The winner of the best new product at the 2019 PGA Merchandise Show was the Acu-Strike Golf Impact Training Mat. I got my hands on the indoor version to see whether it could really help your game.
Essentially this is a strip of suede-like fabric which you use in the same way that you would use a fairway mat out on the golf course in the winter. Simply hit your shot from the white dot on the mat, and it will create a mark where your club has come into contact with it. From this, you can discern your low point, swing path and even get an idea of your divot size too.
The hope is that once you start getting that real visual feedback of how and where you're coming in to strike the ball, you can work on improving your patterns for more consistent results.
So does it work? Well, kind of. There's no denying that, after you've hit the ball, you'll see a big stripe on the mat giving you a general idea of where your club has been. But there's a couple of issues with this.
First of all, the accuracy of this is a little questionable. There were a few occasions where I felt I had hit the ball perfectly, and the numbers on the Foresight launch monitor backed this up, yet the mat was showing that I actually caught the ground well before the ball. I definitely can't duff an 8 iron and it still go over 160 yards in the air!
The second thing is that this doesn't give any indication as to where your club face is pointing, so I would be hesitant to take it as a serious training aid when looking at club path. There's no point fixing a big out-to-in swing path if your face tends to be delivered slightly open - you'll go from hitting consistent fades to huge right misses.
If I was to use this, it would be as a quick and handy tool to work on my low point and impact position on the downswing. You don't even need to have a ball on the mat to use this, so it could be good for practice at home where you just work on getting into the right positions and build a repetitive swing without the distraction of having to actually hit the ball.
But at £64.99 for the indoor version it's certainly not priced to be a gimmick product so you'd have to be a pretty dedicated golfer, or pretty desparate to fix your swing faults, to give this a go. If you do struggle with ball-striking then consider that this product is the same price as two golf lessons with a PGA Professional. For now, I think I know which one I'd go with.