The Perfect Practice mat brings some retro-looks and classic design back into the indoor putting green category. Both the ball return feature and wooden finish are in contrast to the minimalist putting mats we’ve seen dominate the market in recent years.
I’ll be honest, before I unpacked the Perfect Practice putting mat I didn’t think it was going to live up to the fancy ads following me across the internet, but I’m happy to admit I was wrong.
Here I’ll give you a detailed review after testing this putting mat for a month.
Table of Contents
- 1 Trueness
- 2 Speed
- 3 Size
- 4 Portability & ease of use
- 5 Technical Development
- 6 Skill Development
- 7 Value
- 8 What could be improved
- 9 Golf Insider verdict
- 10 Extra notes
- 11 Perfect Putting mat vs PuttOut mat
- 12 Perfect Putting mat vs WellPut mat
- 13 Perfect Practice putting mat specs
The most important quality in any putting mat is how straight your putts will roll. However, building and designing a mat with this quality is surprisingly tough. The Perfect Practice putting mat excels here – the thin mat and short fibres on the surface provide one of the truest putting mats out there.
There are some very small wobbles and deviations, but on the whole, the Perfect Practice mat outperforms any comparable option. As with any putting mat, the ball will follow the slope of the floor beneath, but this mat is truer than the PuttOut mat and the best experience I’ve found for an indoor putting facility under $1,000.
The speed of this mat is quick – around the pace of championship summer greens, or slow PGA Tour greens (10 – 14 stimp). This quick pace works well with the ramp the ball has to travel up.
As with any putting mat the actual speed will also depend on the surface underneath. If you want more zip, place this mat on a wooden or tiled surface. Whereas, a thick carpet beneath will slow down the overall speed.
The Perfect Practice putting mat is long and thin (9.5-feet length x 1-foot width) and provides a max putting distance of 9-feet (9.5-feet from the very back edge). This is an extra 3-feet compared to the PuttOut mat, but shorter than the 12 and 18-feet options offered by WellPutt.
Being able to practice up to 9-feet versus 6-feet makes a big difference, and is one area where players wishing to improve their putting should take note. Furthermore, the smaller secondary hole allows you to test your putting to an even smaller target, which will better reflect your hole out rate from longer distances.
Portability & ease of use
The Perfect Practice putting mat doesn’t roll into a snug cylinder like the more minimalist mats, but is easily taken apart and rolled up into a corner. It takes seconds to setup and roll in / out between uses and you don’t need more than a press of your foot to get the putting mat flat and rolling true.
The ball return mechanism works really well. If you have sloped floor you may find the ball doesn’t make it all the way back to you, but by rotating the mat 180º you can soon overcome this problem.
All missed putts either 1) collect in the back gutter and roll back down ball return or 2) roll back down the ramp if they finish short to their start position. This means you barely have to move between attempts and can focus on your practice.
One of the key uses of a putting mat is to keep your basics in check away from the golf course. The alignment aids running into the centre of both holes are great and extend the length of the mat. You can also use the edge of the mat to check your feet alignment.
There are also distance markers running the length of the mat, providing clear guidance on how you are performing from each distance. Perfect Practice are keen on helping golfers refine their technique and are developing a range of accompanying putting aids too.
Being able to practice from 3 to 9-feet to a regulation sized golf hole is a huge asset when you can’t get to the course. And the trueness of this putting mat makes this a great option when you on-course greens aren’t in the best condition.
However, my favourite aspect about this putting matt is the 50% sized hole. If you are a regular reader here you’ll know my passion for optimising practice, and reducing the hole size is a great way to manipulate practice difficulty.
Blocked, high difficulty practice to hone your putting mechanics
Practicing to the smaller hole from 3 and 6-feet serves as a great way to get feedback on your start direction, allowing you to minimise the error in your putting stroke. Once you’ve mastered those two distances, move back to 9-feet and see how many you can hole in a row.
Here is a little 9-foot challenge and target for you all:
This type of practice will help refine your start direction and increase your confidence when you move back to a full-sized hole.
The second key purpose of a putting mat is to develop your putting skill – how well can you get the ball in the hole under varying constraints (changing distance and targets). Here the Perfect Practice putting mat excels again.
Up & down the ladder
If you’re after a little more practice variability then try the following challenge. You’ll make more errors compared to the blocked practice challenge above, but this practice will better transfer to your on-course putting performance.
Playing this game once a week along with some blocked practice will quickly see your putting skills improve.
The Perfect Practice putting mat comes in a little more expensive than its competitors, but you do get more for your money – the wooden construction, ball return and two holes. I feel its a very good price for a putting mat that will serve you for many years.
What could be improved
I’m really impressed with this product, especially for the first product we’ve seen from Perfect Practice. Here is the feedback I shared with them, these are just my thoughts on how future products could be tweaked:
- Alignment aids are great, I would like to see the smaller hole line reduced by 25 – 50% in width to provide better accuracy when aiming up with my putter.
- The seams running around the edge of the mat could be tidied up a little – less excess material
- The artificial turf look is great from far away, but is less appealing closeup. A solid colour may create a classier look that better fits with the rest of the product.
Beside these three points I can’t fault the product I hope the future seems them introduce a 12 or 15-foot option.
Golf Insider verdict
If you’re on the hunt for a new putting mat, or want to upgrade to the best putting mat for skill development I would look no further than the Perfect Practice Mat – this is now my go-to putting mat for practice at home.
This putting mat is rolled up tight and, as the manufacturers suggest, it does require an iron before your first use. Keep your iron on a medium-low heat or place a tea towel in between. Avoid high heat and direct contact – I went all out with this product testing and now own a green iron.
The ball return rail comes in sections with magnetic attachments in between. Again, on first assembly you just need to figure out the order of these pieces. Once in place this return rail works perfectly.
Perfect Putting mat vs PuttOut mat
If you’ve got room for the Perfect putting mat and want the best tool to improve your putting I would opt for the Perfect Practice putting mat. Both are very good, I feel the Perfect Practice mat edges it with the trueness of roll and two holes.
Perfect Putting mat vs WellPut mat
It has been a couple of years since I was testing the WellPut mat, I don’t have one at home. Both provide great putting surfaces. If you really want the option of putting from further away WellPut do offer longer mats, but I would still favour the Perfect Practice putting mat for the actual holes and realism they provide.
Perfect Practice putting mat specs
- Putting surface – Crystal Velvet (10 – 14 stimp speed)
- Length – 9.5-feet (2.9 meters), markings at 2, 4, 6, and 8-feet (60, 120, 180 and 240 cm).
- Width – mat 11.5 inches (0.28 meters), wooden base ~1-foot 2inches (0.35m)
- Weight – 3.4 kg
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