The whole idea of taking a set of clubs out to the golf course and, in the case of many an amateur, a healthy number of golf balls – for that occasional mis-hit out-of-bounds – is to unleash your inner champion. Who wants to confine their swing to narrow fairways, holes that are consistently under 100 feet or a course that’s tucked in against so many obstacles that golfers never get the feeling of letting loose?
At first glance, using a practice net to improve your golf game might summon similar feelings, as the prospect of hitting balls into a net a few feet away could take some of the “heavy hitter” factor out of your golf hobby.
Seeing the benefits of using a practice net, though – a high-quality one, not just any piece of netting – usually changes minds. Here’s what to look for when shopping for a practice net:
Given that you’re going to be hitting spheres that are slightly less hard than rocks, and that some of those hits are going to have considerable force behind them, it only makes sense to place a high priority on the strength of the net material. A strong net should consistently hold up to your best long-distance drive. While there are some mass-produced nets that are of decent quality, many are cheaply made and perform accordingly.
Another quality to test out when looking for a practice net is tightness. Too tight and your shots will simply bounce back after being hit – a situation that could become a dangerous hazard for the user and anyone or anything nearby. There are almost no nets that are too loose (other than those that are simply too weak, as described above), though personal preference will dictate the degree of tautness that works for you.
While quality never goes out of style, some less expensive net models generally can work well for younger or low-power golfers. Lighter hitters are less likely to send a ball roaring through the netting, and the lower cost of a medium-quality net can pay off in the longer run.
Heavier hitters and precision shot makers – not to mention assorted onlookers and possibly neighbors -- will most benefit from a high-quality net.