The Acu-Strike Golf Impact Training Mat, one for indoor and one for outdoor use, is, by far, the best training and learning tool I’ve ever come across. It shows you, quite graphically, the path your clubface takes into and through the impact area. In other words, you can see, first hand, after each shot, why the ball went where it went. That’s important information to get on your own. A teaching pro will still be a tremendous help to get you on the right track. But with subsequent practice on the range, you can monitor the clubface path on your own, giving you vital information in helping fix your slice, pull, shank, push, whatever.
It does this with a special suede-like fabric used for the surface of the mats, that shows you the path, and then can be erased with a brush of your club in the opposite direction. You can do this with or without a ball, which is great because you can get instant feedback on a practice swing without the ball before you swing with the ball.
Of course, it won’t exactly tell you how to correct a wayward swing, but it will give you a visual indication of the corrected direction you need to take. Then, if you’re still baffled, you can take that information to your pro and get his experienced help in making the changes.
I found the mats incredibly useful for this process of diagnosing your swing faults and guiding you toward correction. It just reveals an otherwise hidden aspect of what the clubface is doing during a part of the swing that is an absolute blur. Even a slow motion camera couldn’t tell you what this mat tells you.
The mats are totally portable, nothing to plug in, no monitors to check, nothing to calculate. Just the marking the clubface makes on the mat with each swing. And, yes, you can hit a ball off the mat. For the indoor mat, a couple of Velcro strips are included to keep it steady on a carpet. This can be used at the range as well, by lifting and removing the separate piece that has the rubber tee at the station and putting the mat in its place. That way it’s on the same level as where you’re standing on the larger mat at the hitting station. The outdoor mat comes with four long tees to pin it down on grass tees, if your range should have them. This works equally well in steadying the mat, and is made of the same fabric as the indoor mat.
If it sounds like I’m overflowing with enthusiasm, it’s because I am! This is one fabulous training device. The price is relatively reasonable, and you can even get a discount if you use the following codes.
• For 10% off an indoor mat you can use code: MindfulGolferIndoor
• For 10% off an outdoor mat you can use code: MindfulGolferOutdoor
Through their affiliate program, I get a cut of the sale if done via these codes. It’s the first time I’ve ever entered into such a financial arrangement with a product that I’ve reviewed. If you need more convincing about this mat that got a 2019 PGA Merchandise Show Best New Product award then check out their video on their website at http://acustrikegolf.com.
You can also find them at • Instagram: @acustrikegolf
• Facebook: @acustrikegolfmat
Remembering Arnold. Many of us of a certain age have lasting memories of Arnold Palmer slashing a ball back in play after an impossible lie (he, along with Seve, was one of the greatest recovery artists in golf history), smashing a tee ball 300 yards down the middle (he was one of the greatest drivers of the golf ball in history), or putting like the ball had eyes (during his prime, few were better than Arnold on the greens). This week’s tournament honors The King.
I saw him play against Nicklaus in ’60 at the Whitemarsh Open outside of Philly, and I can remember his low, penetrating missile-like drives boring through the wind and dead accurate (except for when he got into trouble!). I was one of Arnie’s Army back then, and, for sure, he inspired me to get into the game.
How could he not inspire. The guy was a force to behold, striding down the fairway, hitching at his pants, cigarette dangling from his lips, hatless, tanned and fit like a Hollywood leading actor. His aggressive play melded perfectly with the advent of TV increasingly following golf. Arnie, I think, did more for opening the game to the masses then even Tiger did at a later time.
So I took up the game, dropping much of my interest in basketball, and got pretty good at it, making second man on my high school city championship team of ’63. We had not a single spectator at those high school events, nor did the girls comes flocking around as they did for football guys, but the game stayed with me and, at 75, I’m still playing, though far from those teenaged seven handicap days when I ate, drank, and slept golf.
So Arnie, wherever your spirit is roaming, thank you for the gift of golf you gave all of us back in those heady days and hopes of Camelot and moon shots. I, for one, am deeply indebted to you.