Do a quick online search or walk into any golf store, and there will be putting mats. LOTS of mats. Which ones are worth your money and time? One mat, in particular, is scorching hot these days. The buyer at a large national golf retailer even described it as the sport’s version of Tickle Me Elmo or a Furby doll. It’s the Perfect Putting Mat (PPM). Made from crystal velvet material—the polyester fabric used in clothing—the putting surface produces a consistent roll similar to real greens (the ball-roll distance with a Stimpmeter measures 10 to 14). Place the mat on a hard surface (i.e., wooden floor) for “faster” speeds or a soft one (carpet) for slower speeds. In addition, printed white lines on the mat help players with alignment, stroke path and distance. Plus, the slight incline near the holes accommodates a ball return mechanism. Besides functionality, the unit looks sharp because the base and auto-return tracks are made from natural wood. Use the PPM indoors or outdoors, but don’t leave it out in bad weather.
The Perfect Putting Mat, according to company co-founders Ed Mileto and Oren Kantor, is used by more than 100 touring professionals. One in particular, Dustin Johnson, began putting with it in March 2020, just as the U.S. hit pause due to the COVID-19 pandemic. One year later, the mat is still part of his daily practice routine, whether at home or on the road. “I never dreamed of using an indoor putting mat until I tried the Perfect Putting Mat,” Johnson said. “It’s definitely helped to improve my stroke and give me added confidence in my alignment and mechanics.”
The results speak for themselves. DJ’s putting stats from the 2019 and 2020 seasons—before and after PPM—reveal improvements in 2020 for Strokes Gained: Putting, Putting Average, Putting From 4-8’, Putting Inside 10’, and Birdie or Better Conversion Percentage. Tournament outcomes tell a similar story. Since adding the mat to his arsenal, Johnson’s been virtually unbeatable in some of the game’s biggest events: PGA Championship, August 2020 (Finish: T2); TOUR Championship, September 2020 (Finish: 1st); U.S. Open, September 2020 (Finish: T6); Masters Tournament, November 2020 (Finish: 1st).
Johnson captured the 2020 Masters with a record score of 20-under-par. “When I’m on the road, I always have one with me. It keeps me consistent,” he said. The company, in fact, ships Perfect Putting Mats to him at each tournament, including the aforementioned Masters. DJ practices most often with the Standard model, which rolls out to 9.5-feet and has two holes (one regulation size, the other 30-percent smaller). The burgeoning startup, founded in 2019, has also outfitted him at home in Florida with two additional versions—the 8-foot-long Compact edition with one reduced-size hole, as well as the XL model, which extends to 15.5-feet and includes the regulation hole and smaller one.
Hitting full shots like DJ is out of the question for Average Joes. However, with proper practice and a lot of reps, you might make one or two more putts per round. The Perfect Putting Mat is available in three models—$140, Compact; $170, Standard; $200, XL—through www.perfectpractice.golf or golf retailers nationwide.
original article link https://golfweek.usatoday.com/2021/04/05/dustin-johnsons-secret-weapon-at-the-masters/