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Birdieball Putting Surface


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I've been battling the putting woes since I was a junior golfer.  Now that I'm an old duffer, kids out of the house and dogs [sadly] a thing of the past, it was time to invest in my putting game.  The first thing I did was get a roll-up, carpet style mat that was 2 feet wide and 10 feet long.  It was marked up with lots of lines designed to help you to line up your putts, groove a repeatable club path, and mark out each foot of length to sharpen your ability to determine how hard to strike the ball the achieve the desired speed of a given distance.  All good, until it came time to transfer that info to the putting greens I encounter on the golf course.  Surprise!  There aren't any lines on putting greens to help you line up your putts!  To be fair, the work I did on that mat did help me groove a repeatable swing path, but did nothing for my speed control, which is what hat bedeviled me for 50 years.  

I looked around the internet and found a whole lot of options out there.  Most were the sort that use some sort of astroturf or felt-type putting surfaces.  You can find these in the finest golf shops and club-fitters, most likely because of the ability of the surface to withstand the wear and tear of many feet and many years of service.  That's all well and good.  However, I was looking for something that more accurately recreates the roll and speed of a genuine grass putting green.  I settled on the Birdieball practice putting mat and I'm glad I did. 

There are a lot of options on their website.  They have both indoor and outdoor versions and you can buy single [1/2"]or double [1"] depth mats.  If you just want the mat, you can order that.  There are lots of optional items to choose as well, or purchase separately at a future time.  They also have an option to pre-build your own custom mat of various sizes.  These include the pad, bumpers, and that hole cutter to personalize it, or you can choose pre-cut holes in various configurations. You also choose the Stimp meter speed of the surface.  They have Municipal [9-10 stimp], Private [11 stimp], and Championship [Stimp 11-13] speeds.  In my case I chose the "Private" option of 11 stimp.   

I purchased the 4'x14'x1/2" pad.  It came with the pad, the cutter, bumpers for front, back and sides, 1/2" high plastic hole liners to preserve the edges of the holes [including one that has a 1" high back for practicing longer putts/hitting the ball harder], and pull-out flags to easily remove balls from the holes.  It also includes a plastic ramp that you place under the surface to create breaking putts, and inserts made of the putting surface material to make the hole smaller.  This all came bundled in two boxes [one for the mat, the other for the optional materials] and was delivered within a week.

When the mat was delivered, I unrolled it and laid it on the carpeted floor of my designated putting area - the living room.  It fits nicely between the step up to the dining room and the couch, right in front of the fireplace.  It layed down nicely, and after a few minutes of walking around on it, the mat settled nice and flat.  I laid out the holes, got them cut, and installed the bumpers.  So how well does this thing work? 

First, the good.  The first thing that I noticed was that the mat rolls true to the floor beneath it.  I found out that there's a slight right-to-left break in my floor.  I can work with that.  The speed is similar to mid-summer speeds at most of the clubs I play.  I live and play in the Northwest, so greens are significantly slower in springtime than later in the year. The material is soft enough that walking on it deforms the surface.  Footprints are clearly discernible at first, but disappear in seconds. 

It's easy enough to roll up and put away.  In fact, there's a soft bag that you can purchase separately to place the mat in when you need to clean up for the non-golfers who come over for a visit.  This entails removing the bumpers and hole liners.  The holes are regulation size and can hold 4 balls at a time.  All good.

The "meh": The holes are shallow enough that if there are balls already in the hole, subsequent balls may hit them and/or lip out.  The ball retriever flags are about another 1/8", so the hole is actually about 3/8" deep.  The bumpers are a little persnickety to install, but not difficult.  However, they do tend to come off fairly easily.  The surface is 1/2" higher than the ground it's laying on, so you have to adjust your grip down the club a slight bit.

The "not so good": When I walk on the mat, it tends to move and puff up a bit in places.  I have to re-flatten it every few strokes and re-adjust its position on the floor.  As mentioned, the bumpers tend to come off the mat fairly easily.  I turned the mat over and duct-taped them onto the mat and that took care of the problem.  If you intend to roll the mat up, you can do this on the ends, but not on the side bumpers. 

Most significantly, the surface is subject to damage quite easily.  The first night I left the mat on the floor, my wife came home from work and walked across it in her work heels.  That put a nice 1/2" indentation in the material that didn't disappear.  Fortunately she only weighs 100 pounds give or take or it may have been a through and through wound.  Then the wife's cat decided he liked the feel of the surface and started sharpening his claws on it.  Ugh!  

Birdieball supplies a rescue solution in the form of powdered green material.  You have to go to the website to order it, but the material is free.  Adding a bit of water, the powder becomes a paste and you apply this to the surface, working it in and over-packing so that it's a bit proud of the surface, then allow it to dry overnight and gently brush off the excess.  This works acceptably, though it's not a perfect solution as it leaves a rough spot where it's been used.  

Ultimately, I decided to make this a more permanent part of the furniture and bought some cheap jigsaw-style mats similar to those you find in gyms only light weight.  Got them on Ebay for about 25 bucks.  I used carpet tape to attach the putting mat to these and now I have a great putting green that 1. doesn't move when I walk on it; 2. Deepened the holes to 1" so balls don't lip out so easily; 3. prevents any puffing up of the mat.  I also bought some 1" deep hole liners and a double width stance mat so I don't have to stand on the mat itself when putting, though this isn't really necessary strictly speaking.

The dam cat still likes the mat as much as I do, but at least he has been kind enough not to scratch up the surface in the middle, keeping his angst-ridden maulings to the edges where I don't putt.

Overall, I'm really happy with the mat, so much so that I've bought a couple of them as Christmas gifts.  Take a look if your in the market for a putting green at home. 

GolferXX

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Golfer XX

Driver: Titleist TSI2, Tensei White [Stiff] 65 grams, 48" [!!!]
Putter: Taylormade Spider Blade
Irons: Ping i500 5-U wedge
Wedges: Ping Forged 56 degree, 60 degree
Ping 3 and 4 hybrid Stiff shaft
Ball: Titelist ProV 1
MGI Navigator electric trolley
Ping cart bag

 

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Birdie Ball is great - they have a lot of fans on MGS! Funny coincidence our (now gone) Lab decided to do the same thing was your cat 😂

The one I have is "dual speed" .. ie. it's a little slower in one direction .. very handy for simulated uphill/downhill or, literally, into/with the grain.

Nice setup and happy putting!

WITB of an "aspiring"  😉 play-ah ...
..Callaway Big Bertha B21 driver (Recoil ES 450/F3)
..Callaway Bertha Mini 1.5 (UST ProForce V2-HL 5/F3)
..Callaway Epic Max 5W (PX Cypher 50/5.0)
..Callaway Big Bertha 4H and 5H (both Recoil ZT9/F3)
..PXG 0211 6i-GW (Mitsubishi MMT 60/A) 
..Cleveland CBX2 54 and CBX 60 (Rotex graphite)
..EvnRoll ER5 or MLA XDream (Edel EAS 4.0 on the bench)
..all in a Datrek bag on an MGI Zip Navigator electric cart.

Forum Member tester for the ExPutt Putting Simulator (2020)

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