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Which is the best winter golf mat 2020?

It’s that time of year when most of the golf courses are enforcing a winter mat policy.

Love them or hate them, if you wish to play throughout the winter you have to use one.

With so many different types to choose from how do you know which winter golf mat is the best for you?

I have tested the 4 most popular to help you make a decision.

In this test I used a 7 iron to compare the launch angle, spin rates and distance differences between each mat. The same balls were used throughout the test.

After a series of shots with each, here are the numbers from the Foresight GC2 launch monitor.

Analysing the data…

Fact 1: Mats launch the ball higher

It doesn’t matter which mat you use; the ball will launch and fly higher than off the turf.

Fact 2: Back spin increases with a mat

Typical backspin with a correctly fitted 7 iron should be around 6500-7000rpm but you can see the readings with a mat are always above that figure.

Fact 3: No difference in distance!

This came as a big surprise. Having used winter mats for some years I felt sure there would have been a significant difference in distance the ball would fly. However, the distances were incredibly similar no matter whether hitting from a mat or the turf.

The mats on test…

Launch Mat

The Launch Mat from Masters Golf is a lightweight mat that offers the greatest convenience as it easily fits in your pocket.

This mat produced the highest ball launch angle and highest peak height of all the mats on the test. So, if getting the ball in the air is something you need to do – this is the one for you.

Buy the Launch Mat for £11.99 on our website – buy now

The curved shape means there is some give in the mat so, although it sounds quite hard when you strike it, it feels pretty good. The hole to place the ball in provides a secure mount for the ball even on very steep slopes.

The launch golf mat vs shots played from the turf
Launch mat data in comparison to shots from the turf

If you want to hit the ball higher and want something you can keep in your pocket – the Launch Mat is a great option

Pros ✅

✅Lightweight and easily fits in your pocket

✅Sits flush to the ground, ideal if you sometimes hit before the ball as you won’t catch the back edge of the mat

✅Great on sloping lies

Cons ❌

❌May flight the ball too high for some

❌It sounds quite hard when you strike it

Buy the Launch Mat for £11.99 on our website – buy now

Masters Mat

This AstroTurf mat features a soft cushioned underlayer that makes for a pleasant feel and sound at impact. If you have a steeper angle of attack – so would take big, deep divots from the grass then this would be the matt of choice for you.

It comes fitted with a carabiner clip that makes it easy to take on and off your golf bag.

The thickness of this mat means the ball sits up higher and it could also be quite easy to strike the back of the mat resulting in a terrible shot.

Carpet mat data in comparison to shots from the turf

Pros ✅

✅Lightweight and a soft feel

✅Ideal if you have a steeper angle of attack as it has lots of cushioning

Cons ❌

❌It could be easy to strike the back edge of the mat due to the thickness of the contstruction

❌Not great on sloping lies

Carpet Mat

I call this the carpet mat because I didn’t have any official name for it, and it has a pile very much like that you would find on a hard-wearing carpet.

On the test this was the mat that produced the numbers nearest to that of playing from the turf.

Buy the Carpet Mat for £8.99 on our website – buy now

All mats launch the ball higher and with more back spin than shots played from the turf, but this mat produced a launch and peak height very close to normal play.

Carpet mat data in comparison to shots from the turf

Pros ✅

✅Best on test for replicating very close to the same ball flight as from grass

Cons ❌

❌The ball sits up quite high

❌It could be easy to strike the back edge of the mat due to the thickness of it

❌Not great on sloping lies as difficult to get the ball to stay on it

Buy the Carpet Mat for £8.99 on our website – buy now

Fairway Products Multimat

WINNER – BEST ON TEST 🏆

A unique feature about this mat is it has two usable sides that offer different ball flights.

The shiny side produces more spin and a higher ball flight than the bristle side though the bristle side compares more closely to the flights from the turf.

Buy the Multimat for £12.50 on our website – buy now

I really like this mat and thanks to its versatility from sloping lies and the size of it, I have awarded this my best on test.

Fairway Products Multimat Shiny Side data in comparison to shots from the turf
Fairway Products Multimat Bristle Side data in comparison to shots from the turf

Pros ✅

✅Two usable sides providing different launch conditions and feel

✅Very good on sloping lies

✅Long length means it’s less likely you will hit the back of the mat before the ball

Cons ❌

❌Long length means it is quite big to carry about but that’s not a huge issue as it does clip on to your bag

Buy the Multimat for £12.50 on our website – buy now

If you want to speak to us about winter mats and have a FREE trail of any of the mats reviewed above please come and speak to us at Dunes Golf Centre in Fraserburgh.

👀Watch my YouTube video review of the best winter golf mats for 2020. Oh, and please subscribe to my channel to get the latest content 😊

Messages from the local greenkeepers on winter mats…

James Peace – Headgreenkeeper at Fraserburgh Golf Club

Mats were first introduced in NE Scotland in the late 80’s and I worked at Newburgh then. The main playing season was April to September back then and at that time I also played a lot of winter golf,

In addition to mats, lifting the balls to the side and tee up on fairways were also tried. This was a big failure as it caused too much damage to the course. In fact this damage did not recover till the summer months or later.

Anyway, as a greenkeeper the best way forward ,during the winter months, is to use mats. No arguments here.

The main playing season now would be March to October , so 4 months of using mats is a small thing to do to protect the course, this also gives the player a nice dry lie in what is usually a wet winter these days.

We just need club golfers to understand that they are doing their bit to help protect the course and make it much better for themselves and everyone in the Spring and Summer.

Picking the right mat is also important, I prefer the multimat that you have trialled.


John Littlejohn – Headgreenkeeper at Rosehearty Golf Club

With more golfers playing all year round, mats are a great benefit in the winter months.

Recovery of damaged grass stops at this time of year and here in NE Scotland it can be as late as June before we get heat back into the soil which is needed to get seed to germinate.

So, without mats you can imagine landing areas soon becomes full of divots and no one wants to play out of them.

Also the start of the season gets off better as yet again you don’t want to play out of seeded areas.

So, mats are a great asset for members by allowing them to play all winter, whilst protecting the course and it means they will play off better surfaces when summer golf starts

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Winter Golf Tips

When you’re playing golf during the winter, your shots don’t carry as far or roll out as much as they would in the summer.

It’s just a fact of life. It also means that judging distances to the green becomes a lot trickier, with many amateur golfers coming up a little short with approach shots. Have you noticed this trend in your own game recently?

Here are a couple of steps you can take to solving the problem…

Step 1: Gapping session

Well, if you come and see us for a gapping session, we can work out the exact yardage that you hit each club in your bag, making finding the green more often a reality.

However, you won’t realise the benefits of knowing your distances unless you know how far you need to hit the ball, something that a Garmin GPS device will certainly help with.

Step 2: Garmin GPS device

The Approach S10 is the perfect solution to your yardage woes. Featuring a high-sensitivity GPS receiver, the S10 will give you the distance data you need to play better golf (front, middle and back as well as hazards and doglegs).

This technology is there to help you, so make sure you’re taking full advantage like most other golfers are!

Better still, as part of our Black November special offers we are the cheapest in the UK at just £109.99. That’s £30.00 off the normal price. Or, if you want the ultimate watch GPS, the S60 is on offer at £299.99, saving you £100 off the normal price.

Both offers are limited availability so don’t delay.

On the subject of Winter golf…

Most of the local clubs have enforced a winter mat rule in order to protect the fairways. Now some of you may love the mat, or you may loathe it!

Whatever your opinion, the fact is it’s a requirement for you to use them.

However, there are different options available…

The standard piece of artificial turf has long been the most popular but there is a new mat on the block and it’s without doubt our personal favourite…

The traditional winter mat
The Launch Mat is the BEST winter mat you can use

The Launch Mat
The plastic construction sits much lower to the ground than a traditional mat (meaning you don’t need to grip down your club as much) and it’s unique curved shape means it feels much more like hitting off normal turf at impact.

In addition to the enhanced feel and playability, the launch mat is also small enough to fit in your pocket and is really light weight.

I’m not a huge fan of winter mats but as we need to use them at the moment – the Launch Mat is definitely my preferred choice.

Both mats are available to buy from Dunes Golf Centre now.

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Winter golf

Keep your balls warm
Warmer golf balls travel through the air further than cold ones. This is mainly because the core gets harder when it’s cold so you need to generate more swing speed to hit the ball your usual distance.

It takes a number of hours for cold to penetrate to the core so make sure you store your golf balls in the house and not in the car or garage overnight.

To help overcome this, ensure you arrive at the first tee with at least two warm golf balls. Even put them on a radiator the night before and then keep them in your pocket until you get to the first tee.

You must not, however purposefully warm the golf ball in your pocket using a handwarmer or other such device as you play – this would be in breach of rule 14-3.
Did you know?…
A golf ball loses approximately 2 yards in carry for every 5˚C that the air temperature drops.
Switch to a low compression ball

The golf ball you play can, or maybe should, change from Summer to Winter. No longer is extra spin around the greens so beneficial due to the greens being much softer in the winter. This means you can play a ball with a firmer, distance inducing, cover. Distance becomes a greater priority as the soft ground and cold conditions will mean much distance is lost compared to summer.

If you normally play a ProV1 or other premium soft cover ball then consider switching to something with a lower internal stiffness (compression) like; Titleist DT Trusoft, Srixon Soft Feel or the new Srixon Ultisoft. The lower compression is really beneficial as the core gets stiffer in the cold as mentioned earlier. In actual fact many ladies golf balls are the best for winter golf.