Hitting Mats vs. Grass: Unpacking the Differences

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When looking for a winter golf setup such as indoor virtual golf it can be important to know the differences when comparing golf hitting mats and grass turf. Unfortunately in most places the weather doesn’t stay perfect for golf year round which leads people to be in the market to use hitting mats to practice their swing during the cold months.

In this guide we cover the advantages and disadvantages of mats, the advantages of grass as well as digging into what the main differences are between the two.

Golf Hitting Mats Vs Grass: Differences

When comparing mats vs grass there are several differences. Firstly, no divot can be left on a mat, whereas you can take one out of grass. Additionally, since your club will bounce when hitting off mats rather than go through turf, there is a slight contrast in the way the clubs reacts when connecting with the hitting surface.

Golf Hitting Mat Use Cases

A golf mat is an important piece of equipment for practicing golf in the winter season. This is because golf courses can either be closed or have limited access which makes practicing on grass less of an option. This is where driving ranges or a home golf setup can come in useful. Despite the upfront cost of a golf simulator they really can pay dividends.

Driving Range

driving range

The main place that you may have come across a mat for your shots is at a practice range. This is because most of the time you be hitting your shots from within practice bays that come with a dedicated mat. Hitting off a practice mat at the range gives you a great opportunity to fine tune your swing and get comfortable with each club in your bag on a perfect lie. 

Home Golf Simulator

Another use case for mats that is growing in popularity is the use of home golf simulators. This allows you to play golf from home and in turn means that golfers will need to use a mat for their shots. When you consider that it wouldn’t be possible to play year round for many people without a mat it really does make mats an essential for golfers looking to create a home setup. No matter whether you use a Rapsodo Launch Monitor or a Flightscope Mevo you are likely to be using a mat to practice with.

Advantages of a Hitting Mat

The main benefit of using golf mats are that they allow you to simulate playing off real grass turf. This can range from using driving range mats or purchasing your own to use for yourself at home.

Another main benefit of hitting off of mats is that you are able to practice from a perfect lie every time. Sure this isn’t always good, especially as when you are hitting golf balls around a course you are highly unlikely to hit the ball straight every time. However, it is great for getting consistency with your clubs and giving you a platform to practice key training aspects of your game such as trying to improve your club head speed.

Downsides Of Using A Mat

When using a mat at a driving range you may experience a fat shot as it is more likely to occur than when hitting off grass turf on a golf course. This is because when you hit behind the ball on a mat you will still hit the golf ball and this wouldn’t be as likely on normal turf. This makes mats more of a simulation of the reality of golf compared to playing on real grass.

It is also worth noting that with mats you are potentially more likely to see wear and tear on your clubs than hitting off regular turf at a normal golf course. (Golf Digest)

Hittings Mats: Our Top Pick


We couldn’t finish our guide without giving you our favorite all round option of the best hitting mats to choose. 

Our overall #1 pick is the SwingTurf Golf Mat which you can find here. There are several reasons why we rate this mat so highly. Firstly, out of all the mats, not only does this give you great value for money but it also comes with a fiber system that is designed to give a true golf shot experience to more accurately reflect and replicate your swing that you would produce on a real course. Another key thing to note which is a huge benefit of this mat over other options is that rubber tees are not required as you are able to insert a wooden tee, making it even more life-like. 

In our complete guide we cover a range of mats to choose from based on different criteria.

Advantages of Grass

When golf balls are on grass turf, they will behave more naturally than on grass which means you will improve your skill level more significantly than if you were to only practice at the range.

Another thing to note with hitting the ball off grass turf instead of on a golf mat is that you will take divots on your shots so you obviously get the full golf experience when hitting your shots on grass opposed to on a mat.

In Summary

In summary of our mats vs grass guide to get optimal ball flight it can be hard to look past hitting the ball on an actual golf course off of natural grass turf. However, if you are looking for a way to practice your golf swing and improve your ball flight year round then hitting off a mat provides a practical solution.

It can feel tedious to hit balls only for a few months a year and improve your game and get better for it to come to a sudden stop when the weather gets colder. Despite the disadvantage of not getting a full life like experience, especially when hitting behind the ball and hitting fat shots with your golf club, mats still are a great option for all golfers intent on improving their game.

Additionally, with advances in technology home set ups allows golfers to hit drives, long irons and short game drills from the comfort of their own home. When you factor in the combination of this with leading technology such as SkyTrak (full review here) you can gain access to golf courses worldwide as well as access to key data such as angle of attack, golf ball carry, club head speed and spin rates.