing A Putting Mat
When choosing the right putting mat for you, first consider why exactly you want a putting mat. If you are buying the mat just to have some fun in the office or in your living room, then it's hard to buy a putting mat that won't get the job done. If you're interested in a putting mat that will serve as a genuine practice tool -- one that will hone your skills and help you unlearn anything you're routinely doing wrong -- then you need to be much more critical when choosing a mat.
If you are buying the mat just to have some fun in the office or in your living room, then it's hard to buy a putting mat that won't get the job done.
Let's assume for our purposes that you are more interested in improving your golf game than sinking putts for fun while on a conference call.
As even the smallest decent putting mat takes up a fair amount of floor space, considering a modular mat (some can be assembled and disassembled like puzzle pieces) or rolling mat is a fine idea when space in your home or office is at a premium. However, these mats can present various issues, too. A sectional mat may have little ridges or valleys between its pieces that can interfere with your shots, potentially making it hard to tell how well your are actually putting. Likewise putting mats that roll up for storage may have creases or bumps that prevent accurate putting.
Many putting mats have sloped surfaces, often with the cup set into a little hill at the far end of the green. These can be beneficial for practicing those difficult uphill putts, but they can also be limiting; after all, most greens are relatively flat, so it makes sense to practice on a flat putting mat.
Using A Putting Mat
Many modern putting mats feature detailed information printed right onto their surface. The lines and markings on a given mat can help you learn how large your putt swing should be from a given distance, they can help you study proper angles, and they can let you see what you're doing wrong by helping you to see where your ball consistently ends up (assuming it's not in the hole).
Many modern putting mats feature detailed information printed right onto their surface.
To make sure you are getting an accurate assessment of your putting prowess, make sure the conditions under which you use your mat remain as constant as possible. Set the mat up in the same place whenever possible (assuming you have to put it away at all, that is) and on the same type of surface, i.e. wood floor, carpet, cement, and so forth. It's important to control for variables when practicing a specific putt.
You can also use your mat on varied surfaces to create a variety of practice greens, moving your putting mat onto the rug, the kitchen floor, or even onto gravel or other exterior surfaces; just make sure to practice putting regularly on each surface, so you know how you feel on many types of terrain and avoid both false positives and false negatives.
And of course make sure to keep your putting mat clean and dry. The former improves your chances of accurate putts; the latter will extend the mats's lifespan.