Driving Range Mats vs. Grass

mats vs grass

Golf driving ranges are great ways to work on your game. From improving your swing to practicing driving the ball off the tee, a driving range is a great facility to seek out.

Driving ranges across the country vary in the hitting surfaces. Some will have a grass surface just like a tee box or fairway.  Other driving ranges will have an Astroturf mat surface that attempts to replicate the natural feel of a golf course.

The big question is: which surface – mats or grass – should you use?

Mats vs. Grass – Are mats a good idea?

Golfers interested in mats can easily locate them at their nearest golf shop or online. These mats come in various shapes and attempt to replicate the feel of the fairway or tee box. The mats also include rubber tees that can be inserted into pre-fabricated holes in the turf.

Driving ranges will use mats as they are far easier to maintain than grass. A large number of customers can use the range during the week without it getting worn out.

The great thing about a practice mat is that golfers can buy one to have at home to simulate a real golf course. If you have a large enough backyard you can use the practice mat in a variety of ways. It allows you to replicate a real golf course, and when you are done, you can simply roll it up and put it away.

Despite being a great at-home practice tool, many golfers refrain from using a mat at the driving range. According to experienced golfers, there are several reasons they avoid using driving range mats. One commonly expressed complaint is the mat can damage your golf clubs.

Often, mats have concrete or rubber underneath them. Depending on your swing, your club may come in contact with the underneath surface, and it can increase the speed of a club’s deterioration. It can especially hurt irons. Real grass allows a golfer to make divots. Obviously, creating a divot is impossible when hitting off of mats without using a tee.

Another often-cited problem with mats is it causes soreness and pain in a player’s wrists, arms, and shoulders. Injuries can occur due to the surface underneath the mat and the lack of give compared to a natural surface.

Club deterioration and injury are two major cons of driving range mats. However, there is another major con to playing off of a mat. Golfers can drive the ball perfectly with each swing off of a mat. However, once they return to the golf course and play on natural surface, those gorgeous shots are replaced by ugly ones. The driving range mats help form bad habits and those habits can be hard to break once you return to the golf course.

Mats vs. Grass –  Why should you practice on grass?

There are plenty of problems with practicing on Astro turf driving range mats. Of course, if it is the best you can find, then you must make do with what you have got.

Real grass is a great way to practice, because you get proper feedback on your swing. Every shot you make on a driving range with natural turf is exactly like a shot you take on the golf course. This is not the same on Astro turf mats. A fat shot on a mat will react far differently than a fat shot on a grass surface.

The dreaded fat shot on a driving range mat will most likely look far more attractive than if it is on real grass. This type of feedback is misleading and gives golfers the wrong idea about their game. Real grass allows you to learn from your mistakes. It also allows you to correct those mistakes before playing your next round.

While driving range mats can make you look like a good golfer, natural surfaces will prove whether or not you actually are a good player.

Mats vs. Grass – The final verdict

Not all golfers are blessed with having grass surface driving ranges.

Depending on where you live, the driving ranges could use mats. Driving ranges in colder climates or areas that find it difficult to grow grass during certain times of the year may favor mats. In addition, some driving ranges may be cheaper due to having mats instead of natural grass.

If driving ranges with Astro turf mats are the best you can do, then you must practice on them. Otherwise, it is much better for your game to seek out driving ranges with grass. Your game, body and clubs will thank you.

If you want to take your game to the next level, contact our team at Keiser University’s College of Golf & Sport Management today. With our dedication and experience, together, we can elevate your game to new heights. Give us a call today at 888-355-4465.


  1. Have a net and mat in my back yard Try to hit balls as much as possible after wrk. Did not know there so many CONS to doing it ???

  2. It damages your clubs and is incredibly detrimental to you wellbeing. A divot albeit a small one is vital for imparting spin and acquiring the neccasary shot. Obviously there is no give in matts therefore not only is your game not going to be truly reflected but the force is going to be directly imparted into the clubs (I’ve seen many a club head detach from the shaft at a range) and then into your body. Obviously mats are most commonly found at driving ranges though people often ignore the name. It’s a driving range not and iron range. It will ultimately depend on how serious you are about your golf which is obviously indicative of skill level, and how much it affects your body. I personally would only use a range for driving as I just don’t get the feed back. Unless your hitting off an adjustable tee which many of the more expensive ones do offer (though this is usually as they’ll offer another tech like top tracer which is also useless because range balls are inconsistent even when identical but that’s another story) and can be good for analysing your swing on many levels but your still hitting off a tee. I disagree that mats can make a bad shot look better though. A fat shot is a fat shot. If i matt is all one has and it’s for recreational use it’s fine but its imperative to be aware that it’s not a complete reflection of your and never ignore any pain your getting or may get. If your hitting balls every day it may not be so good. Lastly, I have a steep angle of attack and generate high amounts of spin so marts just don’t work for me.

  3. This article is spot on. Think I’m dialed in after couple of sessions at the range on a “mat”. I then go play and hit many poor shots. Not making clean contact at all. Decided to practice off the grass the other day. You can really tell how poorly your striking the ball. I agree that hitting off mats do not give you proper feedback and you will reinforce bad habits.

  4. I hit thousands of balls off mats of different designs. What is missed here is when you practice your swing mechanics are 95% of what you are trying to perfect. Plenty of time on the course to dial in your turf interaction. The main culprit of hitting good on mats and bad on the course is you get one shot not 50. Mats save your irons not damage them. No abrasive dirt to grind off your chrome. Unfortunately range practice and golf are two different games entirely.

  5. I think hitting off a poorly maintained grass driving range can be detrimental as well. The grass is barely existent so you’re not getting good turf interaction anyway. Every shot is like trying to hit out of a waste area. There are pro’s and cons to both surfaces so pick which works best for you.

  6. If you do not have time to practice at a range that allows you to hit on their grass. Or, if you are using an indoor golf simulator, then you have to use a mat. What is needed here is a review of mats and vote as to what kind or brand and model works best for you.

  7. If you’re hitting a driver off a tee then obviously mats are fine, or even hitting woods and hybrids, any club that does not take a divot. Hitting mid to short irons, esp. wedges, off a mat is a bad idea. as you reinforce bad habits. Most golfers are too steep with irons and hitting off mats often only masks the problem.

  8. Mats give me a sore back,I tend to really hit down on the ball which isn’t very good when you have a surface that doesn’t give.

  9. I’m a 2 handicap. Ive hit many thousands of balls off both. Mats and top tracer are great for building tempo, swing dynamics, and learning to compress the ball. Most driving ranges are not great for a. Dialing in your yardages b. Learning to add or remove spin. Their golf balls are either of poor quality, broken, tired, squishy, etc which make the result questionable. But, I Calc my yardages during my rounds.

    Take notes during your round to dial in and learn your 3/4, full, max yardage plus average carry yardages. Learn spin at the chipping green. And, if you want higher quality range balls, and want to hit balls off turf, consider joining a club.

    **Remember, it’s just a stick and ball game after all 😉

  10. Just draw a chalk line on mat. Place ball on top of line and make sure yu hit ball 1st with irons. If line is distorted the mat is hit first. Most grass ranges suck!

  11. When I switched to players distance clubs, the difference was very obvious between the mats and the real grass. Paying more for practicing on grass with irons and fairway woods is worth it – you get the correct feedback.
    Would only practice in mats for my driver and woods on tee, or simply a warm up swing and nothing more.

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