Sporina SPG-8 XL Net – Official MGS Forum Review by mynerds
Introduction - May 31, 2022
Thank you to Sporina and MyGolfSpy for this amazing testing opportunity!
Hello! My name is Mark, I am a high-handicap player near Chicago and have played golf mostly in social contexts like Top Golf and par 3 courses for a few decades. I am a natural righty, but golf lefty. By day, I work as a cybersecurity consultant. By night, I am husband, dad, and fur-dad to these three:
My daily schedule is chaotic with both my wife and I juggling full-time jobs and chasing around our sassy toddler, so I am not always in control of when I get to practice. When I can find time to get to the range, I find myself trying to “get my money’s worth” and hit as many balls as possible even when slower, shorter, deliberate practice would be more beneficial. I will be testing the net both indoors and outdoors, and tracking any discernible improvement to my golf game that regular, frequent practice may bring.
I’m extremely excited to test the Sporina SPG-8 XL Net and have high expectations given the SPG-7’s status as MGS’ Best Golf Hitting Net 2021.
First Impressions (4 out of 5)
The shipping weight of the product is 30lbs. For reference, below is the package up against my sedan and all 5'10" of my wiry self with the unboxed net in the carrying bag.
My first point of inspection was the quality of stitching on the bag. Unfortunately I spotted areas with less-than-stellar stitching and several spots with loose or frayed threads:
I also inspected the quality of the roof pole channel which was a weak point for the SPG-7. It was the thinnest material on the SPG-8 by far - even thinner than the material for the bag. Despite the thinness of the material, the roof pole channel did not tear though I did find threading the roof pole challenging.
Taped to the outside of the box in a "packing slip" container was not a packing slip but instead a supplemental instruction and warning that "the spring steel opens forcefully" and that set up should occur "far away from people vehicles, and structures." Typos galore aside, this warning should be heeded.
Minus one star for the stitching issues and the thin roof pole channel material, despite its previously documented weakness.
Aesthetics (5 out of 5)
With everything set up, it became clear that the "XL" is no misnomer. It is difficult to adequately describe how imposing this thing is.
There are a few temporary hitting nets in my neighbors’ yards. To me, other nets seem like toys and the SPG-8 seems more like a tool. I love the look of the net and didn’t mind leaving it out for prolonged periods of time. Even as a "portable" net, I wanted to minimize my setup time. I shared some details on how I’ve left the net mostly assembled while retaining my garage parking space in the comments.
The Numbers (3 out of 5)
At the beginning of the test, I expected the SPG-8 to catch every single ball. Unfortunately, it did not meet this expectation. I kept count of every single ball that I hit, balls which were caught but bounced out of the net, and balls that missed the net entirely. Out of 600 balls hit, 27 (4.5%) were caught but bounced out of the net, and 2 missed the net entirely. Further, 3 balls were caught by the net but still managed to contact the wall behind it, more than a foot away. While the wall was not damaged, there are small indentations and marks on the drywall.
Spornia lists “Ball rolls gently down not touching the floors” as a “main feature” of the product. They make smaller nets (presumably for better players) and, as their largest and most expensive option, I expected it to contain all my shots. Minus 1 star each for the ~5% of balls that bounced out of the net, and for the balls that missed the net entirely.
On the Course (5 out of 5)
Did use of the net translate to improvements on the course? I’ve gained confidence in my irons, improved my dispersion, and am carrying the ball 15 yards further than a month ago. Here is Rapsodo's analysis of a session using my 9i compared from a month ago (left) to this week (right).
In terms of results, I played my personal best round at the local municipal 9-hole and (using the WHS adjusted gross score) broke 50 there for the first time and had my first true par on a par-4.
While the performance gains are a product of several things (see the next section), the net was the catalyst for bringing all the pieces together. Without question, I would not have seen these same improvements without the net.
The Good, the bad, the inbetween (3 out of 5)
By itself, I don’t believe any net alone is enough to improve your game. To achieve its full value, I needed to also purchase a launch monitor, quality hitting mat, and follow at home lessons/drills. Before purchasing the launch monitor specifically, I was developing bad habits hitting into the net that I only recognized once I was on the range. Once the launch monitor was in hand, I was able to recognize my mistakes and work towards correcting them.
Minus one star against Spornia’s main feature claim of “get instant feedback on your shots” – it just wasn’t true for me.
A quick note on the chipping net – I ended up using it only once. I already owned a small chipping net and if I’m working on my wedges, I’m just not going to spend the time attaching the Spornia net to the SPG-8. No fault of Spornia there, it just isn’t an important feature of the net to me.
The testers also fielded a few questions to customer support via MGS to clarify the purpose of white strap on the net, the Velcro straps, how to use the support ropes, and whether we were missing tie down stakes. Minus one star for unclear instructions and lack of customer service response. I’ll update with any future communications though.
Lastly, after getting used to the setup and takedown process I was able to reduce my setup time to 1:04 without the roof net and 3:17 with the roof net. Threading the roof channel really is the weakest aspect of the net.
Play it or Trade it? (5 out of 5)
Without question, I will be playing with the SPG-8 for the remainder of the season and am looking forward to its use indoors over the long Chicago winters. I will continue to improve my hitting area and hope to add heaters and possibly a projector to create a true indoor hitting simulator. Where breaking 100 seemed like a lofty goal 6 months ago, now breaking 90 seems like a potential goal for next year. Without this net, I don't believe that goal would be possible.
Conclusion (25 out of 30 stars)
Overall, the Spornia SPG-8 XL edition lives up to its name as an extra large hitting net. While the extra foot of coverage may benefit high handicappers like me who struggle with the occasional extremely off-center shot, even the XL edition missed a few of my shots that would have ended up in neighbors yards had I been outside at the time.
If you’re in the market for a hitting net, I would recommend the SPG-8 only if 1) cost isn’t your highest priority or 2) if you’re looking to use it as part of a golf simulator with their projector-friendly target sheet. Otherwise, I would recommend the SPG-7 instead, and use any cost savings towards a high quality hitting mat and/or indoor launch monitor for a complete at-home hitting experience.
Driver: LTDx Max 10.5°, MCG C6 Red 50 R
Wood: LTDx Max 3W 15.5°, MCG C6 Red 50 R
Hybrid: TS2 4H 23°; 5H 25°, Mitsubishi Kuro Kage Black 60 Graphite Regular
Irons: X-20 Irons (5-PW)
Wedges: Milled Grind 3 - 54.11 (56°), Milled Grind 3 - 60.10; Vista PRO 60i R
Putter: White Hot Pro 1 / 2-Ball Ten Armlock
Bag: Supreme Cart Bag 2022
Balls: MaxFli Tour