Range mats provide a firm hitting surface, which makes them more forgiving than real turf on shots where the club bottoms out too early. Typically, the club strikes the mat first and bounces into the ball, often delivering a shot that “feels OK” with near-normal distance. Given the same type of swing on grass, the leading edge of the club will dig into the ground, resulting in an unsatisfying “fat” shot that finishes well short of target. So what’s the cure for this imprecise contact? Duct tape!
Actually, the real cure is practice, but duct tape can help. Tear off a strip about the size of your iPhone. Stick it to the mat, perpendicular to your target line. As you hit balls, place them about an inch in front of the target-ward edge of the tape. When you’re done hitting, you should still have a functional piece of duct tape left. Peel it up off the mat and roll it around a golf pencil. Save it for later; you never know what else you might need it for!