If you practice your putting at home by rolling a golf ball over the carpet and into a pint glass, it’s time to come out of the cave and walk upright. Indeed, for the mere cost of two cases of beer, you can own an effective indoor putting track that will give you a much truer roll and ultimately more results than your living room carpet.
In terms price versus quality, it’s hard to beat the Accelerator 3 Putting Trainer ($39 at TGW.com and other outlets), an indoor putting mat with a continuous gravity ball return. This mat offers bang for your buck and outperforms some of its more expensive counterparts.
The Accelerator 3 is an eight-foot-long rectangle of high-quality synthetic turf that ascends onto a plastic base with a hole in the middle. When you putt from the flat end, the ball rolls along the turf and up the base, and (hopefully) finds the hole. The ball then drops into the back of the base and around the side, where it softly rolls along a track right back to you. The effect is very peaceful and conducive to developing good tempo, unlike some of the battery-powered ball returns on other putting mats, which shoot the ball down the track with a jarring snap.
Another advantage of the Accelerator 3 is that the turf rolls flat right out of the box—you might think this would be a prerequisite for any putting mat, but that’s amazingly not the case. Synthetic mats are often plagued with folds, creases or bumps.
The Accelerator 3 features markers to assist with practicing putts of three, five and seven feet long. The distance markers are helpful, but the corresponding marks that promote a straight back and straight through stroke are, unfortunately, outmoded. The modern putting stroke moves in a slight arc, not straight back and straight through.
PutterZone.com’s solution? Place another excellent training aid, the Putting Arc, on the mat. It’s a perfect combination: The Putting Arc helps you develop the optimal arc-type stroke while the Accelerator 3 gives you a nice indoor rolling surface with the feedback and satisfaction of sinking your putts.
My only issue with the Accelerator 3 is that the hollow plastic base is rather thin and flimsy. This isn’t a problem with normal use, but if you’ve got toddlers, dogs or any other such hazards in your home, you’ll definitely want to keep them from leaning or stepping on the base. For a price of just $39, and considering the Accelerator 3’s generally excellent features, I can’t really complain about the base not being terribly sturdy.
In summary, PutterZone.com recommends the Accelerator 3 Putting Trainer as an affordable alternative to the vagaries of primitive putting practice. It may not fill your pint glass, but it will raise your game.