Out of the Bunker: Mats versus Grass


I get asked quite often about the difference between practicing on mats versus grass.  I think most of you would agree that hitting off grass is preferred, but what if grass is not an option?

Unless you belong to a private club, you are often limited to hitting off mats when you find the time to practice.  This isn’t such a bad thing, as long as you take full advantage of the time you spend practicing.

Practicing off mats is a great time to work on your body alignment and ball position.  This is because hitting off a mat allows you to hit from the same spot time after time.  I suggest laying a club on the ground pointing towards your target.

Next, I would place another club pointing towards your golf ball.  This should form a t-design between the two clubs.  Doing this will allow you to work on adjusting your ball position based on the club you are using.

For example, if you are hitting a driver, your ball should be positioned inside of your left heel (for right handed golfers), and a shorter iron should be positioned more towards the middle of your stance.

How does your practice change when hitting off grass?

It doesn’t need to change much, but I would focus on your divot pattern.  It’s amazing how much you can learn from the pattern of your divots.  After striking a golf shot, learn to pay attention to the direction that your divot is pointing.

If the divot points left of your target, it tells you that you are swinging too much to the left.  If the divot points right, it tells you that you are swinging too much to the right.

This is one lesson that you won’t be able to learn when hitting off a mat.

But what if you don’t take divots?  Well, that is a lesson for another time!

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