PGA Show 2020: Real Feel Golf Mats

February 24, 2020

I’m going to start out here as the Negative Nellie, but stick with me, I come around before long.

I’ve golfed my entire life. Outside. On grass. Admittedly, playing mostly economy courses, the turf was usually hard, and I never developed that down-and-through-impact that the pros win the big bucks with (because that kind of shot on hard-pan goes horribly wrong quite often).

That said, I usually had ranges with grass hitting areas, which I preferred. Play on grass, practice on grass: not a hard concept. When forced to warm up or practice on mats, I always felt cheated and that I was learning bad habits more than good ones. The rubber tee is fine for the driver, but irons on old-style mats or off that non-standard tee weren’t true-to-life. Forget wedges altogether. The only club I’ve broken in 50 years was a carbon-fiber-shafted iron — on a mat. I had to get the entire range to stand down while I collected the head from 80 yards down-range.

Did you notice I said, “old-style mats?” That’s the difference here. Real Feel Golf Mats has revolutionized the practice mat industry. We met Jay McGrath for the first time at this year’s PGA show and got the low-down on their flagship product, the Country Club Elite Mat®.

Jay is a personable guy who’s easy to talk to and is an inspiration to all aspiring entrepreneurs looking to be the master of their own destiny. He’s the owner and CEO of West Chester, PA based JR Mats, Inc. The public face of his company is found at realfeelgolfmats.com, where you can buy both the golf mats and their putting greens (as well as a host of other accessories that appear to be produced by other companies but offered on the site).


Country Club Elite Mat

Conceived as an answer to pretty much all the complaints I brought up in my opener, The Country Club Elite Mat has a lot going for it. Budget, run-of-the-mill mats are usually polypropylene fiber carpets with inadequate padding and too-short fibers. They not only give you terrible feel and a false sense of ground contact but also melt onto your club heads, leaving an unsightly residue that needs a lot of work to get off. The Elite, by contrast, is almost two inches thick, can take a real tee, and responds much more naturally to contact with wedges and irons. The pile is deep enough and gives enough to allow a more natural club-turf contact simulation. The pile is made of nylon, not polypropylene, so the gunk-stuck-to-your-club problem is solved too. For the same reason, it holds up to use better.

Photo courtesy of Real Feel Golf Mats

Historically the golf mat industry has mainly served the driving range and teaching facility market. With the proliferation of home-based practice solutions, from simple nets to full simulator bays, you can train at home for as little as twenty or thirty bucks to dropping a hundred thou on the biggest, baddest setup made. No matter where you fall on that spectrum, Real Feel Golf Mats can give you the foundation to start from. At commercial facilities, you’ll most often find the five-foot square size, but Real Feel sells the Elite directly to you in a range of sizes to meet your personal needs.

Their standard sizes range from 3’ x 4’ to 5’ x 10’ and cost between $239 and $997 (Shipping $25 to $100). The standard 5’ x 5’ is $499 (plus $40 S&H, tax).

Photo courtesy of Real Feel Golf Mats

If that’s too dear, they have Hitting Strips made of the same material in a range of sizes. The ten-inch width comes in lengths from 30” to 58” and there’s a 20” x 36” version. MSRP $49 to $99.99.

Jay gave us a rundown of the Country Club Elite Mat and the various applications that customers use their mats for.


An early fan of the Elite Mat was Top Teaching Professional Mike Bender, whose facility is just down the road from The Golden Ferret. Mike helped drum up excitement about Jay’s revolutionary mat in the early days and was instrumental in Real Feel’s phenomenal success. The Mike Bender Golf Academy Headquarters is located at Magnolia Plantation Golf Club in Lake Mary, Florida. It is a high-end golf school that has pioneered many innovative solutions for teaching the game, including incorporating the Real Feel Mats, and with Jay, developed the Uneven Lies Station (pictured below) for practice on an incline. Traditional mats, including Jay’s, wouldn’t hold the ball on the incline, so Jay invented a specially angled nap to the mat fibers to fix that. Real Feel offers their take on it here. MSRP $2,500. Not likely something you’d put in your backyard, but certainly a welcome addition to a training facility.

Photo courtesy of Real Feel Golf Mats

We hope to take a field trip to Mike’s academy soon and do a writeup on all they’ve got going on. Watch this space.

Real Feel offers putting greens as well. The Quick and True Putting Turf™ is favored by many commercial, school and training facilities. It has a stimp rating of about 11, according to Jay. Available for order in sizes from 1’ x 10’ to 4’ x 15’ — prices from $45 to $240 (plus S&H). Custom sizes available up to 15’ x 50’. Help with custom design and installation available. Why not carpet that game room with it and have your own all-weather practice green year-round?

While Jay was a great salesmen, the Country Club Elite Mat practically sold itself, so The Golden Ferret ordered the standard 5’ x 5’ Elite. It arrived promptly and looks great. We realized that to review products well, we needed our own dedicated work station on-site to be efficient. Paired with the Quick Up Range and our mevo, we’re ready to crank out a slew of reviews. Once we’ve got enough time on the Country Club Elite, we’ll publish that review as well.

Someday maybe we’ll be broadcasting from our very own Golfzon Vision Premium simulator with the 20’ curved wide-screen option, but until then, this will work quite nicely.


To learn more about Real Feel Golf Mats and to see the full line of products, check out realfeelgolfmats.com.