Move It To The Mats September 15, 2017 By Zach Nicoludis, agronomist, Central Region

Artificial mats provide a quality practice surface when turf requires time for recovery.

Most golf facilities have an undersized and overused practice tee. Whether limited by busy schedules that only allow time for hitting a bucket of balls or working to perfect their swing, it seems golfers are practicing more than ever. Unfortunately, practice areas with inadequate tee space generally run out of useable turfgrass well before the end of the golf season.

Shutting down most or all of a well-used grass practice tee now may be necessary to promote as much divot recovery as possible before winter. Enthusiasm for practice is far more intense during April and May than October and November, so ensuring that plenty of healthy grass is available next spring will satisfy golfers wanting to get their swing ready for the season.

Divert practice play to artificial turf, assuming this highly valuable option is available. The ability to accommodate golfers during fall while simultaneously promoting divot recovery is one more reason why an increasing number of facilities find high-quality artificial turf mats to be an excellent investment. If artificial turf is not available, limit play to constrain the amount of damage inflicted and simplify sodding efforts next season.

Determining when to make a move to mats depends on the weather and grass species used at your facility. Use historical temperature averages and local knowledge to select a date that provides enough time for divot recovery when turf is still actively growing before winter.

For more information on artificial mats, please view the Fore the Golfer, Why Artificial Mats are Used on Driving Ranges.


Central Region Agronomists:

Bob Vavrek, regional director –

John Daniels, agronomist –

Zach Nicoludis, agronomist –

Information on the USGA’s Course Consulting Service 

Contact the Green Section Staff

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