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RichL85

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    RichL85 reacted to fixyurdivot in Stewart Q Follow Electric Caddie   
    Greetings Spies.  My name is Bill and I reside in southwest Montana. I'm ecstatic and honored to have been selected among the thousands of who applied to test the Stewart Q Follow Electric Caddie.  A HUGE THANK YOU to the folks at Stewart Golf and MyGolfSpy for providing this great testing opportunity!!  I find these forum-based product reviews to be very informative and meaningful.  Marketing claims are "put to the test" by fellow amateur players with no strings attached.  I have used these reviews as part of my recent equipment changes and will do my best to provide you all with a meaningful review of the Stewart Q Follow Caddie.

    Please check out my introduction/bio here.  
    So as many of you may know, through our discussions on the forum, my preferred mode of travel on the course is walking. 
    18th hole at Wine Valley during this years PNW Spy Meet-up.

    Unless the course does not allow walking, I rarely opt for an electric/gas cart. To be brutally honest, I just don't like bouncing around, getting in/out and traversing the fairway.  Further, many courses limit where power carts can go (i.e. 90 degree rule, off fairways altogether, and green approach areas).  I prefer the cadence that walking affords - allowing me to think about the upcoming shot (or blowing off steam from the previous shot 😊). If I want to stay in the shade of a tree line as the group makes its way down the fairway, or just mosey along enjoying the sights, I have that option. Plus, it's great exercise and helps keep me stay loose - especially on colder days. I recently upgraded from a Sun Mountain Speed Cart to a Caddy-Tek EZ-V8 (which I did an unofficial review on here). 
    I've seen some of the various electric walking carts on courses and always was interested in them. At 62 years of age, I'm still in pretty good shape but will admit that some course terrain is beginning to tax the legs and lungs a wee bit.  Having a multi-mode, powered push cart seems like a great option. So when I saw the opportunity to test the Stewart Q Follow Caddie, I was really excited. From what I've read, this looks to be an industry leader in lightweight, compact design, and follow/tracker technology.
    A few questions that immediately come to my mind and are of interest include;
    battery life and how much it drops off (or not) during a round or even 27 holes recharging time stability on side hills ability to power through heavy rough and uneven terrain do I have to switch out of follow mode when walking onto the greens and tees? how easy is it to drive/steer using the remote? and, ultimately for me, will having the powered functionality offer a seamless transition from my many years using a simple push-cart? If you have any specific questions or things you would like myself and other testers to investigate, please reach out to us and we'll do our best to cover them in our reviews. 
     
    Final Review - Stewart Q Follow Golf Trolley
     First Impressions (4 of 5 stars)
    Once again, I want to open this review with a HUGE Thank You to both Stewart Golf and MGS for providing us the opportunity to test/review the Stewart Q Follow Caddie.  I don't mind repeating myself in saying that these forum product reviews are of more value to me than most all other reviews I read.  In fact, now when I consider buying new golf products, I always check to see if a forum, Hit Squad, or both have been done when whittling down information leading to a buy or move on decision.
    My initial impression of this product was very well engineered and excellent build craftsmanship.  The shipping box was heavy duty and packing protection top notch. The packing arrangement makes for easy removal and, perhaps as important, easy to repack (I had the opportunity to test this out with our move to AZ).  Help instructions are in the right places - isn't that so often overlooked these days. My shipment had definitely seen some rough handling, and gave the protective packaging a serious test.


    Upon getting the cart out and unfolded, I was quite impressed by its look - which I would describe as quite modern, stylish, and sleek.  The "black carbon" version we received has some nice accents (wheel fenders) that give it just the right amount of "pop".


    Little details like pressed-fit, sealed wheel bearings, and cooling fins on the drive motor, are not features one would see on low end products.

    The key technology of the Stewart Q Follow is the Bluetooth follow mode. With that function selected, the cart is seeking the handheld pendant. When I first trialed this in the yard, it was without a bag on the cart, and I found the cart quite erratic.  At first, I thought it was due to not holding the pendant still (as in clipped to my belt) but, after getting the clubs aboard, the cart became quite steady.  It still makes some jerky direction changes but nothing excessive.  The bottom-line is that the follow technology works as advertised.  Soon into my third round, I began not really thinking about the cart too much and just felt confident my clubs would be within arm's reach when I got to my ball.
    Personally, I found trying to hook the pendant onto my belt or pants/shorts pocket each time I selected "follow" a pain.  Upon arriving at the ball, you can stay within the "no follow" zone, and it won't attempt to move to you.  But, on a several occasions, I would just get outside that range while setting up for the shot and the cart you suddenly swivel and move towards me. What worked best for me was simply carrying the pendant in my hand as I walked to my ball, then place it on my bag, take the shot, pick up the pendant and start walking.  My testing showed the carts steering to be nearly identical whether on my belt or in my hand.  I even swung the pendant around while watching and the carts steering was hardly affected at all.
     
    Aesthetics (5 of 5 stars)
    I really like the look of the cart. As I mentioned above, it has a very modern look with just enough bling in the right places. The light grey rubber handle inserts and bag strap, the exposed carbon fiber basket-weave fenders, grey wheel rims, and red inner wheel covers blend really well. Overall, it is quite compact folded up and not as large as one might think a "battery powered" cart would be.  

    The battery nest fits perfect and simply blends into the cart base for a streamline look.


    The Numbers (4 of 5 stars)
    Unlike the accuracy of a range finder or carry distance for clubs, this category for a bag cart is a bit challenging.  But, I will touch on a key thing that can definitely effect "one's numbers (scoring)" and that is fatigue.  I've used non-motorized golf push carts for the better part of 45 years and while their designs have evolved to make them more compact and feature rich, they still require manual labor.  As we get older, that effort becomes more and more noticeable.  On courses with significant elevation and slope changes, I've really started to notice that my stamina wanes as the holes roll along.  Add in some heat index and that just makes manual carts feel heavier with each passing yard.
    The rounds I have played using the Stewart Q Follow Caddie have significantly reduced the level of fatigue I feel as compared to my manual push cart. I cannot yet equate better scoring with the Stewart Q but it stands to reason that being less fatigued over the course of a round will more likely than not help ones scoring.

    On The Course (4.5 of 5 stars)
    The Stewart Q Follow worked better than I expected in both manual drive and follow modes. I say better than expected because I had visions of looking back for my clubs only to see them some distance back and off-track. I used the follow mode about 90% of the time and it always kept up with me.  With the exception of it finding a pothole as it left the cart path and falling over, it never had an issue.

    The first course I tested on had a really good mix of terrain. The carts paths are mostly gravel and some not so smooth.  There were plenty of bumps and lumps which did tend to knock the steering off course a bit, but the tracking technology did a very good job of making corrections.  It did get a bit jumpy at times when this happened, but nothing all that drastic. 
    While the cart does well going up hills, going down steep hills isn't so good - particularly if you walk at normal pace.  What I found worked was to just walk slow and kind of guide it along close behind. On a few grades, I noted the brakes having to engage to slow travel and skid the wheels. Of course the instructions suggest using manual steering and use of the handle in these situations, but what fun is that? 🙂.
    The course also had plenty of side hills and I purposely walk up the slopes and in a zig-zag manner to see how the tracking worked.  It did a good job making steering adjustments but definitely was working the two wheel motors pretty hard.  Still, I was quite impressed with its ability to keep up.

    The Good, the Bad, and the In-between (3.5 of 5 stars)
    The "good" points are:
    The cart is very compact folded up which will really help those driving cars with limited trunk space. It is very easy to unfold and refold once you get the sequence down. Battery life is as advertised. We received the 36 hole battery and, following each of my 18 hole rounds, the app showed close to 60% remaining. The battery app is easy to use and provides status whether connected to the cart or charging cords. The quick dis-engage design of the rear wheels, for full manual mode, is very easy.  Removing and replacing the battery is easy and the recharge time for it and the remote pendant as described in the user manual. The cart adjusts well to the players walking pace.  I found this really helpful when slowing down and "helping" the cart through odd terrain.  This even works on moderate downhill grades. Switching to manual/pendant steering is easy and one quickly gets the feel for how much left and right arrow is needed to make course adjustments. The cart had very ample torque and climbing power.  I took it up a few quite steep inclines and it had no problem.  The two "wheelie wheels" do a great job at keeping the cart from tipping over backwards.  The "bad" points are:
    The handle is a bit on the flimsy side.  On several holes with moderate contours around the greens and tees, I dis-engaged the rear wheels from the motor and pushed the cart.  I found the amount of flexing in the handle a little concerning.  When using my current cart, I sometimes will give it a pretty hefty shove going over curbs. I would be concerned about this handle holding up under similar situations. To be fair, maybe it will sustain way more flexure and stress than I think... but it just made me nervous. Storage is pretty much non-existent. I found myself really missing the mesh cargo net bag, storage tray, and zippered storage pocket on my current Caddy-Tek cart. For me, this was a big negative that affected scoring. The "In-between" points are:
    The cart folded is a bit heavy and I could see this maybe being an issue for older folks (even more so for women) lifting in/out of car trunks. It seems the "glide stop" mode should be the default.  The carts stops quite abruptly if this mode is not on, and I should think most users will want this on... so why not make it the default? The cart does work fine with lighter than optimum weight bags, but the tradeoff is that the cart tends to pop wheelies a bit more when starting off and when following up steeper inclines. Play it or Trade it? (4 of 5 stars)
    To be brutally honest, I'm on the fence on this one.  I walked one of my (new to me) courses today using my cart and was taking note of all the uneven surface changes I went through moving from greens to tees.  Most of the cart paths stand several inches higher than the ground and I could see myself having to do quite a bit of "helping" the Stewart Q cart through this - whether in follow or manual steering.  Staying on the concrete paths would be a solution but there are a good many more direct/shorter paths through packed gravel that the walking folks use. I need to get a few rounds in with it on the courses here to make this final decision.  I do think it will help reduce fatigue, especially on hot days, and that is a BIG incentive. While my Caddy-Tek cart is quite light and easy to push, I still feel it towards the end of rounds.  I'm definitely going to put the Stewart Q through more paces and testing here and see how it works out.
    One factor I'm interested in is battery life and and adverse effects of use and storage in hot climates - like Arizona hot in summer months. They recommend charging at near room temps, which is fine and doable, but what about use and storage in a garage that's near 100F?
    I'm quite sure I would not have spent the MSRP for this cart.  I had previously looked at battery powered, manual steer units and opted not to invest the $700 to $1000 for some of those. I do think the build quality and technology are excellent, and the follow mode a really helpful feature, but the price seems a bit high IMO.
    Conclusion
    In a nutshell, the Stewart Q Follow Caddie is the real deal and does what it was designed to do.  With the exceptions noted above and two key design aspects (weak handle and virtually no storage), the cart manual and follow steering modes work very well. It works well over moderately uneven terrain; gravel paths, over tree roots, and low curbs (say up to an inch).  Straight out of the box, the cart is assembled and, with the help of fantastic instructions, requires only a few base and handle movements to be ready to load your bag and head off to the tee.  After the round is done, the fold and store sequence is very easy and surprisingly compact.  It is a little on the heavy side and could be an issue for some lifting into and out of deep trunks. 
    The ability to quickly disengage both the rear wheels is great in the event of either the cart or pendant batteries running out, a system malfunction, or forgetting to bring the pendant with you (which I nearly did 😬 ). With the wheels disengaged, the cart feels very much like any other push cart.  It rolls along fine but keep in mind the weight of the battery will require expending a few more calories.  It's also worth noting that the handle is no where near as rigid as most carts and tends to twist/flex a bit if pushing forward over curbs, cart paths, etc.  There are other reviews on this product where handles breaking have happened - so just something to consider and remember when using.
    It seems to work well with various golf bags.  I used my Sun Mountain Four 5 kickstand bag and it had no issues.  Stewart Golf does recommend using a bit heavier bags to minimize "wheelies" during drive motor starts, but I did not find that an issue.  While perhaps not optimum, it's nice to know the cart can be used with a pretty wide range of bags.
    The $2699 to $3099 MSRP (depending on options) is pretty high as compared to other battery powered, manual pendant steer carts.  Because I'm not real familiar with the competing products, I won't try and justify the cost of this product except to say I think the Stewart Q Follow is a top-shelf product with respect to engineering and build quality.  
    I think the bottom-line is that if you really love to walk but are finding doing so with a manual push cart too taxing, and you want a high end, quality built cart with state-of-art follow mode feature, the Stewart Q Follow should definitely be on your list.  I must say that the follow mode is quite cool.  Simply walking from shot to shot with "Stewey" tagging along and having your clubs there when you get to the ball could be habit forming.
    Thank you for reading this review.  Be sure to check out the "comments" section with the many posts we testers made chronicling our experiences using this product.  Also, check in periodically as myself and the other testers will be adding more findings in the comments section as we get more experience using the product.  
    Final Score (25 out of 30 stars)
     
  2. Like
    RichL85 reacted to PMookie in Stewart Q Follow Electric Caddie   
    Steward Golf Q Follow – Official MGS Forum Review by PMookie
    My Game and a little about me
     
    I live in West Monroe, LA, which is in the Northeast part of the state, 4 ½ hours North of New Orleans, 3 ½ North of Baton Rouge, and I’m only about 45 miles from the Arkansas line, 55 from Mississippi.  I’m 53 years old, and I’ve been playing since I was little. I learned to play at Pat’s Par 3 in Ypsilanti, MI, now called Miles of Golf. My Dad was a high school golf coach, and my first official tournament was the Ann Arbor Junior Open in the summer of 1982, finishing third. I play to a 4.7 GHIN as I type this, but my lowest ever score is just 74.
     As far as testing the Stewart Q, I’m going to be testing it on the course I play all the time, and I will perform some tests in my backyard as we have a pretty good slope that I wouldn’t find on local courses. One thing I’m really happy to learn is that my greens fees will be going from $48 per round to just $20 per round because I’ll be walking! BONUS!!!
    I’ve watched a few video reviews of the Q Follow on YouTube, and read some reviews on various sites online. There only a few issues I’ve seen with the device and one was posted here on by someone who also posted the same issue over on WRX, and it’s an issue with the handle coming apart from the cart. I’ve also seen it mentioned that there are some who had carts that simply couldn’t go straight (others had corrected the issue themselves), and some “jumpy carts”, so we’ll see. For something that costs $2,700, I don’t foresee many problems, but that’s why we’re testing isn’t it?
     So, that’s about it for me for now. I really look forward to getting the cart and getting it out in the backyard, and on the course. Thank you, MGS and Stewart, for the opportunity to be a tester! I greatly appreciate it, and I look forward to y’all’s questions all along the way.








    Stewart Q Follow- Official MGS Forum Review by PMookie
    First Impressions:
    From the moment the Q Follow arrived at my door I was impressed! The box had a great look to it with the big “Q” on the side, the styrofoam that encased the Follow had the Stewart logo on it, and there was a BUNCH of information in the box to guide a user! Really nice. Once I got the Follow out of the box and was able to look it over, I really didn’t want to get the thing dirty! I’m big on how rims/tires look on cars… I don’t like huge ones, but I like them to look “muscular”, different. Well, the Follow has just that, and add the red accent behind the wheels?! Wow! Next were the carbon accents, the finish of the body, all of it black… Man! Such a great looking cart! I took a bunch of pics and added them in my “unboxing” so you can see them there. Add to all of this the CART BAG that showed-up a few days later and I was completely taken-aback! I even mention in one of my videos that it’s an impressive looking machine! 
    As far as getting the Q Follow on the course the first time, and getting it underway, I found it to be VERY easy to learn the controls and to get used to them. I had not “practiced” at all at home before I took it out of my vehicle and began to guide it across the parking lot to the driving range before my round, so I was a little nervous, but there was no reason to be. Easy-breezy. I used the arrows on the remote to guide it at first, but once I got on the first hole I engaged “follow mode” and was highly impressed! It worked just as I’d hoped it would by staying right behind me. It really did feel like I had my own personal caddie! So many people at the course stopped to take a look because I’m the only person that plays there that has a remote controlled cart. I had a number of people ask me about it, I could hear folks say, “Look at that,” and even had a college kid tell me how cool it was. Overall, all things included, I was quite impressed. 





    5 out of 5 stars!
     
    Aesthetics: 
    I mentioned a lot in the first impressions paragraph above about the aesthetics, so I won’t belabor the point too much, but I found this to be a beautiful machine, and the carbon accents do add a degree of refinement to it for sure. Are they worth an additional $300? Nope, but they sure look good! I’m going to take a minute here to talk about the bag, even though it isn’t being reviewed… Aestheically, it’s gorgeous. It has some of the same carbon looking accents, the red coloring on it really pops especially since it’s “shiny”, and the Stewart logo on the ball area looks awesome! Really cool!

    5 out of 5 stars!
     
    The Numbers:
    This didn’t really apply to our review so I’m giving a perfect score anyway…
    5 out of 5 stars!
     
    On-The-Course:
    The Q Follow performed better than I expected on-course. Follow mode was fantastic and I ended-up using it about 80% of the time the last two rounds I played using it. The MAIN feature of this cart is the follow mode, and I wouldn’t want any other remote control cart if it didn’t have this same ability! Really, it’s that good! I was able to trust it to follow me up-and-down hills, mounds, across “bridges”, and even up to the teeboxes and it never wavered, fell over, or had any issue keeping-up. There was only ONE time it had difficulty and I showed that in a video. The issue, I believe, was that my bag just didn’t weigh enough to keep the cart tilted forward so it got “caught” on a steep incline. The instructions for the Q Follow to have one’s bag weigh around 31 pounds (not sure how many “stones” that is for those across the pond, HA!) and I would say that would be one piece of advice I would “follow” (ha!) for anyone that gets one of these. Weight of one’s bag DOES make a difference in performance, not just going up hills, but in the general on-course performance it’s smoother and not as “jerky”. 

    5 out of 5 stars!
     
    The Good, the Bad, the In-Between:
    Well, one thing I have not mentioned until this point was that when my Q Follow was taken outside for the first time to try and practice, I started to “unfold” it and the right “fender” or “wing” fell right off. It was broken… Wow. A $3,100 machine and the carbon wing was already an issue. It turns out that the piece is not carbon at all, just plastic finished to look like carbon, and the two connections are VERY flimsy, thin pieces that can break easily. It was a complete bummer, and I was pretty upset. A positive about having something broken? I was able to test the customer service right away! I emailed them and had a response within an hour or two that new ones were on their way. The new pieces arrived just two days later, but no instructions were in the box. The wings are not “snap-on”, they are “screw-in”, so I had NO idea how to replace the wing. I email again, and I get the response within hours. Stewart sent me two wings, and I was glad they did because it turned-out the left wing was broken as well! Ugh. Not a good look, again, for SUCH an expensive machine. I got both wings on after a little difficulty, but I would definitely suggest that Stewart design those parts to be a little thicker, and able to take a beating. The Q Follow is going to be folded, and unfolded many times over years I would hope, and flimsy plastic isn’t going to cut it long-term. I was not impressed by how cheap the wings were, and I’m glad I didn’t have to pay the excessive fees to replace them. On that note, all of the accessories are over-priced in my estimation. We didn’t get anything that wasn’t made of plastic or rubber, so for someone to pay $40 for a phone holder is a bit much for a $.10 piece of rubber. I guess they figure one is spending three-grand so money isn’t an issue… Maybe, I just think it’s excessive.


    2 out of 5 stars!
     
    Play it or Trade it:
    There is NO doubt it’s a PLAY IT! 100%, no questions asked. It’s a great machine, and I REALLY enjoy it! I still need to calibrate the thing so it stops drifting left, but it has been awesome to go to the course and walk 9 again once-a-week. The Q Follow REALLY makes the rounds more enjoyable. I can stay in-tune with my round, but not have to PUSH or CARRY my bag. I can hit the “follow mode” button, put the remote on my rear pocket, and just walk. It’s fantastic. I thoroughly enjoy it!
    5 out of 5 stars!
     
    Conclusion:
    The Q Follow is a great looking remote control cart that does everything Stewart says it does, and it does it with flying colors! It’s simple and intuitive to use, the follow mode is amazing, it really is like having one’s own caddie, and outside of some manufacturing shortcuts, it’s something I think anyone would enjoy having! If one can afford it, I say “go for it”!
     
    FINAL SCORE: 27/30
    Literally, the only issue I had was with the wings and the lack of quality in their construction, but everything else about the Q Follow was top-notch and lived-up to its billing. 

     
  3. Like
    RichL85 reacted to RollingGreens in Stewart Q Follow Electric Caddie   
    October 2022- Final Review!
    Intro
    Hey MGS, my name is Andrew and I am from Cleveland, OH. I can’t say enough how appreciative I am that I was selected to test the Stewart Q Follow Electric Caddie. A big thanks to both Stewart Golf and MGS for this amazing opportunity. I am an avid walker and initially started out by carrying my bag about 3 years ago. In the Fall of 2019, I received my current push cart, the Caddytek 3 wheel, so far it has been good, it holds everything I need within an arm’s reach and is very dependable. 
    I play at a small semi-private course that averages about 4-5 miles of walking per round. The course itself is quite difficult playing about ~6,700 yards with a slope of 140 from the 1 up tees. I play about 50 rounds a year and I am ~9 handicap. 
    Please see the comment section for my full intro!
    Final Review
    I will admit I have put my Q follow through just about everything possible: I have played a full round during the a steady rain, up/down hills, through thick and wet rough, and lastly through an area of brush that was just cut down a few weeks ago. Time and time again the Q follow showed its durability by being up to the task.
     
     
     
    First Impression 5/5 
    The Q follow came packaged well, definitely sturdy enough to handle today’s shipping and delivery. The Q follow was much smaller than I anticipated for an electric caddie. It folded up compactly, but I’ll admit I did have to use the instruction manual to figure out how to correctly open and close the caddie. It was a fun experience taking it out for the first time at home that night, I was using the remote and also follow mode to take it not only up and down my driveway but even on the sidewalk throughout the neighborhood. I’m sure my neighbors looked twice when they saw a cart following me down the street.


     
     
     
     
     
    Aesthetics 5/5 
    The Q follow has a simple design, outside of seeing it move you might not be able to tell it’s much different than other caddies. I will say the fenders which have a carbon fiber looking appearance help to add a bit of flare and style. I also find it nice that Stewart kept the logo small on the cart, they didn’t place it somewhere largely in plain sight for advertising purposes.

     
    The Numbers 5/5
    It is hard to objectively quantify this portion of the testing because it’s a cart. I will say for using a personal exertion scale after using my Caddytek and the Q follow, from 0-10, where 0= sitting on the couch and 10= running a marathon I would say using the Caddytek I would be at a 6-7/10 at the end of rounds, and physically I would feel very spent. Playing back to back days really took a toll on my body. With the Q follow I am at a 3-4/10 and back to back days are very doable. I do find I have more energy at the end of rounds and I am able to keep up my distance with big shots on the last 3 hole stretch. 
    The Good, Bad, and In Between 3.5/5
    Good- The Q follow does exactly what it is advertised to do. Follow mode works fantastically for open areas. The remote has good accuracy and control. The battery life is as advertised if not better. I’ve used it back to back days for 36 holes and still had more than 20% left. The cart is also extremely easy to steer around the greens and hazards, I have no worries about manually adjusting it for proper positioning in these areas. The app for battery life also seems to be spot on which is a major plus for on course use and charging.

     
     
     
    The In Between- This is more personal for me, I don’t like the fact that it requires a bigger staff or cart bag. I understand it needs extra weight to create stability and these bags help to provide that. However, swapping out my bag every time I go to the range is a bit of a pain and the bigger bags take away from me trying to be simplistic. I also wish they designed the remote a bit differently, if the easiest way to use follow mode is with the remote clipping to your belt or back pocket, I think it would be easier if it had side triggers for the stop button on one side and the follow mode on the other side. It would allow you to engage and disengage a bit easier. The last thing is course dependent, a wide open course would allow you to use the follow mode quite frequently versus a course that is tighter with bridges and hazards like mine you may find at times you have to use the remote feature more than the follow mode to protect the cart.

    The Bad- The plastic handle. It feels too flimsy and easy to break for something that can run upwards of $2,500 to $3,000. In Stewarts defense, if the cart is used the right way as the directions state, you can easily manipulate the cart and maneuver it without putting any stress through the handle. You aren’t able to put any torque through the handle to pull or lift the cart sideways like a typical pull cart. I also think I may be the only one in the group but I did have the cart fall on its side on the course during my first session, and no harm was done at all to the handle. The design still requires some adjustments to keep up with its competitors. 
    Play it or Trade it 5/5- In no way shape or form am I getting rid of the Q follow. It’s a fantastic Follow cart, It’s helped me have more energy at the ends of my rounds, so much that I’ve been able to get a workout in or go for family walks/hikes after playing golf. It will also help me save money during the hot summer days when playing on the second day of a back to back when I may want to take a cart. It also fits perfectly into my car trunk with my staff bag!

    TLDR- The Q follow by Stewart is a premium electric caddie with a follow feature. If you’re tired of using a pull cart and don’t want to use a cart the Q follow is the electric caddie/cart for you. It can handle all the terrain and be used rain or shine. It does have some negatives such as the price- ~$2,500-3k, and the handle feels a bit frail. Overall the Q follow is a great product for anyone in the market for an electric caddie let alone a follow cart. The Q follow has turned into one of the hottest talking points at the course over the last few weeks!

    Final Score 23.5/25
     
     
     
  4. Like
    RichL85 reacted to sirchunksalot in Stewart Q Follow Electric Caddie   
    MyGolfSpy Official Review
    Stewart Q Follow By sirchunksalot
    Here's a link to my pre-testing review:
    https://forum.mygolfspy.com/tests/45-stewart-q-follow-electric-caddie/?do=findComment&comment=10325
     
    Stewart Q Follow Final Review
    It’s been a fun walk these past few weeks testing the Stewart Q Follow. I’ve had a great time putting this trolley through its paces on the course and around the house. As someone who just started walking, I can say it brings a special enjoyment to the game being able to walk the course and soak in all it has to offer instead of zipping along in a cart. Thank you Stewart Golf and MyGolfSpy for allowing me to be a tester of such a fine product.
    First Impressions 5/5 stars
    Pulling the Stewart out of the box, I was immediately impressed with how good it looks. It was folded up compactly and felt sturdy. Opening it up was a breeze, push a couple of buttons and it was ready to go. I’m ashamed to admit this, but closing it back up the first time took a minute because I didn’t see the button on the bottom of the handle you have to push to fold it back up.

    My first experience navigating it was just pure fun. I placed my bag on it and ran it through my yard and the neighbors yard. The remote fit nicely in my hand and it didn’t take long for me to get the hang of controlling it.
    Aesthetics 5/5 stars
    This is one good looking golf cart. It has a minimalistic design that is still able to draw the attention of onlookers on the course.  

    The carbon looking fenders contrast nicely against the matte black color of the rest of the Stewart. There is also a section of carbon below the handle near where it folds sporting a “Q” logo. They also added a nice touch to the button on the frame of the handle by adding the British flag to it.


    It's well designed to fold compactly and fits well into the trunk of my VW Jetta along with my bag, leaving room to spare for my work boots, golf shoes, golf balls, and any extras I choose to have in there.

    The Numbers 3.5/5 Stars
    This is going to be an unorthodox portion of this review and I would like to give @GolfSpy_BOS the credit for coming up with the idea for this part. The push/electric cart isn’t a typical forum review where we can give hard data on how a club improves your game.
    I was able to play a round with @Tom the Golf Nut and compare the Stewart to the MotoCaddy. We had a race down one fairway where the MotoCaddy took home the prize due to its quick acceleration. At its top end, the Stewart was able to keep a respectable pace but couldn’t catch up.

    Also during that round, I noticed smoother, quieter turning and better downhill braking from the MotoCaddy.
    Comparing the Stewart to my push cart, I noticed a drastic increase to my stamina during and after my rounds. It was really evident after the round with Tom where I woke up at 3:30, drove 157 miles, walked a hilly course, and drove back home. I still had energy and was not passing out when I walked through the door at home. On a typical work day where I wake up at the same time I’m usually fighting to stay awake on the 25 mile drive home.
    I also saw better scoring and play on all but one round during the testing period. I blame myself for that outlier, I lost focus and my game suffered from my mental lapse.
    Rounds are more enjoyable being able to take in the sights and sound of the course compared to rushing along in a cart. Maneuvering the trolley let me focus on something other than my game and kept me from dwelling on bad shots.
    On the Course 5 of 5 Stars
    The Stewart did everything you would ask for during a round. It carried my clubs and kept them secure, even in some less than desirable places. I took it up hills, down hills, into the woods, and through a gully on my course where it had no business being without incident. It did turn over on me once on a steep side hill, scuffing the handle, but it’s not designed for those and was totally the fault of the driver.
    I love follow mode and think it’s the defining characteristic of the cart. It allowed me to simply stroll along the fairway with both hands free and let me take the opportunity to drink water and film without having to worry about manning the remote.
    The Q Follow also garnered quite a bit of attention from fellow golfers. I received a lot of comments and some questions that allowed to talk both about the cart and the forum. I’m also sure there’s a post out there somewhere on social media with a video because one guy asked me to navigate over toward him.
    The Good, The Bad, and the In Between 3/5 stars
    Good:
    Setup of the cart is simple, you push a button and lift the front wheels, set it on the ground and maneuver the bag holder into place, and push another button to lift the handle assembly. After that, you just place your bag on the trolley, secure it, and turn the cart and remote on.
    I can’t say enough how much I love follow mode. There’s something nice about clipping the remote in your belt and walking along with the cart behind you. It frees up your mind and lets you simply enjoy the walk.
    The Stewart is easy to charge, the battery snaps loose and you pick it up, insert the charging cable into the color coded ports, and you’re good to go.

    Speaking of charging, the 36 hole battery is lives up to its name. I’ve played mostly nine hole rounds and seen a loss of about 22% after each round.
    Bad:
    I would be remiss not to bring up the handle design, I think it’s a weak point in the trolley and could snap if the cart fell over. It flexes when manually turning the cart and I use caution when I turn it by hand. I know there’s a lot that goes into engineering a product like this, but I would like to see some reinforcement in the handle in future models.

    20220926_165321.mp4 Downhill braking is a little weak. I tried to stop the Stewart while hitting a shot on a downhill lie at Tom’s course and it kept going at a moderately fast clip. It took a few tries to get it to slowly roll so it wouldn’t run away from me. I’ve also seen it roll back down hills when I’ve attempted to stop it to pick a club from my bag.
    There have been times when follow mode loses connection. I’ll be walking down the fairway and won’t hear the sound of the motors and look back to see the Q Follow sitting in place. I had that happen three consecutive times on one hole and had to walk back to it and engage follow mode again.
    The In Between:
    Since they’re not officially a part of the review, I thought I'd say thank you to Stewart Golf for including some extras to add to the enjoyment of this testing. The bag, phone holder, umbrella tube, and ball holder are all great products and add to the utility of the Q Follow.


    I stated early on that this is a heavy product, but when I compared it with the MotoCaddy they were similar in weight.
    It’s a bit more expensive than its competitors ($3100 with 36 hole battery), but follow mode is a pretty unique feature that allows you to focus on the walk instead of keeping your attention on the cart.
    Play It or Trade It 5/5 stars
    I truly believe the Q Follow has added it my enjoyment of walking and leaves me less exhausted after my rounds. It’s fun to control and have behind me when I want to free my hands up on the course. As fall golf has arrived, I’ll be spending most of my time with it on the course.
    TLDR
    The Stewart is a quality and fun product that can make your walk less tiring. It’s easy to control and follow mode is a great feature that you don’t see in some of the other popular electric carts. It performs well on the course and can take on some of the toughest terrain.
    It’s not without issues, losing connectivity with the remote during follow was my biggest peeve.
    It’s a premium product with a fairly premium price, but if you’re looking for an electric trolley it's one I would recommend looking at.
    Final Score 26.5/30 stars
     
     
     
     
     
     
     
     
     
     
     
     
     
     
     
     
     
     

  5. Like
    RichL85 got a reaction from Shapotomous in Spornia Compact Hitting Net   
    Greetings to all. I would first like to say how grateful I am to MGS and Spornia for the opportunity to test this product as well as the forum community in general. I’m still pretty new around here and it’s very likely that you don’t know anything about me. My name is Rich, and I moved to California two years ago. I am originally from north Texas, went to Colorado for college, moved to Houston to take a swing at a Ph.D program that didn’t work. Eventually moved to Florida when my wife received a job opportunity out there, and then I moved us all the way to California when a job opportunity for me came up. This will be my first test so be gentle! These two take up the majority of my time outside of work. 

    As a random note, I’m a natural lefty, but I golf as if I am right-handed. I was a switch hitter in baseball and played tennis left-handed so for whatever reason the right-handed golf swing is more natural to me. I am a chemical engineer by day working as a process engineer for a company that manufactures citrus processing equipment. I work with a small group within the company in Technical Research and Development, so I apologize in advance for being a data and numbers guy.

    I picked up golf in college because I took a part time job at the nearby Golfsmith, mainly to work in their tennis area as I was into tennis at that point. So much that I obtained Certified Stringer certification when I was 15 and later Master Racquet Technician around the age of 20. Being surrounded by all of the golf equipment and regularly fielding questions about golf, it piqued my interest in the game. I won’t lie, the added benefit of being able to make a little extra money based on Golfsmith’s commission scale was enticing for a college student. I worked there for about two and half years before graduating, doing a little bit of everything including fitting and a lot of club building.

    Two of my managers were former teaching pros so I had access to quality advice for my quirky swing. I typically played once or twice a week for about 18 months before I moved away from Colorado. Since then, I have played much less frequently as I have some anxiety issues with heading to the course by myself. Until about 4 months ago, my clubs were hiding in the garage, completely unused for the past four years since my youngest was born. I’ve never held a true handicap, but I was typically shooting right around 90 back when I was playing consistently. In a typical round, I would have a few catastrophic holes and play fairly solid the rest of the time. I’m still working on getting my swing back to where I would like it, but currently I’m topping out around 100 MPH. I could always use a little more swing speed, and that is something I’m currently working on, but I have also started working with a new coach to straighten up my swing.

    Due to family and work obligations, I’m lucky to get out to the range once a week, which is why I purchased a Callaway net and a Rapsodo MLM a few months ago to make it less inconvenient on everyone for me to practice. The Rapsodo is now gone because it was not a good fit for my use, and the net is already showing some signs of wear as well as being inconvenient from a portability standpoint. While it is technically portable, I don’t think anyone enjoys spending the time breaking one of those basic nets down into the 20 connector pieces and detaching the netting and packing it to move it, etc. I don’t want to, so I move it back and forth from the concrete patio out to the grass area in the back yard each time. I don't believe that I should be seeing this kind of damage from a 7-iron at a month of use. 

    I’m excited for the Spornia net as it looks to be much more portable and also much more convenient for indoor use. With my kids' stuff taking up so much space, I don’t have a ton of indoor space, but I have room in the garage to be able to use it for some feel type practice. The ceiling in my garage is too low for full swings at my height, but I could use the shorter wedge practice anyway. For this test, the main things I’m looking at are the convenience, portability, and durability. I want to be able to set it up and take it down each time without spending a lot of time, and I want to be able to move it from outside to inside and back again without significant hassle. I know for myself, if practice isn’t convenient, it’s hard to find time amongst the other obligations of the day.

    With all of that out of the way, please feel free to ask any questions that may help to direct my testing for specific applications that may be helpful to you. What’s useful to me, may not be important to you and my overall hope is to provide information that can help the majority.
    First Impressions
    First impression of the packaging of the product promised a compact form with no wasted materials. There is no need for excessive cardboard or extra packaging and the item arrived without any damage despite FedEx losing it for a few days. At first glance of the small form factor, it’s difficult to believe this opens up as large as it does. Instructions for setting it up are very simple and quick, though one section is a bit tedious. Compared against the basic Callaway net I had been using, having a full impact screen section was a huge upgrade. For a size comparison in a garage type area, the net and hitting mat would take up about the same amount of space as a typical vehicle. Personally, I was only able to hit half-swing wedges indoors, but that is due to the low ceiling, not an issue with the net itself.
           

    Quality of components (8 out of 10 points) 
    The quality of the net, frame, and impact screen are all top notch. I deducted points for some of the extra things. For example, the carry bag is functional, but fairly thin and I fear for the longevity of the stitching on the Velcro closure straps. Another point was deducted for a small tear in the channel that holds the thin rod holding up the “roof” portion. While I love the concept of the top portion to catch especially high wedge shots or perhaps a skied driver, feeding the rod through the channel was by far the most frustrating thing about this product. As my net was outdoors the majority of the time, I got to the point of leaving the roof rod in and folding the net flat before leaning up against the house. While it definitely defeats the portability aspect of the net, it saved me minutes of frustration and I was able to have the net set up in about 25 seconds.

    The folding mechanism for the net is a little hard to describe, and not necessarily the most intuitive, but it is highly effective. I think the best feature for portability is that the majority of the net is one connected piece. It is the entire frame, netting, and impact screen as one piece, and then three multi-section rods that fit in a separate bag before adding to the main bag. The carrying bag is a little awkward to travel with because it is flat, but fairly large. I felt like it took up a lot less space when I had it standing, propped up against something rather than laying flat. By comparison to the basic Callaway net, that folds up into a small cylinder shaped bag, but it also includes about 13 individual sections that have to be taken apart and reassembled each time, versus opening the bag and letting the Spornia net practically unfold itself waiting for the two main rods to raise the back section. Definitely points for Spornia on that one.

    Ease of use (9 out of 10 points) 
    At the end of the day, this is a practice net. It is pretty obvious how to use it, and also obvious how to set it up. The one point deducted for ease of use is purely due to the roof section. The support rod for the roof section is a connected 5 piece rod that you feed through a curved channel before putting the ends into eyelets to hold the roof. I had a few issues with getting the rod both in and out of the channel without the sections separating inside. The sections are all connected via string, but it is difficult to move the rod inside the channel in one smooth motion. In complete honesty, if I were to frequently move the net, I probably wouldn’t even bother with setting up the roof section unless I was specifically planning to hit my high lofted wedges.
     
    Basic Characteristics (19 out of 20 points)
    Compared to my experiences with other practice nets, the Spornia net made the idea of practicing much more enticing. Not having to spend 10 minutes setting everything up, constantly retrieving balls, having balls randomly sneak through the gaps around the edges. These little things matter when it comes to getting in that little bit of practice. Keeping the net partially assembled and set against the house. I can have the net and mat set up in less time than it takes me decide what club to practice with first. That kind of convenience cannot be beat. By comparison, the closest driving range options are about a 15 minute drive, $12 a bucket, and generally pretty busy, especially at times when I could go. With the daylight disappearing so early right now, this is the best way for me to get a little bit of practice in each day rather than maybe one session a week at the range.

    Spornia did include a chipping target that could be set up for those types of shots. I only tried it out a few times and it worked fine for what it is. I don’t see myself using the chipping target all that much personally as chipping off a mat just doesn’t do it for me.


    Since I have somewhat of a quirky, timing-based swing, having the ability to consistently practice has helped my consistency quite a bit. I also started working with a coach and the net eliminates another excuse that is so easy to make when it comes to practice. As far as practice nets go, this one is by far the nicest one that I have used and any flaws are truly being nit-picky. Things like the fact that while the ball does get returned to the front of the net, the mesh “lip” is a decent amount overlapping, so I have to kind of reach back into the gap and dig the ball out versus if it was a straighter mesh lip. I believe the size is in a good spot with being big enough that it makes it very hard to miss the net, without being something that is going to permanently take up a small building worth of space. As am I currently renting, I don’t want to leave the net on the grass 100% of the time and risk the lawn, but I can easily take out two poles and set it against the house. Less than a minute of time and it is off of the yard and out of the way of everyone else.


    On-Course Performance (27 out of 30 points)
    Up until recently, I had not played an actual round of golf in about 5 years due to family and work obligations, so it’s impossible for me to definitively prove that this net and the resulting practice improved my scores. I can say that my ball striking consistency has improved from before I had received the net, and I believe that is largely due to the convenience of regular practice. Of course, there will always be the concerns with regards to the lack of feedback when hitting into a net compared to seeing the full ball flight, but in my case, I was using it to try to ingrain the feelings that my coach has been working on. I wasn’t worried about the ball flight as I needed to fix my swing before I worry about where it’s going. Having said that, combining the net with a launch monitor does appear to give some decent data collection possibility. I only used a basic radar launch monitor, but it picked up the large majority of shots, giving reasonable results. Without comparing against other technology or full ball flight, I can really only judge against consistency and believability. With that said, the combination worked well for me. I was able to hit every club through my bag against the Spornia net and get realistic gapping numbers that at least made sense. On course testing would refine those numbers, but it did give me a realistic basis to start from. With that said, there is not much more I could ask for from the Spornia net from a performance base. It does exactly what you expect it to do and it does it well with a number of nice quality touches that make it enjoyable to use.

    If I were to change anything about the net, it would definitely be the roof section. Something in the design, while effective, is a bit of an annoyance. In my testing, some of the issues could be solved by creating a way to “lock” the pieces of the roof support rod together so that it could be inserted through the channel without the rod pieces separating inside the channel. That slows down setup and take down. A thicker material for the channel itself that is not so prone to tearing would also be an improvement, but there is very little to complain about with this product.

    Miscellaneous (9 out of 10 points)
    There is definitely an attention to the important details when the Spornia net was designed. The addition of the roof to protect from errand high shots, the side netting to catch a few wild shots. Even the packaging is as minimal and effective as possible with no wasted space. If there is one complaint with the little things, it would be the communication from Spornia. All of the testers were basically left in the dark regarding the shipping status until alerts from Fedex started coming in that packages were on the way. I believe there was a supply issue around the intended delivery time that held up the product from being sent out to the testers, but the communication regarding any delays or updates on expected delivery could have been improved.

    Keep it or Trade it? (20 out of 20 points)
    I am going to be keeping the Spornia net as it does exactly what I expect it to without taking up a large section of real estate in the yard. It helps make practice significantly more convenient for me, as regular practice, even in small amounts, is better for my overall game than one long practice session each week. I feel that the asking price is fair for the quality. It does appear that Spornia has recently increased the price as it is now listed in the $260-300 range. That does place it near the top end of the range that I would be willing to pay. The net itself is very high quality and I like many of the features, including the ability to replace wear pieces like the impact screen (around $40), but the law of diminishing returns comes into effect at a certain price point for me. There are many other quality products to compete with this one. I definitely see myself getting a lot of future use for many years with this product as I continue to work on my game.


    Conclusion
    For a short version of my ramblings, the Spornia practice net can best be described as a very high quality practice net that is quick to set up, works well to both deaden the impact and return balls, and is portable enough that it can be stored away easily between sessions, reducing the necessary footprint. It is not without quirks and a few questionable design choices that increase frustration a bit with setup and breakdown, especially regarding the “roof” section. Depending on your personal application and use habits, these can be almost entirely ignored. While it is portable, I will not be planning to travel with it, and the ceiling height in my garage prevents it from achieving maximum use indoors. As a result of this, it will be used exclusively outdoors, so the portability only matters in that I can fold it up and store it out of the way.

    Final Score: (92 out of 100 points)
  6. Like
    RichL85 got a reaction from Ben_Howell34 in Spornia Compact Hitting Net   
    Greetings to all. I would first like to say how grateful I am to MGS and Spornia for the opportunity to test this product as well as the forum community in general. I’m still pretty new around here and it’s very likely that you don’t know anything about me. My name is Rich, and I moved to California two years ago. I am originally from north Texas, went to Colorado for college, moved to Houston to take a swing at a Ph.D program that didn’t work. Eventually moved to Florida when my wife received a job opportunity out there, and then I moved us all the way to California when a job opportunity for me came up. This will be my first test so be gentle! These two take up the majority of my time outside of work. 

    As a random note, I’m a natural lefty, but I golf as if I am right-handed. I was a switch hitter in baseball and played tennis left-handed so for whatever reason the right-handed golf swing is more natural to me. I am a chemical engineer by day working as a process engineer for a company that manufactures citrus processing equipment. I work with a small group within the company in Technical Research and Development, so I apologize in advance for being a data and numbers guy.

    I picked up golf in college because I took a part time job at the nearby Golfsmith, mainly to work in their tennis area as I was into tennis at that point. So much that I obtained Certified Stringer certification when I was 15 and later Master Racquet Technician around the age of 20. Being surrounded by all of the golf equipment and regularly fielding questions about golf, it piqued my interest in the game. I won’t lie, the added benefit of being able to make a little extra money based on Golfsmith’s commission scale was enticing for a college student. I worked there for about two and half years before graduating, doing a little bit of everything including fitting and a lot of club building.

    Two of my managers were former teaching pros so I had access to quality advice for my quirky swing. I typically played once or twice a week for about 18 months before I moved away from Colorado. Since then, I have played much less frequently as I have some anxiety issues with heading to the course by myself. Until about 4 months ago, my clubs were hiding in the garage, completely unused for the past four years since my youngest was born. I’ve never held a true handicap, but I was typically shooting right around 90 back when I was playing consistently. In a typical round, I would have a few catastrophic holes and play fairly solid the rest of the time. I’m still working on getting my swing back to where I would like it, but currently I’m topping out around 100 MPH. I could always use a little more swing speed, and that is something I’m currently working on, but I have also started working with a new coach to straighten up my swing.

    Due to family and work obligations, I’m lucky to get out to the range once a week, which is why I purchased a Callaway net and a Rapsodo MLM a few months ago to make it less inconvenient on everyone for me to practice. The Rapsodo is now gone because it was not a good fit for my use, and the net is already showing some signs of wear as well as being inconvenient from a portability standpoint. While it is technically portable, I don’t think anyone enjoys spending the time breaking one of those basic nets down into the 20 connector pieces and detaching the netting and packing it to move it, etc. I don’t want to, so I move it back and forth from the concrete patio out to the grass area in the back yard each time. I don't believe that I should be seeing this kind of damage from a 7-iron at a month of use. 

    I’m excited for the Spornia net as it looks to be much more portable and also much more convenient for indoor use. With my kids' stuff taking up so much space, I don’t have a ton of indoor space, but I have room in the garage to be able to use it for some feel type practice. The ceiling in my garage is too low for full swings at my height, but I could use the shorter wedge practice anyway. For this test, the main things I’m looking at are the convenience, portability, and durability. I want to be able to set it up and take it down each time without spending a lot of time, and I want to be able to move it from outside to inside and back again without significant hassle. I know for myself, if practice isn’t convenient, it’s hard to find time amongst the other obligations of the day.

    With all of that out of the way, please feel free to ask any questions that may help to direct my testing for specific applications that may be helpful to you. What’s useful to me, may not be important to you and my overall hope is to provide information that can help the majority.
    First Impressions
    First impression of the packaging of the product promised a compact form with no wasted materials. There is no need for excessive cardboard or extra packaging and the item arrived without any damage despite FedEx losing it for a few days. At first glance of the small form factor, it’s difficult to believe this opens up as large as it does. Instructions for setting it up are very simple and quick, though one section is a bit tedious. Compared against the basic Callaway net I had been using, having a full impact screen section was a huge upgrade. For a size comparison in a garage type area, the net and hitting mat would take up about the same amount of space as a typical vehicle. Personally, I was only able to hit half-swing wedges indoors, but that is due to the low ceiling, not an issue with the net itself.
           

    Quality of components (8 out of 10 points) 
    The quality of the net, frame, and impact screen are all top notch. I deducted points for some of the extra things. For example, the carry bag is functional, but fairly thin and I fear for the longevity of the stitching on the Velcro closure straps. Another point was deducted for a small tear in the channel that holds the thin rod holding up the “roof” portion. While I love the concept of the top portion to catch especially high wedge shots or perhaps a skied driver, feeding the rod through the channel was by far the most frustrating thing about this product. As my net was outdoors the majority of the time, I got to the point of leaving the roof rod in and folding the net flat before leaning up against the house. While it definitely defeats the portability aspect of the net, it saved me minutes of frustration and I was able to have the net set up in about 25 seconds.

    The folding mechanism for the net is a little hard to describe, and not necessarily the most intuitive, but it is highly effective. I think the best feature for portability is that the majority of the net is one connected piece. It is the entire frame, netting, and impact screen as one piece, and then three multi-section rods that fit in a separate bag before adding to the main bag. The carrying bag is a little awkward to travel with because it is flat, but fairly large. I felt like it took up a lot less space when I had it standing, propped up against something rather than laying flat. By comparison to the basic Callaway net, that folds up into a small cylinder shaped bag, but it also includes about 13 individual sections that have to be taken apart and reassembled each time, versus opening the bag and letting the Spornia net practically unfold itself waiting for the two main rods to raise the back section. Definitely points for Spornia on that one.

    Ease of use (9 out of 10 points) 
    At the end of the day, this is a practice net. It is pretty obvious how to use it, and also obvious how to set it up. The one point deducted for ease of use is purely due to the roof section. The support rod for the roof section is a connected 5 piece rod that you feed through a curved channel before putting the ends into eyelets to hold the roof. I had a few issues with getting the rod both in and out of the channel without the sections separating inside. The sections are all connected via string, but it is difficult to move the rod inside the channel in one smooth motion. In complete honesty, if I were to frequently move the net, I probably wouldn’t even bother with setting up the roof section unless I was specifically planning to hit my high lofted wedges.
     
    Basic Characteristics (19 out of 20 points)
    Compared to my experiences with other practice nets, the Spornia net made the idea of practicing much more enticing. Not having to spend 10 minutes setting everything up, constantly retrieving balls, having balls randomly sneak through the gaps around the edges. These little things matter when it comes to getting in that little bit of practice. Keeping the net partially assembled and set against the house. I can have the net and mat set up in less time than it takes me decide what club to practice with first. That kind of convenience cannot be beat. By comparison, the closest driving range options are about a 15 minute drive, $12 a bucket, and generally pretty busy, especially at times when I could go. With the daylight disappearing so early right now, this is the best way for me to get a little bit of practice in each day rather than maybe one session a week at the range.

    Spornia did include a chipping target that could be set up for those types of shots. I only tried it out a few times and it worked fine for what it is. I don’t see myself using the chipping target all that much personally as chipping off a mat just doesn’t do it for me.


    Since I have somewhat of a quirky, timing-based swing, having the ability to consistently practice has helped my consistency quite a bit. I also started working with a coach and the net eliminates another excuse that is so easy to make when it comes to practice. As far as practice nets go, this one is by far the nicest one that I have used and any flaws are truly being nit-picky. Things like the fact that while the ball does get returned to the front of the net, the mesh “lip” is a decent amount overlapping, so I have to kind of reach back into the gap and dig the ball out versus if it was a straighter mesh lip. I believe the size is in a good spot with being big enough that it makes it very hard to miss the net, without being something that is going to permanently take up a small building worth of space. As am I currently renting, I don’t want to leave the net on the grass 100% of the time and risk the lawn, but I can easily take out two poles and set it against the house. Less than a minute of time and it is off of the yard and out of the way of everyone else.


    On-Course Performance (27 out of 30 points)
    Up until recently, I had not played an actual round of golf in about 5 years due to family and work obligations, so it’s impossible for me to definitively prove that this net and the resulting practice improved my scores. I can say that my ball striking consistency has improved from before I had received the net, and I believe that is largely due to the convenience of regular practice. Of course, there will always be the concerns with regards to the lack of feedback when hitting into a net compared to seeing the full ball flight, but in my case, I was using it to try to ingrain the feelings that my coach has been working on. I wasn’t worried about the ball flight as I needed to fix my swing before I worry about where it’s going. Having said that, combining the net with a launch monitor does appear to give some decent data collection possibility. I only used a basic radar launch monitor, but it picked up the large majority of shots, giving reasonable results. Without comparing against other technology or full ball flight, I can really only judge against consistency and believability. With that said, the combination worked well for me. I was able to hit every club through my bag against the Spornia net and get realistic gapping numbers that at least made sense. On course testing would refine those numbers, but it did give me a realistic basis to start from. With that said, there is not much more I could ask for from the Spornia net from a performance base. It does exactly what you expect it to do and it does it well with a number of nice quality touches that make it enjoyable to use.

    If I were to change anything about the net, it would definitely be the roof section. Something in the design, while effective, is a bit of an annoyance. In my testing, some of the issues could be solved by creating a way to “lock” the pieces of the roof support rod together so that it could be inserted through the channel without the rod pieces separating inside the channel. That slows down setup and take down. A thicker material for the channel itself that is not so prone to tearing would also be an improvement, but there is very little to complain about with this product.

    Miscellaneous (9 out of 10 points)
    There is definitely an attention to the important details when the Spornia net was designed. The addition of the roof to protect from errand high shots, the side netting to catch a few wild shots. Even the packaging is as minimal and effective as possible with no wasted space. If there is one complaint with the little things, it would be the communication from Spornia. All of the testers were basically left in the dark regarding the shipping status until alerts from Fedex started coming in that packages were on the way. I believe there was a supply issue around the intended delivery time that held up the product from being sent out to the testers, but the communication regarding any delays or updates on expected delivery could have been improved.

    Keep it or Trade it? (20 out of 20 points)
    I am going to be keeping the Spornia net as it does exactly what I expect it to without taking up a large section of real estate in the yard. It helps make practice significantly more convenient for me, as regular practice, even in small amounts, is better for my overall game than one long practice session each week. I feel that the asking price is fair for the quality. It does appear that Spornia has recently increased the price as it is now listed in the $260-300 range. That does place it near the top end of the range that I would be willing to pay. The net itself is very high quality and I like many of the features, including the ability to replace wear pieces like the impact screen (around $40), but the law of diminishing returns comes into effect at a certain price point for me. There are many other quality products to compete with this one. I definitely see myself getting a lot of future use for many years with this product as I continue to work on my game.


    Conclusion
    For a short version of my ramblings, the Spornia practice net can best be described as a very high quality practice net that is quick to set up, works well to both deaden the impact and return balls, and is portable enough that it can be stored away easily between sessions, reducing the necessary footprint. It is not without quirks and a few questionable design choices that increase frustration a bit with setup and breakdown, especially regarding the “roof” section. Depending on your personal application and use habits, these can be almost entirely ignored. While it is portable, I will not be planning to travel with it, and the ceiling height in my garage prevents it from achieving maximum use indoors. As a result of this, it will be used exclusively outdoors, so the portability only matters in that I can fold it up and store it out of the way.

    Final Score: (92 out of 100 points)
  7. Like
    RichL85 got a reaction from sirchunksalot in Spornia Compact Hitting Net   
    Greetings to all. I would first like to say how grateful I am to MGS and Spornia for the opportunity to test this product as well as the forum community in general. I’m still pretty new around here and it’s very likely that you don’t know anything about me. My name is Rich, and I moved to California two years ago. I am originally from north Texas, went to Colorado for college, moved to Houston to take a swing at a Ph.D program that didn’t work. Eventually moved to Florida when my wife received a job opportunity out there, and then I moved us all the way to California when a job opportunity for me came up. This will be my first test so be gentle! These two take up the majority of my time outside of work. 

    As a random note, I’m a natural lefty, but I golf as if I am right-handed. I was a switch hitter in baseball and played tennis left-handed so for whatever reason the right-handed golf swing is more natural to me. I am a chemical engineer by day working as a process engineer for a company that manufactures citrus processing equipment. I work with a small group within the company in Technical Research and Development, so I apologize in advance for being a data and numbers guy.

    I picked up golf in college because I took a part time job at the nearby Golfsmith, mainly to work in their tennis area as I was into tennis at that point. So much that I obtained Certified Stringer certification when I was 15 and later Master Racquet Technician around the age of 20. Being surrounded by all of the golf equipment and regularly fielding questions about golf, it piqued my interest in the game. I won’t lie, the added benefit of being able to make a little extra money based on Golfsmith’s commission scale was enticing for a college student. I worked there for about two and half years before graduating, doing a little bit of everything including fitting and a lot of club building.

    Two of my managers were former teaching pros so I had access to quality advice for my quirky swing. I typically played once or twice a week for about 18 months before I moved away from Colorado. Since then, I have played much less frequently as I have some anxiety issues with heading to the course by myself. Until about 4 months ago, my clubs were hiding in the garage, completely unused for the past four years since my youngest was born. I’ve never held a true handicap, but I was typically shooting right around 90 back when I was playing consistently. In a typical round, I would have a few catastrophic holes and play fairly solid the rest of the time. I’m still working on getting my swing back to where I would like it, but currently I’m topping out around 100 MPH. I could always use a little more swing speed, and that is something I’m currently working on, but I have also started working with a new coach to straighten up my swing.

    Due to family and work obligations, I’m lucky to get out to the range once a week, which is why I purchased a Callaway net and a Rapsodo MLM a few months ago to make it less inconvenient on everyone for me to practice. The Rapsodo is now gone because it was not a good fit for my use, and the net is already showing some signs of wear as well as being inconvenient from a portability standpoint. While it is technically portable, I don’t think anyone enjoys spending the time breaking one of those basic nets down into the 20 connector pieces and detaching the netting and packing it to move it, etc. I don’t want to, so I move it back and forth from the concrete patio out to the grass area in the back yard each time. I don't believe that I should be seeing this kind of damage from a 7-iron at a month of use. 

    I’m excited for the Spornia net as it looks to be much more portable and also much more convenient for indoor use. With my kids' stuff taking up so much space, I don’t have a ton of indoor space, but I have room in the garage to be able to use it for some feel type practice. The ceiling in my garage is too low for full swings at my height, but I could use the shorter wedge practice anyway. For this test, the main things I’m looking at are the convenience, portability, and durability. I want to be able to set it up and take it down each time without spending a lot of time, and I want to be able to move it from outside to inside and back again without significant hassle. I know for myself, if practice isn’t convenient, it’s hard to find time amongst the other obligations of the day.

    With all of that out of the way, please feel free to ask any questions that may help to direct my testing for specific applications that may be helpful to you. What’s useful to me, may not be important to you and my overall hope is to provide information that can help the majority.
    First Impressions
    First impression of the packaging of the product promised a compact form with no wasted materials. There is no need for excessive cardboard or extra packaging and the item arrived without any damage despite FedEx losing it for a few days. At first glance of the small form factor, it’s difficult to believe this opens up as large as it does. Instructions for setting it up are very simple and quick, though one section is a bit tedious. Compared against the basic Callaway net I had been using, having a full impact screen section was a huge upgrade. For a size comparison in a garage type area, the net and hitting mat would take up about the same amount of space as a typical vehicle. Personally, I was only able to hit half-swing wedges indoors, but that is due to the low ceiling, not an issue with the net itself.
           

    Quality of components (8 out of 10 points) 
    The quality of the net, frame, and impact screen are all top notch. I deducted points for some of the extra things. For example, the carry bag is functional, but fairly thin and I fear for the longevity of the stitching on the Velcro closure straps. Another point was deducted for a small tear in the channel that holds the thin rod holding up the “roof” portion. While I love the concept of the top portion to catch especially high wedge shots or perhaps a skied driver, feeding the rod through the channel was by far the most frustrating thing about this product. As my net was outdoors the majority of the time, I got to the point of leaving the roof rod in and folding the net flat before leaning up against the house. While it definitely defeats the portability aspect of the net, it saved me minutes of frustration and I was able to have the net set up in about 25 seconds.

    The folding mechanism for the net is a little hard to describe, and not necessarily the most intuitive, but it is highly effective. I think the best feature for portability is that the majority of the net is one connected piece. It is the entire frame, netting, and impact screen as one piece, and then three multi-section rods that fit in a separate bag before adding to the main bag. The carrying bag is a little awkward to travel with because it is flat, but fairly large. I felt like it took up a lot less space when I had it standing, propped up against something rather than laying flat. By comparison to the basic Callaway net, that folds up into a small cylinder shaped bag, but it also includes about 13 individual sections that have to be taken apart and reassembled each time, versus opening the bag and letting the Spornia net practically unfold itself waiting for the two main rods to raise the back section. Definitely points for Spornia on that one.

    Ease of use (9 out of 10 points) 
    At the end of the day, this is a practice net. It is pretty obvious how to use it, and also obvious how to set it up. The one point deducted for ease of use is purely due to the roof section. The support rod for the roof section is a connected 5 piece rod that you feed through a curved channel before putting the ends into eyelets to hold the roof. I had a few issues with getting the rod both in and out of the channel without the sections separating inside. The sections are all connected via string, but it is difficult to move the rod inside the channel in one smooth motion. In complete honesty, if I were to frequently move the net, I probably wouldn’t even bother with setting up the roof section unless I was specifically planning to hit my high lofted wedges.
     
    Basic Characteristics (19 out of 20 points)
    Compared to my experiences with other practice nets, the Spornia net made the idea of practicing much more enticing. Not having to spend 10 minutes setting everything up, constantly retrieving balls, having balls randomly sneak through the gaps around the edges. These little things matter when it comes to getting in that little bit of practice. Keeping the net partially assembled and set against the house. I can have the net and mat set up in less time than it takes me decide what club to practice with first. That kind of convenience cannot be beat. By comparison, the closest driving range options are about a 15 minute drive, $12 a bucket, and generally pretty busy, especially at times when I could go. With the daylight disappearing so early right now, this is the best way for me to get a little bit of practice in each day rather than maybe one session a week at the range.

    Spornia did include a chipping target that could be set up for those types of shots. I only tried it out a few times and it worked fine for what it is. I don’t see myself using the chipping target all that much personally as chipping off a mat just doesn’t do it for me.


    Since I have somewhat of a quirky, timing-based swing, having the ability to consistently practice has helped my consistency quite a bit. I also started working with a coach and the net eliminates another excuse that is so easy to make when it comes to practice. As far as practice nets go, this one is by far the nicest one that I have used and any flaws are truly being nit-picky. Things like the fact that while the ball does get returned to the front of the net, the mesh “lip” is a decent amount overlapping, so I have to kind of reach back into the gap and dig the ball out versus if it was a straighter mesh lip. I believe the size is in a good spot with being big enough that it makes it very hard to miss the net, without being something that is going to permanently take up a small building worth of space. As am I currently renting, I don’t want to leave the net on the grass 100% of the time and risk the lawn, but I can easily take out two poles and set it against the house. Less than a minute of time and it is off of the yard and out of the way of everyone else.


    On-Course Performance (27 out of 30 points)
    Up until recently, I had not played an actual round of golf in about 5 years due to family and work obligations, so it’s impossible for me to definitively prove that this net and the resulting practice improved my scores. I can say that my ball striking consistency has improved from before I had received the net, and I believe that is largely due to the convenience of regular practice. Of course, there will always be the concerns with regards to the lack of feedback when hitting into a net compared to seeing the full ball flight, but in my case, I was using it to try to ingrain the feelings that my coach has been working on. I wasn’t worried about the ball flight as I needed to fix my swing before I worry about where it’s going. Having said that, combining the net with a launch monitor does appear to give some decent data collection possibility. I only used a basic radar launch monitor, but it picked up the large majority of shots, giving reasonable results. Without comparing against other technology or full ball flight, I can really only judge against consistency and believability. With that said, the combination worked well for me. I was able to hit every club through my bag against the Spornia net and get realistic gapping numbers that at least made sense. On course testing would refine those numbers, but it did give me a realistic basis to start from. With that said, there is not much more I could ask for from the Spornia net from a performance base. It does exactly what you expect it to do and it does it well with a number of nice quality touches that make it enjoyable to use.

    If I were to change anything about the net, it would definitely be the roof section. Something in the design, while effective, is a bit of an annoyance. In my testing, some of the issues could be solved by creating a way to “lock” the pieces of the roof support rod together so that it could be inserted through the channel without the rod pieces separating inside the channel. That slows down setup and take down. A thicker material for the channel itself that is not so prone to tearing would also be an improvement, but there is very little to complain about with this product.

    Miscellaneous (9 out of 10 points)
    There is definitely an attention to the important details when the Spornia net was designed. The addition of the roof to protect from errand high shots, the side netting to catch a few wild shots. Even the packaging is as minimal and effective as possible with no wasted space. If there is one complaint with the little things, it would be the communication from Spornia. All of the testers were basically left in the dark regarding the shipping status until alerts from Fedex started coming in that packages were on the way. I believe there was a supply issue around the intended delivery time that held up the product from being sent out to the testers, but the communication regarding any delays or updates on expected delivery could have been improved.

    Keep it or Trade it? (20 out of 20 points)
    I am going to be keeping the Spornia net as it does exactly what I expect it to without taking up a large section of real estate in the yard. It helps make practice significantly more convenient for me, as regular practice, even in small amounts, is better for my overall game than one long practice session each week. I feel that the asking price is fair for the quality. It does appear that Spornia has recently increased the price as it is now listed in the $260-300 range. That does place it near the top end of the range that I would be willing to pay. The net itself is very high quality and I like many of the features, including the ability to replace wear pieces like the impact screen (around $40), but the law of diminishing returns comes into effect at a certain price point for me. There are many other quality products to compete with this one. I definitely see myself getting a lot of future use for many years with this product as I continue to work on my game.


    Conclusion
    For a short version of my ramblings, the Spornia practice net can best be described as a very high quality practice net that is quick to set up, works well to both deaden the impact and return balls, and is portable enough that it can be stored away easily between sessions, reducing the necessary footprint. It is not without quirks and a few questionable design choices that increase frustration a bit with setup and breakdown, especially regarding the “roof” section. Depending on your personal application and use habits, these can be almost entirely ignored. While it is portable, I will not be planning to travel with it, and the ceiling height in my garage prevents it from achieving maximum use indoors. As a result of this, it will be used exclusively outdoors, so the portability only matters in that I can fold it up and store it out of the way.

    Final Score: (92 out of 100 points)
  8. Like
    RichL85 got a reaction from TR1PTIK in Spornia Compact Hitting Net   
    Greetings to all. I would first like to say how grateful I am to MGS and Spornia for the opportunity to test this product as well as the forum community in general. I’m still pretty new around here and it’s very likely that you don’t know anything about me. My name is Rich, and I moved to California two years ago. I am originally from north Texas, went to Colorado for college, moved to Houston to take a swing at a Ph.D program that didn’t work. Eventually moved to Florida when my wife received a job opportunity out there, and then I moved us all the way to California when a job opportunity for me came up. This will be my first test so be gentle! These two take up the majority of my time outside of work. 

    As a random note, I’m a natural lefty, but I golf as if I am right-handed. I was a switch hitter in baseball and played tennis left-handed so for whatever reason the right-handed golf swing is more natural to me. I am a chemical engineer by day working as a process engineer for a company that manufactures citrus processing equipment. I work with a small group within the company in Technical Research and Development, so I apologize in advance for being a data and numbers guy.

    I picked up golf in college because I took a part time job at the nearby Golfsmith, mainly to work in their tennis area as I was into tennis at that point. So much that I obtained Certified Stringer certification when I was 15 and later Master Racquet Technician around the age of 20. Being surrounded by all of the golf equipment and regularly fielding questions about golf, it piqued my interest in the game. I won’t lie, the added benefit of being able to make a little extra money based on Golfsmith’s commission scale was enticing for a college student. I worked there for about two and half years before graduating, doing a little bit of everything including fitting and a lot of club building.

    Two of my managers were former teaching pros so I had access to quality advice for my quirky swing. I typically played once or twice a week for about 18 months before I moved away from Colorado. Since then, I have played much less frequently as I have some anxiety issues with heading to the course by myself. Until about 4 months ago, my clubs were hiding in the garage, completely unused for the past four years since my youngest was born. I’ve never held a true handicap, but I was typically shooting right around 90 back when I was playing consistently. In a typical round, I would have a few catastrophic holes and play fairly solid the rest of the time. I’m still working on getting my swing back to where I would like it, but currently I’m topping out around 100 MPH. I could always use a little more swing speed, and that is something I’m currently working on, but I have also started working with a new coach to straighten up my swing.

    Due to family and work obligations, I’m lucky to get out to the range once a week, which is why I purchased a Callaway net and a Rapsodo MLM a few months ago to make it less inconvenient on everyone for me to practice. The Rapsodo is now gone because it was not a good fit for my use, and the net is already showing some signs of wear as well as being inconvenient from a portability standpoint. While it is technically portable, I don’t think anyone enjoys spending the time breaking one of those basic nets down into the 20 connector pieces and detaching the netting and packing it to move it, etc. I don’t want to, so I move it back and forth from the concrete patio out to the grass area in the back yard each time. I don't believe that I should be seeing this kind of damage from a 7-iron at a month of use. 

    I’m excited for the Spornia net as it looks to be much more portable and also much more convenient for indoor use. With my kids' stuff taking up so much space, I don’t have a ton of indoor space, but I have room in the garage to be able to use it for some feel type practice. The ceiling in my garage is too low for full swings at my height, but I could use the shorter wedge practice anyway. For this test, the main things I’m looking at are the convenience, portability, and durability. I want to be able to set it up and take it down each time without spending a lot of time, and I want to be able to move it from outside to inside and back again without significant hassle. I know for myself, if practice isn’t convenient, it’s hard to find time amongst the other obligations of the day.

    With all of that out of the way, please feel free to ask any questions that may help to direct my testing for specific applications that may be helpful to you. What’s useful to me, may not be important to you and my overall hope is to provide information that can help the majority.
    First Impressions
    First impression of the packaging of the product promised a compact form with no wasted materials. There is no need for excessive cardboard or extra packaging and the item arrived without any damage despite FedEx losing it for a few days. At first glance of the small form factor, it’s difficult to believe this opens up as large as it does. Instructions for setting it up are very simple and quick, though one section is a bit tedious. Compared against the basic Callaway net I had been using, having a full impact screen section was a huge upgrade. For a size comparison in a garage type area, the net and hitting mat would take up about the same amount of space as a typical vehicle. Personally, I was only able to hit half-swing wedges indoors, but that is due to the low ceiling, not an issue with the net itself.
           

    Quality of components (8 out of 10 points) 
    The quality of the net, frame, and impact screen are all top notch. I deducted points for some of the extra things. For example, the carry bag is functional, but fairly thin and I fear for the longevity of the stitching on the Velcro closure straps. Another point was deducted for a small tear in the channel that holds the thin rod holding up the “roof” portion. While I love the concept of the top portion to catch especially high wedge shots or perhaps a skied driver, feeding the rod through the channel was by far the most frustrating thing about this product. As my net was outdoors the majority of the time, I got to the point of leaving the roof rod in and folding the net flat before leaning up against the house. While it definitely defeats the portability aspect of the net, it saved me minutes of frustration and I was able to have the net set up in about 25 seconds.

    The folding mechanism for the net is a little hard to describe, and not necessarily the most intuitive, but it is highly effective. I think the best feature for portability is that the majority of the net is one connected piece. It is the entire frame, netting, and impact screen as one piece, and then three multi-section rods that fit in a separate bag before adding to the main bag. The carrying bag is a little awkward to travel with because it is flat, but fairly large. I felt like it took up a lot less space when I had it standing, propped up against something rather than laying flat. By comparison to the basic Callaway net, that folds up into a small cylinder shaped bag, but it also includes about 13 individual sections that have to be taken apart and reassembled each time, versus opening the bag and letting the Spornia net practically unfold itself waiting for the two main rods to raise the back section. Definitely points for Spornia on that one.

    Ease of use (9 out of 10 points) 
    At the end of the day, this is a practice net. It is pretty obvious how to use it, and also obvious how to set it up. The one point deducted for ease of use is purely due to the roof section. The support rod for the roof section is a connected 5 piece rod that you feed through a curved channel before putting the ends into eyelets to hold the roof. I had a few issues with getting the rod both in and out of the channel without the sections separating inside. The sections are all connected via string, but it is difficult to move the rod inside the channel in one smooth motion. In complete honesty, if I were to frequently move the net, I probably wouldn’t even bother with setting up the roof section unless I was specifically planning to hit my high lofted wedges.
     
    Basic Characteristics (19 out of 20 points)
    Compared to my experiences with other practice nets, the Spornia net made the idea of practicing much more enticing. Not having to spend 10 minutes setting everything up, constantly retrieving balls, having balls randomly sneak through the gaps around the edges. These little things matter when it comes to getting in that little bit of practice. Keeping the net partially assembled and set against the house. I can have the net and mat set up in less time than it takes me decide what club to practice with first. That kind of convenience cannot be beat. By comparison, the closest driving range options are about a 15 minute drive, $12 a bucket, and generally pretty busy, especially at times when I could go. With the daylight disappearing so early right now, this is the best way for me to get a little bit of practice in each day rather than maybe one session a week at the range.

    Spornia did include a chipping target that could be set up for those types of shots. I only tried it out a few times and it worked fine for what it is. I don’t see myself using the chipping target all that much personally as chipping off a mat just doesn’t do it for me.


    Since I have somewhat of a quirky, timing-based swing, having the ability to consistently practice has helped my consistency quite a bit. I also started working with a coach and the net eliminates another excuse that is so easy to make when it comes to practice. As far as practice nets go, this one is by far the nicest one that I have used and any flaws are truly being nit-picky. Things like the fact that while the ball does get returned to the front of the net, the mesh “lip” is a decent amount overlapping, so I have to kind of reach back into the gap and dig the ball out versus if it was a straighter mesh lip. I believe the size is in a good spot with being big enough that it makes it very hard to miss the net, without being something that is going to permanently take up a small building worth of space. As am I currently renting, I don’t want to leave the net on the grass 100% of the time and risk the lawn, but I can easily take out two poles and set it against the house. Less than a minute of time and it is off of the yard and out of the way of everyone else.


    On-Course Performance (27 out of 30 points)
    Up until recently, I had not played an actual round of golf in about 5 years due to family and work obligations, so it’s impossible for me to definitively prove that this net and the resulting practice improved my scores. I can say that my ball striking consistency has improved from before I had received the net, and I believe that is largely due to the convenience of regular practice. Of course, there will always be the concerns with regards to the lack of feedback when hitting into a net compared to seeing the full ball flight, but in my case, I was using it to try to ingrain the feelings that my coach has been working on. I wasn’t worried about the ball flight as I needed to fix my swing before I worry about where it’s going. Having said that, combining the net with a launch monitor does appear to give some decent data collection possibility. I only used a basic radar launch monitor, but it picked up the large majority of shots, giving reasonable results. Without comparing against other technology or full ball flight, I can really only judge against consistency and believability. With that said, the combination worked well for me. I was able to hit every club through my bag against the Spornia net and get realistic gapping numbers that at least made sense. On course testing would refine those numbers, but it did give me a realistic basis to start from. With that said, there is not much more I could ask for from the Spornia net from a performance base. It does exactly what you expect it to do and it does it well with a number of nice quality touches that make it enjoyable to use.

    If I were to change anything about the net, it would definitely be the roof section. Something in the design, while effective, is a bit of an annoyance. In my testing, some of the issues could be solved by creating a way to “lock” the pieces of the roof support rod together so that it could be inserted through the channel without the rod pieces separating inside the channel. That slows down setup and take down. A thicker material for the channel itself that is not so prone to tearing would also be an improvement, but there is very little to complain about with this product.

    Miscellaneous (9 out of 10 points)
    There is definitely an attention to the important details when the Spornia net was designed. The addition of the roof to protect from errand high shots, the side netting to catch a few wild shots. Even the packaging is as minimal and effective as possible with no wasted space. If there is one complaint with the little things, it would be the communication from Spornia. All of the testers were basically left in the dark regarding the shipping status until alerts from Fedex started coming in that packages were on the way. I believe there was a supply issue around the intended delivery time that held up the product from being sent out to the testers, but the communication regarding any delays or updates on expected delivery could have been improved.

    Keep it or Trade it? (20 out of 20 points)
    I am going to be keeping the Spornia net as it does exactly what I expect it to without taking up a large section of real estate in the yard. It helps make practice significantly more convenient for me, as regular practice, even in small amounts, is better for my overall game than one long practice session each week. I feel that the asking price is fair for the quality. It does appear that Spornia has recently increased the price as it is now listed in the $260-300 range. That does place it near the top end of the range that I would be willing to pay. The net itself is very high quality and I like many of the features, including the ability to replace wear pieces like the impact screen (around $40), but the law of diminishing returns comes into effect at a certain price point for me. There are many other quality products to compete with this one. I definitely see myself getting a lot of future use for many years with this product as I continue to work on my game.


    Conclusion
    For a short version of my ramblings, the Spornia practice net can best be described as a very high quality practice net that is quick to set up, works well to both deaden the impact and return balls, and is portable enough that it can be stored away easily between sessions, reducing the necessary footprint. It is not without quirks and a few questionable design choices that increase frustration a bit with setup and breakdown, especially regarding the “roof” section. Depending on your personal application and use habits, these can be almost entirely ignored. While it is portable, I will not be planning to travel with it, and the ceiling height in my garage prevents it from achieving maximum use indoors. As a result of this, it will be used exclusively outdoors, so the portability only matters in that I can fold it up and store it out of the way.

    Final Score: (92 out of 100 points)
  9. Like
    RichL85 got a reaction from Thin2win in Spornia Compact Hitting Net   
    Greetings to all. I would first like to say how grateful I am to MGS and Spornia for the opportunity to test this product as well as the forum community in general. I’m still pretty new around here and it’s very likely that you don’t know anything about me. My name is Rich, and I moved to California two years ago. I am originally from north Texas, went to Colorado for college, moved to Houston to take a swing at a Ph.D program that didn’t work. Eventually moved to Florida when my wife received a job opportunity out there, and then I moved us all the way to California when a job opportunity for me came up. This will be my first test so be gentle! These two take up the majority of my time outside of work. 

    As a random note, I’m a natural lefty, but I golf as if I am right-handed. I was a switch hitter in baseball and played tennis left-handed so for whatever reason the right-handed golf swing is more natural to me. I am a chemical engineer by day working as a process engineer for a company that manufactures citrus processing equipment. I work with a small group within the company in Technical Research and Development, so I apologize in advance for being a data and numbers guy.

    I picked up golf in college because I took a part time job at the nearby Golfsmith, mainly to work in their tennis area as I was into tennis at that point. So much that I obtained Certified Stringer certification when I was 15 and later Master Racquet Technician around the age of 20. Being surrounded by all of the golf equipment and regularly fielding questions about golf, it piqued my interest in the game. I won’t lie, the added benefit of being able to make a little extra money based on Golfsmith’s commission scale was enticing for a college student. I worked there for about two and half years before graduating, doing a little bit of everything including fitting and a lot of club building.

    Two of my managers were former teaching pros so I had access to quality advice for my quirky swing. I typically played once or twice a week for about 18 months before I moved away from Colorado. Since then, I have played much less frequently as I have some anxiety issues with heading to the course by myself. Until about 4 months ago, my clubs were hiding in the garage, completely unused for the past four years since my youngest was born. I’ve never held a true handicap, but I was typically shooting right around 90 back when I was playing consistently. In a typical round, I would have a few catastrophic holes and play fairly solid the rest of the time. I’m still working on getting my swing back to where I would like it, but currently I’m topping out around 100 MPH. I could always use a little more swing speed, and that is something I’m currently working on, but I have also started working with a new coach to straighten up my swing.

    Due to family and work obligations, I’m lucky to get out to the range once a week, which is why I purchased a Callaway net and a Rapsodo MLM a few months ago to make it less inconvenient on everyone for me to practice. The Rapsodo is now gone because it was not a good fit for my use, and the net is already showing some signs of wear as well as being inconvenient from a portability standpoint. While it is technically portable, I don’t think anyone enjoys spending the time breaking one of those basic nets down into the 20 connector pieces and detaching the netting and packing it to move it, etc. I don’t want to, so I move it back and forth from the concrete patio out to the grass area in the back yard each time. I don't believe that I should be seeing this kind of damage from a 7-iron at a month of use. 

    I’m excited for the Spornia net as it looks to be much more portable and also much more convenient for indoor use. With my kids' stuff taking up so much space, I don’t have a ton of indoor space, but I have room in the garage to be able to use it for some feel type practice. The ceiling in my garage is too low for full swings at my height, but I could use the shorter wedge practice anyway. For this test, the main things I’m looking at are the convenience, portability, and durability. I want to be able to set it up and take it down each time without spending a lot of time, and I want to be able to move it from outside to inside and back again without significant hassle. I know for myself, if practice isn’t convenient, it’s hard to find time amongst the other obligations of the day.

    With all of that out of the way, please feel free to ask any questions that may help to direct my testing for specific applications that may be helpful to you. What’s useful to me, may not be important to you and my overall hope is to provide information that can help the majority.
    First Impressions
    First impression of the packaging of the product promised a compact form with no wasted materials. There is no need for excessive cardboard or extra packaging and the item arrived without any damage despite FedEx losing it for a few days. At first glance of the small form factor, it’s difficult to believe this opens up as large as it does. Instructions for setting it up are very simple and quick, though one section is a bit tedious. Compared against the basic Callaway net I had been using, having a full impact screen section was a huge upgrade. For a size comparison in a garage type area, the net and hitting mat would take up about the same amount of space as a typical vehicle. Personally, I was only able to hit half-swing wedges indoors, but that is due to the low ceiling, not an issue with the net itself.
           

    Quality of components (8 out of 10 points) 
    The quality of the net, frame, and impact screen are all top notch. I deducted points for some of the extra things. For example, the carry bag is functional, but fairly thin and I fear for the longevity of the stitching on the Velcro closure straps. Another point was deducted for a small tear in the channel that holds the thin rod holding up the “roof” portion. While I love the concept of the top portion to catch especially high wedge shots or perhaps a skied driver, feeding the rod through the channel was by far the most frustrating thing about this product. As my net was outdoors the majority of the time, I got to the point of leaving the roof rod in and folding the net flat before leaning up against the house. While it definitely defeats the portability aspect of the net, it saved me minutes of frustration and I was able to have the net set up in about 25 seconds.

    The folding mechanism for the net is a little hard to describe, and not necessarily the most intuitive, but it is highly effective. I think the best feature for portability is that the majority of the net is one connected piece. It is the entire frame, netting, and impact screen as one piece, and then three multi-section rods that fit in a separate bag before adding to the main bag. The carrying bag is a little awkward to travel with because it is flat, but fairly large. I felt like it took up a lot less space when I had it standing, propped up against something rather than laying flat. By comparison to the basic Callaway net, that folds up into a small cylinder shaped bag, but it also includes about 13 individual sections that have to be taken apart and reassembled each time, versus opening the bag and letting the Spornia net practically unfold itself waiting for the two main rods to raise the back section. Definitely points for Spornia on that one.

    Ease of use (9 out of 10 points) 
    At the end of the day, this is a practice net. It is pretty obvious how to use it, and also obvious how to set it up. The one point deducted for ease of use is purely due to the roof section. The support rod for the roof section is a connected 5 piece rod that you feed through a curved channel before putting the ends into eyelets to hold the roof. I had a few issues with getting the rod both in and out of the channel without the sections separating inside. The sections are all connected via string, but it is difficult to move the rod inside the channel in one smooth motion. In complete honesty, if I were to frequently move the net, I probably wouldn’t even bother with setting up the roof section unless I was specifically planning to hit my high lofted wedges.
     
    Basic Characteristics (19 out of 20 points)
    Compared to my experiences with other practice nets, the Spornia net made the idea of practicing much more enticing. Not having to spend 10 minutes setting everything up, constantly retrieving balls, having balls randomly sneak through the gaps around the edges. These little things matter when it comes to getting in that little bit of practice. Keeping the net partially assembled and set against the house. I can have the net and mat set up in less time than it takes me decide what club to practice with first. That kind of convenience cannot be beat. By comparison, the closest driving range options are about a 15 minute drive, $12 a bucket, and generally pretty busy, especially at times when I could go. With the daylight disappearing so early right now, this is the best way for me to get a little bit of practice in each day rather than maybe one session a week at the range.

    Spornia did include a chipping target that could be set up for those types of shots. I only tried it out a few times and it worked fine for what it is. I don’t see myself using the chipping target all that much personally as chipping off a mat just doesn’t do it for me.


    Since I have somewhat of a quirky, timing-based swing, having the ability to consistently practice has helped my consistency quite a bit. I also started working with a coach and the net eliminates another excuse that is so easy to make when it comes to practice. As far as practice nets go, this one is by far the nicest one that I have used and any flaws are truly being nit-picky. Things like the fact that while the ball does get returned to the front of the net, the mesh “lip” is a decent amount overlapping, so I have to kind of reach back into the gap and dig the ball out versus if it was a straighter mesh lip. I believe the size is in a good spot with being big enough that it makes it very hard to miss the net, without being something that is going to permanently take up a small building worth of space. As am I currently renting, I don’t want to leave the net on the grass 100% of the time and risk the lawn, but I can easily take out two poles and set it against the house. Less than a minute of time and it is off of the yard and out of the way of everyone else.


    On-Course Performance (27 out of 30 points)
    Up until recently, I had not played an actual round of golf in about 5 years due to family and work obligations, so it’s impossible for me to definitively prove that this net and the resulting practice improved my scores. I can say that my ball striking consistency has improved from before I had received the net, and I believe that is largely due to the convenience of regular practice. Of course, there will always be the concerns with regards to the lack of feedback when hitting into a net compared to seeing the full ball flight, but in my case, I was using it to try to ingrain the feelings that my coach has been working on. I wasn’t worried about the ball flight as I needed to fix my swing before I worry about where it’s going. Having said that, combining the net with a launch monitor does appear to give some decent data collection possibility. I only used a basic radar launch monitor, but it picked up the large majority of shots, giving reasonable results. Without comparing against other technology or full ball flight, I can really only judge against consistency and believability. With that said, the combination worked well for me. I was able to hit every club through my bag against the Spornia net and get realistic gapping numbers that at least made sense. On course testing would refine those numbers, but it did give me a realistic basis to start from. With that said, there is not much more I could ask for from the Spornia net from a performance base. It does exactly what you expect it to do and it does it well with a number of nice quality touches that make it enjoyable to use.

    If I were to change anything about the net, it would definitely be the roof section. Something in the design, while effective, is a bit of an annoyance. In my testing, some of the issues could be solved by creating a way to “lock” the pieces of the roof support rod together so that it could be inserted through the channel without the rod pieces separating inside the channel. That slows down setup and take down. A thicker material for the channel itself that is not so prone to tearing would also be an improvement, but there is very little to complain about with this product.

    Miscellaneous (9 out of 10 points)
    There is definitely an attention to the important details when the Spornia net was designed. The addition of the roof to protect from errand high shots, the side netting to catch a few wild shots. Even the packaging is as minimal and effective as possible with no wasted space. If there is one complaint with the little things, it would be the communication from Spornia. All of the testers were basically left in the dark regarding the shipping status until alerts from Fedex started coming in that packages were on the way. I believe there was a supply issue around the intended delivery time that held up the product from being sent out to the testers, but the communication regarding any delays or updates on expected delivery could have been improved.

    Keep it or Trade it? (20 out of 20 points)
    I am going to be keeping the Spornia net as it does exactly what I expect it to without taking up a large section of real estate in the yard. It helps make practice significantly more convenient for me, as regular practice, even in small amounts, is better for my overall game than one long practice session each week. I feel that the asking price is fair for the quality. It does appear that Spornia has recently increased the price as it is now listed in the $260-300 range. That does place it near the top end of the range that I would be willing to pay. The net itself is very high quality and I like many of the features, including the ability to replace wear pieces like the impact screen (around $40), but the law of diminishing returns comes into effect at a certain price point for me. There are many other quality products to compete with this one. I definitely see myself getting a lot of future use for many years with this product as I continue to work on my game.


    Conclusion
    For a short version of my ramblings, the Spornia practice net can best be described as a very high quality practice net that is quick to set up, works well to both deaden the impact and return balls, and is portable enough that it can be stored away easily between sessions, reducing the necessary footprint. It is not without quirks and a few questionable design choices that increase frustration a bit with setup and breakdown, especially regarding the “roof” section. Depending on your personal application and use habits, these can be almost entirely ignored. While it is portable, I will not be planning to travel with it, and the ceiling height in my garage prevents it from achieving maximum use indoors. As a result of this, it will be used exclusively outdoors, so the portability only matters in that I can fold it up and store it out of the way.

    Final Score: (92 out of 100 points)
  10. Like
    RichL85 got a reaction from revkev in Spornia Compact Hitting Net   
    Greetings to all. I would first like to say how grateful I am to MGS and Spornia for the opportunity to test this product as well as the forum community in general. I’m still pretty new around here and it’s very likely that you don’t know anything about me. My name is Rich, and I moved to California two years ago. I am originally from north Texas, went to Colorado for college, moved to Houston to take a swing at a Ph.D program that didn’t work. Eventually moved to Florida when my wife received a job opportunity out there, and then I moved us all the way to California when a job opportunity for me came up. This will be my first test so be gentle! These two take up the majority of my time outside of work. 

    As a random note, I’m a natural lefty, but I golf as if I am right-handed. I was a switch hitter in baseball and played tennis left-handed so for whatever reason the right-handed golf swing is more natural to me. I am a chemical engineer by day working as a process engineer for a company that manufactures citrus processing equipment. I work with a small group within the company in Technical Research and Development, so I apologize in advance for being a data and numbers guy.

    I picked up golf in college because I took a part time job at the nearby Golfsmith, mainly to work in their tennis area as I was into tennis at that point. So much that I obtained Certified Stringer certification when I was 15 and later Master Racquet Technician around the age of 20. Being surrounded by all of the golf equipment and regularly fielding questions about golf, it piqued my interest in the game. I won’t lie, the added benefit of being able to make a little extra money based on Golfsmith’s commission scale was enticing for a college student. I worked there for about two and half years before graduating, doing a little bit of everything including fitting and a lot of club building.

    Two of my managers were former teaching pros so I had access to quality advice for my quirky swing. I typically played once or twice a week for about 18 months before I moved away from Colorado. Since then, I have played much less frequently as I have some anxiety issues with heading to the course by myself. Until about 4 months ago, my clubs were hiding in the garage, completely unused for the past four years since my youngest was born. I’ve never held a true handicap, but I was typically shooting right around 90 back when I was playing consistently. In a typical round, I would have a few catastrophic holes and play fairly solid the rest of the time. I’m still working on getting my swing back to where I would like it, but currently I’m topping out around 100 MPH. I could always use a little more swing speed, and that is something I’m currently working on, but I have also started working with a new coach to straighten up my swing.

    Due to family and work obligations, I’m lucky to get out to the range once a week, which is why I purchased a Callaway net and a Rapsodo MLM a few months ago to make it less inconvenient on everyone for me to practice. The Rapsodo is now gone because it was not a good fit for my use, and the net is already showing some signs of wear as well as being inconvenient from a portability standpoint. While it is technically portable, I don’t think anyone enjoys spending the time breaking one of those basic nets down into the 20 connector pieces and detaching the netting and packing it to move it, etc. I don’t want to, so I move it back and forth from the concrete patio out to the grass area in the back yard each time. I don't believe that I should be seeing this kind of damage from a 7-iron at a month of use. 

    I’m excited for the Spornia net as it looks to be much more portable and also much more convenient for indoor use. With my kids' stuff taking up so much space, I don’t have a ton of indoor space, but I have room in the garage to be able to use it for some feel type practice. The ceiling in my garage is too low for full swings at my height, but I could use the shorter wedge practice anyway. For this test, the main things I’m looking at are the convenience, portability, and durability. I want to be able to set it up and take it down each time without spending a lot of time, and I want to be able to move it from outside to inside and back again without significant hassle. I know for myself, if practice isn’t convenient, it’s hard to find time amongst the other obligations of the day.

    With all of that out of the way, please feel free to ask any questions that may help to direct my testing for specific applications that may be helpful to you. What’s useful to me, may not be important to you and my overall hope is to provide information that can help the majority.
    First Impressions
    First impression of the packaging of the product promised a compact form with no wasted materials. There is no need for excessive cardboard or extra packaging and the item arrived without any damage despite FedEx losing it for a few days. At first glance of the small form factor, it’s difficult to believe this opens up as large as it does. Instructions for setting it up are very simple and quick, though one section is a bit tedious. Compared against the basic Callaway net I had been using, having a full impact screen section was a huge upgrade. For a size comparison in a garage type area, the net and hitting mat would take up about the same amount of space as a typical vehicle. Personally, I was only able to hit half-swing wedges indoors, but that is due to the low ceiling, not an issue with the net itself.
           

    Quality of components (8 out of 10 points) 
    The quality of the net, frame, and impact screen are all top notch. I deducted points for some of the extra things. For example, the carry bag is functional, but fairly thin and I fear for the longevity of the stitching on the Velcro closure straps. Another point was deducted for a small tear in the channel that holds the thin rod holding up the “roof” portion. While I love the concept of the top portion to catch especially high wedge shots or perhaps a skied driver, feeding the rod through the channel was by far the most frustrating thing about this product. As my net was outdoors the majority of the time, I got to the point of leaving the roof rod in and folding the net flat before leaning up against the house. While it definitely defeats the portability aspect of the net, it saved me minutes of frustration and I was able to have the net set up in about 25 seconds.

    The folding mechanism for the net is a little hard to describe, and not necessarily the most intuitive, but it is highly effective. I think the best feature for portability is that the majority of the net is one connected piece. It is the entire frame, netting, and impact screen as one piece, and then three multi-section rods that fit in a separate bag before adding to the main bag. The carrying bag is a little awkward to travel with because it is flat, but fairly large. I felt like it took up a lot less space when I had it standing, propped up against something rather than laying flat. By comparison to the basic Callaway net, that folds up into a small cylinder shaped bag, but it also includes about 13 individual sections that have to be taken apart and reassembled each time, versus opening the bag and letting the Spornia net practically unfold itself waiting for the two main rods to raise the back section. Definitely points for Spornia on that one.

    Ease of use (9 out of 10 points) 
    At the end of the day, this is a practice net. It is pretty obvious how to use it, and also obvious how to set it up. The one point deducted for ease of use is purely due to the roof section. The support rod for the roof section is a connected 5 piece rod that you feed through a curved channel before putting the ends into eyelets to hold the roof. I had a few issues with getting the rod both in and out of the channel without the sections separating inside. The sections are all connected via string, but it is difficult to move the rod inside the channel in one smooth motion. In complete honesty, if I were to frequently move the net, I probably wouldn’t even bother with setting up the roof section unless I was specifically planning to hit my high lofted wedges.
     
    Basic Characteristics (19 out of 20 points)
    Compared to my experiences with other practice nets, the Spornia net made the idea of practicing much more enticing. Not having to spend 10 minutes setting everything up, constantly retrieving balls, having balls randomly sneak through the gaps around the edges. These little things matter when it comes to getting in that little bit of practice. Keeping the net partially assembled and set against the house. I can have the net and mat set up in less time than it takes me decide what club to practice with first. That kind of convenience cannot be beat. By comparison, the closest driving range options are about a 15 minute drive, $12 a bucket, and generally pretty busy, especially at times when I could go. With the daylight disappearing so early right now, this is the best way for me to get a little bit of practice in each day rather than maybe one session a week at the range.

    Spornia did include a chipping target that could be set up for those types of shots. I only tried it out a few times and it worked fine for what it is. I don’t see myself using the chipping target all that much personally as chipping off a mat just doesn’t do it for me.


    Since I have somewhat of a quirky, timing-based swing, having the ability to consistently practice has helped my consistency quite a bit. I also started working with a coach and the net eliminates another excuse that is so easy to make when it comes to practice. As far as practice nets go, this one is by far the nicest one that I have used and any flaws are truly being nit-picky. Things like the fact that while the ball does get returned to the front of the net, the mesh “lip” is a decent amount overlapping, so I have to kind of reach back into the gap and dig the ball out versus if it was a straighter mesh lip. I believe the size is in a good spot with being big enough that it makes it very hard to miss the net, without being something that is going to permanently take up a small building worth of space. As am I currently renting, I don’t want to leave the net on the grass 100% of the time and risk the lawn, but I can easily take out two poles and set it against the house. Less than a minute of time and it is off of the yard and out of the way of everyone else.


    On-Course Performance (27 out of 30 points)
    Up until recently, I had not played an actual round of golf in about 5 years due to family and work obligations, so it’s impossible for me to definitively prove that this net and the resulting practice improved my scores. I can say that my ball striking consistency has improved from before I had received the net, and I believe that is largely due to the convenience of regular practice. Of course, there will always be the concerns with regards to the lack of feedback when hitting into a net compared to seeing the full ball flight, but in my case, I was using it to try to ingrain the feelings that my coach has been working on. I wasn’t worried about the ball flight as I needed to fix my swing before I worry about where it’s going. Having said that, combining the net with a launch monitor does appear to give some decent data collection possibility. I only used a basic radar launch monitor, but it picked up the large majority of shots, giving reasonable results. Without comparing against other technology or full ball flight, I can really only judge against consistency and believability. With that said, the combination worked well for me. I was able to hit every club through my bag against the Spornia net and get realistic gapping numbers that at least made sense. On course testing would refine those numbers, but it did give me a realistic basis to start from. With that said, there is not much more I could ask for from the Spornia net from a performance base. It does exactly what you expect it to do and it does it well with a number of nice quality touches that make it enjoyable to use.

    If I were to change anything about the net, it would definitely be the roof section. Something in the design, while effective, is a bit of an annoyance. In my testing, some of the issues could be solved by creating a way to “lock” the pieces of the roof support rod together so that it could be inserted through the channel without the rod pieces separating inside the channel. That slows down setup and take down. A thicker material for the channel itself that is not so prone to tearing would also be an improvement, but there is very little to complain about with this product.

    Miscellaneous (9 out of 10 points)
    There is definitely an attention to the important details when the Spornia net was designed. The addition of the roof to protect from errand high shots, the side netting to catch a few wild shots. Even the packaging is as minimal and effective as possible with no wasted space. If there is one complaint with the little things, it would be the communication from Spornia. All of the testers were basically left in the dark regarding the shipping status until alerts from Fedex started coming in that packages were on the way. I believe there was a supply issue around the intended delivery time that held up the product from being sent out to the testers, but the communication regarding any delays or updates on expected delivery could have been improved.

    Keep it or Trade it? (20 out of 20 points)
    I am going to be keeping the Spornia net as it does exactly what I expect it to without taking up a large section of real estate in the yard. It helps make practice significantly more convenient for me, as regular practice, even in small amounts, is better for my overall game than one long practice session each week. I feel that the asking price is fair for the quality. It does appear that Spornia has recently increased the price as it is now listed in the $260-300 range. That does place it near the top end of the range that I would be willing to pay. The net itself is very high quality and I like many of the features, including the ability to replace wear pieces like the impact screen (around $40), but the law of diminishing returns comes into effect at a certain price point for me. There are many other quality products to compete with this one. I definitely see myself getting a lot of future use for many years with this product as I continue to work on my game.


    Conclusion
    For a short version of my ramblings, the Spornia practice net can best be described as a very high quality practice net that is quick to set up, works well to both deaden the impact and return balls, and is portable enough that it can be stored away easily between sessions, reducing the necessary footprint. It is not without quirks and a few questionable design choices that increase frustration a bit with setup and breakdown, especially regarding the “roof” section. Depending on your personal application and use habits, these can be almost entirely ignored. While it is portable, I will not be planning to travel with it, and the ceiling height in my garage prevents it from achieving maximum use indoors. As a result of this, it will be used exclusively outdoors, so the portability only matters in that I can fold it up and store it out of the way.

    Final Score: (92 out of 100 points)
  11. Like
    RichL85 got a reaction from GolfSpy_APH in Spornia Compact Hitting Net   
    Greetings to all. I would first like to say how grateful I am to MGS and Spornia for the opportunity to test this product as well as the forum community in general. I’m still pretty new around here and it’s very likely that you don’t know anything about me. My name is Rich, and I moved to California two years ago. I am originally from north Texas, went to Colorado for college, moved to Houston to take a swing at a Ph.D program that didn’t work. Eventually moved to Florida when my wife received a job opportunity out there, and then I moved us all the way to California when a job opportunity for me came up. This will be my first test so be gentle! These two take up the majority of my time outside of work. 

    As a random note, I’m a natural lefty, but I golf as if I am right-handed. I was a switch hitter in baseball and played tennis left-handed so for whatever reason the right-handed golf swing is more natural to me. I am a chemical engineer by day working as a process engineer for a company that manufactures citrus processing equipment. I work with a small group within the company in Technical Research and Development, so I apologize in advance for being a data and numbers guy.

    I picked up golf in college because I took a part time job at the nearby Golfsmith, mainly to work in their tennis area as I was into tennis at that point. So much that I obtained Certified Stringer certification when I was 15 and later Master Racquet Technician around the age of 20. Being surrounded by all of the golf equipment and regularly fielding questions about golf, it piqued my interest in the game. I won’t lie, the added benefit of being able to make a little extra money based on Golfsmith’s commission scale was enticing for a college student. I worked there for about two and half years before graduating, doing a little bit of everything including fitting and a lot of club building.

    Two of my managers were former teaching pros so I had access to quality advice for my quirky swing. I typically played once or twice a week for about 18 months before I moved away from Colorado. Since then, I have played much less frequently as I have some anxiety issues with heading to the course by myself. Until about 4 months ago, my clubs were hiding in the garage, completely unused for the past four years since my youngest was born. I’ve never held a true handicap, but I was typically shooting right around 90 back when I was playing consistently. In a typical round, I would have a few catastrophic holes and play fairly solid the rest of the time. I’m still working on getting my swing back to where I would like it, but currently I’m topping out around 100 MPH. I could always use a little more swing speed, and that is something I’m currently working on, but I have also started working with a new coach to straighten up my swing.

    Due to family and work obligations, I’m lucky to get out to the range once a week, which is why I purchased a Callaway net and a Rapsodo MLM a few months ago to make it less inconvenient on everyone for me to practice. The Rapsodo is now gone because it was not a good fit for my use, and the net is already showing some signs of wear as well as being inconvenient from a portability standpoint. While it is technically portable, I don’t think anyone enjoys spending the time breaking one of those basic nets down into the 20 connector pieces and detaching the netting and packing it to move it, etc. I don’t want to, so I move it back and forth from the concrete patio out to the grass area in the back yard each time. I don't believe that I should be seeing this kind of damage from a 7-iron at a month of use. 

    I’m excited for the Spornia net as it looks to be much more portable and also much more convenient for indoor use. With my kids' stuff taking up so much space, I don’t have a ton of indoor space, but I have room in the garage to be able to use it for some feel type practice. The ceiling in my garage is too low for full swings at my height, but I could use the shorter wedge practice anyway. For this test, the main things I’m looking at are the convenience, portability, and durability. I want to be able to set it up and take it down each time without spending a lot of time, and I want to be able to move it from outside to inside and back again without significant hassle. I know for myself, if practice isn’t convenient, it’s hard to find time amongst the other obligations of the day.

    With all of that out of the way, please feel free to ask any questions that may help to direct my testing for specific applications that may be helpful to you. What’s useful to me, may not be important to you and my overall hope is to provide information that can help the majority.
    First Impressions
    First impression of the packaging of the product promised a compact form with no wasted materials. There is no need for excessive cardboard or extra packaging and the item arrived without any damage despite FedEx losing it for a few days. At first glance of the small form factor, it’s difficult to believe this opens up as large as it does. Instructions for setting it up are very simple and quick, though one section is a bit tedious. Compared against the basic Callaway net I had been using, having a full impact screen section was a huge upgrade. For a size comparison in a garage type area, the net and hitting mat would take up about the same amount of space as a typical vehicle. Personally, I was only able to hit half-swing wedges indoors, but that is due to the low ceiling, not an issue with the net itself.
           

    Quality of components (8 out of 10 points) 
    The quality of the net, frame, and impact screen are all top notch. I deducted points for some of the extra things. For example, the carry bag is functional, but fairly thin and I fear for the longevity of the stitching on the Velcro closure straps. Another point was deducted for a small tear in the channel that holds the thin rod holding up the “roof” portion. While I love the concept of the top portion to catch especially high wedge shots or perhaps a skied driver, feeding the rod through the channel was by far the most frustrating thing about this product. As my net was outdoors the majority of the time, I got to the point of leaving the roof rod in and folding the net flat before leaning up against the house. While it definitely defeats the portability aspect of the net, it saved me minutes of frustration and I was able to have the net set up in about 25 seconds.

    The folding mechanism for the net is a little hard to describe, and not necessarily the most intuitive, but it is highly effective. I think the best feature for portability is that the majority of the net is one connected piece. It is the entire frame, netting, and impact screen as one piece, and then three multi-section rods that fit in a separate bag before adding to the main bag. The carrying bag is a little awkward to travel with because it is flat, but fairly large. I felt like it took up a lot less space when I had it standing, propped up against something rather than laying flat. By comparison to the basic Callaway net, that folds up into a small cylinder shaped bag, but it also includes about 13 individual sections that have to be taken apart and reassembled each time, versus opening the bag and letting the Spornia net practically unfold itself waiting for the two main rods to raise the back section. Definitely points for Spornia on that one.

    Ease of use (9 out of 10 points) 
    At the end of the day, this is a practice net. It is pretty obvious how to use it, and also obvious how to set it up. The one point deducted for ease of use is purely due to the roof section. The support rod for the roof section is a connected 5 piece rod that you feed through a curved channel before putting the ends into eyelets to hold the roof. I had a few issues with getting the rod both in and out of the channel without the sections separating inside. The sections are all connected via string, but it is difficult to move the rod inside the channel in one smooth motion. In complete honesty, if I were to frequently move the net, I probably wouldn’t even bother with setting up the roof section unless I was specifically planning to hit my high lofted wedges.
     
    Basic Characteristics (19 out of 20 points)
    Compared to my experiences with other practice nets, the Spornia net made the idea of practicing much more enticing. Not having to spend 10 minutes setting everything up, constantly retrieving balls, having balls randomly sneak through the gaps around the edges. These little things matter when it comes to getting in that little bit of practice. Keeping the net partially assembled and set against the house. I can have the net and mat set up in less time than it takes me decide what club to practice with first. That kind of convenience cannot be beat. By comparison, the closest driving range options are about a 15 minute drive, $12 a bucket, and generally pretty busy, especially at times when I could go. With the daylight disappearing so early right now, this is the best way for me to get a little bit of practice in each day rather than maybe one session a week at the range.

    Spornia did include a chipping target that could be set up for those types of shots. I only tried it out a few times and it worked fine for what it is. I don’t see myself using the chipping target all that much personally as chipping off a mat just doesn’t do it for me.


    Since I have somewhat of a quirky, timing-based swing, having the ability to consistently practice has helped my consistency quite a bit. I also started working with a coach and the net eliminates another excuse that is so easy to make when it comes to practice. As far as practice nets go, this one is by far the nicest one that I have used and any flaws are truly being nit-picky. Things like the fact that while the ball does get returned to the front of the net, the mesh “lip” is a decent amount overlapping, so I have to kind of reach back into the gap and dig the ball out versus if it was a straighter mesh lip. I believe the size is in a good spot with being big enough that it makes it very hard to miss the net, without being something that is going to permanently take up a small building worth of space. As am I currently renting, I don’t want to leave the net on the grass 100% of the time and risk the lawn, but I can easily take out two poles and set it against the house. Less than a minute of time and it is off of the yard and out of the way of everyone else.


    On-Course Performance (27 out of 30 points)
    Up until recently, I had not played an actual round of golf in about 5 years due to family and work obligations, so it’s impossible for me to definitively prove that this net and the resulting practice improved my scores. I can say that my ball striking consistency has improved from before I had received the net, and I believe that is largely due to the convenience of regular practice. Of course, there will always be the concerns with regards to the lack of feedback when hitting into a net compared to seeing the full ball flight, but in my case, I was using it to try to ingrain the feelings that my coach has been working on. I wasn’t worried about the ball flight as I needed to fix my swing before I worry about where it’s going. Having said that, combining the net with a launch monitor does appear to give some decent data collection possibility. I only used a basic radar launch monitor, but it picked up the large majority of shots, giving reasonable results. Without comparing against other technology or full ball flight, I can really only judge against consistency and believability. With that said, the combination worked well for me. I was able to hit every club through my bag against the Spornia net and get realistic gapping numbers that at least made sense. On course testing would refine those numbers, but it did give me a realistic basis to start from. With that said, there is not much more I could ask for from the Spornia net from a performance base. It does exactly what you expect it to do and it does it well with a number of nice quality touches that make it enjoyable to use.

    If I were to change anything about the net, it would definitely be the roof section. Something in the design, while effective, is a bit of an annoyance. In my testing, some of the issues could be solved by creating a way to “lock” the pieces of the roof support rod together so that it could be inserted through the channel without the rod pieces separating inside the channel. That slows down setup and take down. A thicker material for the channel itself that is not so prone to tearing would also be an improvement, but there is very little to complain about with this product.

    Miscellaneous (9 out of 10 points)
    There is definitely an attention to the important details when the Spornia net was designed. The addition of the roof to protect from errand high shots, the side netting to catch a few wild shots. Even the packaging is as minimal and effective as possible with no wasted space. If there is one complaint with the little things, it would be the communication from Spornia. All of the testers were basically left in the dark regarding the shipping status until alerts from Fedex started coming in that packages were on the way. I believe there was a supply issue around the intended delivery time that held up the product from being sent out to the testers, but the communication regarding any delays or updates on expected delivery could have been improved.

    Keep it or Trade it? (20 out of 20 points)
    I am going to be keeping the Spornia net as it does exactly what I expect it to without taking up a large section of real estate in the yard. It helps make practice significantly more convenient for me, as regular practice, even in small amounts, is better for my overall game than one long practice session each week. I feel that the asking price is fair for the quality. It does appear that Spornia has recently increased the price as it is now listed in the $260-300 range. That does place it near the top end of the range that I would be willing to pay. The net itself is very high quality and I like many of the features, including the ability to replace wear pieces like the impact screen (around $40), but the law of diminishing returns comes into effect at a certain price point for me. There are many other quality products to compete with this one. I definitely see myself getting a lot of future use for many years with this product as I continue to work on my game.


    Conclusion
    For a short version of my ramblings, the Spornia practice net can best be described as a very high quality practice net that is quick to set up, works well to both deaden the impact and return balls, and is portable enough that it can be stored away easily between sessions, reducing the necessary footprint. It is not without quirks and a few questionable design choices that increase frustration a bit with setup and breakdown, especially regarding the “roof” section. Depending on your personal application and use habits, these can be almost entirely ignored. While it is portable, I will not be planning to travel with it, and the ceiling height in my garage prevents it from achieving maximum use indoors. As a result of this, it will be used exclusively outdoors, so the portability only matters in that I can fold it up and store it out of the way.

    Final Score: (92 out of 100 points)
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