Whether its because of the weather where you live or you just want to do some work off the course to improve your game, you're probably in the market for some training aids. Even if you aren't looking you've probably been bombarded with ads for them just like the rest of us. Which ones are worth buying and which ones are just trash? We bought a shitload from silly to big name and will break them down so you can pick the right ones for you.
Round 1 of the this series pits two putting mats against each other. Little did we know when we ordered them just how similar they would be. The two we have are as follows:
As we unboxed these two products we were blown away by how similar they are. There are two options in our eyes. Either they are made in the same facility or one is an incredible rip off job. The major difference in design is that the LIQIWI has a tower to lean your putter on when not in use whereas the Perfect Practice has a removable backstop plate in the same spot. It's almost impossible to determine a winner on this segment.
Construction and Materials
These mats have a combination of wood and the actual putting surface. Both the LIQIWI and the Perfect Practice seem to be made from the same wood, but there's a huge difference in the putting surface. The LIQIWI is a turf style top with a black rubber backing. Even right out of the box this material unrolled flat and was ready for use. The Perfect Practice is a fabric material with a sewn edge and the face appears to be sublimation printed with the grass look and distance markings. This mat is slightly thicker than the LIQIWI and we had a heck of a time trying to get it to lay flat out of the box. First we stacked heavy boxes on it and left it over the weekend which didn't really help at all. After some research we saw that other folks online had used an iron to make this work. If you decide to do this, BE CAREFUL. The heat can brown the print on top and even melt it. Other than the flat lay the huge difference between the two is speed. The Perfect Practice is just plain faster. Your choice here comes down to the type of courses you're playing most often and what you prefer. In our mind, the LIQIWI just seems more appropriate.
With these two being made of the same wood and in the same exact style the only durability differences come down to the finish and the putting surface. The PP wood is stained whereas the LIQIWI is painted with a high gloss red. Even in our testing we started to see some chipping on the red paint. In terms of the surface, the PP mat is thicker and seems much more durable for long term use.
WINNER: Perfect Practice
The perfect practice is 2.5 times the price of the LIQIWI. I'm not sure what else we can say about that.
When we ordered both of these units for a comparison we assumed the big question would be "Is the Perfect Practice $120 better than the LIQIWI", but frankly they are so close its outrageous. It would be very hard to suggest the PP when you can buy two of the competitor's units AND a dozen Pro V1's for the same price. In this case, you're probably spending quite a bit for big name sponsorship deals.