Will a unique, new mat improve your winter business on the course?
Sponsored feature: A new R&A-approved, pocketable smart mat has been created that allows golfers to maintain their normal swing and imparts the sensation of a divot.
by Damian Kilby, managing director of divotEND Scotland
We all know that rain and winter months reduce playable days and golf participation. Without a ‘player friendly’ way to protect our most valuable asset, turf, we’re more inclined to close courses during drizzle and after rain. Then there’s the inclination for golfers to stay away from golf in winter because their club mandates the use of normal winter mats. Bring on the ROCKET LAUNCHER Smart Mat!
The detrimental effect on the business of golf that rain and cold have cannot be completely nullified, however it can now be moderated. Already, across the UK and Europe, there are thousands of golfers using the new Smart Mat. They appreciate its fairway and teeing ground benefits so much that, if their club or pro doesn’t stock it, they’ve been going online to purchase it. Word of mouth is spreading fast so more and more golfers are ignoring the loaned mats supplied by clubs in favour of spending a little on a Rocket Launcher to ensure they can maintain their normal downward swing.
So if you are a greenkeeper looking to reduce maintenance costs, a secretary wanting improved participation, a tournament sustainability manager needing a smaller footptint or a CEO wanting to grab the attention of our lucrative demographic, this is a step in the right direction. This Smart Mat is a panacea to our sector that has, let’s face it, been feeling the pinch lately.
The geometry has been taken down to fractions of millimetres and angles. Even the engineering grade polymer used has been studied at a molecular chain level. A player simply puts the Smart Mat directly behind their ball, places the ball (or rolls it backward) onto the strike point. On typical half inch fairway grass the base of the ball will be touching the grass blades so a golfer need not shorten their grip. As the mat is so slim with the perfect balance of resilience and flexibility a player may confidently strike down on their ball. All golfers know that, more often than not, striking the ball first is essential to a good shot. After the ball has flown, the iron blade continues downward to strike the mat’s surface. Our Smart Mat, working in concert with the natural cushioning of the turf beneath, bends beyond the horizontal plane, allowing the blade to pass down as low as the root-zone level. The blade completes its entire swing arc without the typical ‘club head grab’ or ‘bounce’ associated with normal golf mats, carpet off-cuts and the plethora of other adhoc Astroturf sponges on the market. The Smart Mat’s engineering grade polymer combined with its textured satin surface impart the sensation of striking from natural turf. If should a player should strike a ‘fat’ shot these very same attributes will greatly reduce the shock to hands but won’t improve the shot.
An elite design team: industrial designers, engineers, even a sculptor, all of them golfers of course, spent 18 months and dozens of prototypes in the design phase. Supreme on our list of requirements was that the finished product did not affect the stroke of the club or the flight of the ball whatsoever. The R&A has assessed the Rocket Launcher and passed it for use when a club has mandated winter rules, that is preferred lies and mats.
Handicapping committees can now breathe a sigh of relief; on inspection you will find only a single ‘strike point’ position where a ball can be placed and, unlike other mats, it lies well within the six inches demanded by the Rules of Golf. Is this finally a solution for a universal standard by which players from all clubs, counties and countries can be equally challenged and judged when playing preferred lie?
At the Scottish Golf Show in March it was voted by organisers as the ‘Number 1 Best New Product’. At last months’ PGA Show dozens of pros were heard saying “It’s the best thing at the show”.
Each Rocket Launcher set includes two tees. These are both height adjustable and flexible polymer Reload tees and have been designed to easily insert into and remove from the strike point hole. They’re easier to use, extremely resilient, virtually unloseable and better than any expensive flex tees that golfers pay for and lose hand over fist. To clubs this might mean a saving of thousands of pounds each year by avoiding the purchase of semi permanent teeing ground mats, hundreds of give-away mats and the repositioning of teeing grounds.
Clubs, pros, golf unions, industry players and corporates are ordering their own printed Rocket Launchers. The divotEND team will emblazon any logo, brand or corporate message upon the surface to create a 9 inch x 3 inch billboard. When a golfer plays a stroke from the Rocket Launcher, as often as not, it turns over to ‘dynamically’ reveal the logo time and again. With so many international tourist golfers travelling to the UK, it certainly seems an attention grabbing way of getting one’s message out.
Prior to championship tournaments, a club needs to protect fairways and teeing grounds. Not only a practical turf protection device, once branded, the Rocket Launcher becomes a souvenir. We’re confident thousands could be sold prior to and during any championship tournament thereby affraying the costs to host events and assist and to spread the sustainability message.
The viability of clubs is paramount in our thinking but in the Smart Mat there is also a way to marry viability with sustainability. Using just Scotland as our example; research indicates there are conservatively over 400 million divots carved out of Scottish turf annually. The financial cost and carbon footprint of repairing these with blended fill through the 5 coldest months, when they’re essentially irreparable, is considerable. Our mission is to minimise that waste of funds, reduce nutrient use and to shrink the carbon footprint created by bringing thousands of tonnes of various fill ingredients from source to counties to clubs to fairways. Scotland’s golf sector represents just 1.34% of our sport’s global footprint.
Rocket Launcher Smart Mat sets, designed by an all-Scottish production team, retail at clubs and Pro shops for around £9.97. Commercial price queries and orders can be placed through firstname.lastname@example.org. divotEND Scotland also appears on Facebook and Twitter. Small quantities can be supplied direct to golfers online at www.divotend.com.