I was excited to get home and try this. Being able to swing flat out in the garden without the need for a massive net taking up loads of space is just what I needed, especially as my local driving range has been closed for months due to it being upgraded.
Even before taking it out of the box I knew it was high quality because it was pretty heavy. Besides, American Golf tend to not sell any old crap. A price comparison showed that £44.99 was very competitive as it was more expensive on Amazon and other outlets. Even so, for what it actually is that price seems excessive. Probably costs about a fiver to make, if that.
Upon opening it up, it was clear that initial set up was going to be fairly straightforward. It was simply a case of attaching the ‘tower’ with the nuts and bolts provided. It was a bit fiddly due to the small nuts and bolts and my not so small stubby fingers, but it didn’t take long to get it all connected up.
It comes with four standard tent pegs which are used to pin down each corner. After I secured the mat with the pegs I did wonder whether that would be enough to keep it in place after a full swing with driver. The answer to that was an emphatic NO! It would not be enough. I used my smartphone to record my swing in slow motion, and upon watching the replay you could see just how far out of the ground the pegs came. They more or less settled back into place after the shot but the pegs were half out of the ground and I couldn’t hit another shot without knocking the pegs in first.
What the description says:
– Eliminates the need for a practice net
Yes, this is true.
– Can be used with driver, hybrids and irons
Disingenuous. It can be used with hybrids and irons, but only if you hover the club an inch above the turf and do not strike the ground. It is not adjustable so in reality it’s only suitable for use with a driver.
– Can help to correct slices and hooks
Hmmm. Not really. Unless the are talking about filming your swing, analysing the flaws and then working on them using this device. In which case, yeah I suppose it might, if you know exactly what you’re looking for and how to correct it. Which most golfers don’t.
– Gives the user immediate feedback on swing path.
Again, not really. You’ll know if you’ve swung it massively on the inside or outside, but that’s more because of how you will feel while swinging it than it is to do with any feedback from the swing trainer. After the first few rotations it will go to one side or the other, but it’s hard to judge how much of a hook or slice that would have been, if at all.
– Sets up quickly
It does, but you also need to continually knock the pegs back in after each and every shot, unless you come up with another solution…
Which is exactly what I did. I thought about getting better pegs to secure it with, but didn’t think there were any pegs capable of doing the job. So I ended up getting a big heavy piece of wood and screwing it to that. The benefit is that the device is secure and the wood is so heavy it stays put meaning you can just keep swinging without having to correct anything.
The downside is it weighs a ton and is not especially easy to move around now.
In short, it’s a great idea and in theory it could work really well. But the truth is it just doesn’t deliver what it’s supposed to. You don’t want to have to keep re-securing the mat in place after every shot, and the lack of adjustability is frankly ridiculous. It wouldn’t be that hard to make it adjustable so golfers can practice iron shots or even fairway woods. Quite why they have not done this I have no idea, but it’s a significant failing and takes away a lot of the effectiveness of the product. The fact it is so difficult to keep in place makes it even less appealing.
That being said, if you wanted to set it up permanently and not move it around, then you could secure in place and use it purely for hitting driver. In that scenario, it would be a decent enough product.
In terms of what Pure2Improve market it as though, it falls well short.
Update: It is now no longer suitable for driver because the ball has lowered and now sits just above the mat. I’ve hit no more than 50-75 shots with it yet the ball has already moved downwards to the point where it’s now more suited to a 3 wood. At this rate in another few weeks I’ll be hitting wedges off it. Not great.
I would have liked to have gone higher as I do really like the idea and the materials used are good quality. Had the ball height been adjustable and had there been a better way to pin it down then it may well be worth the money, but as it currently stands it’s overpriced and not really fit for purpose.