One thing about being confined at home for weeks is you start reconsidering activities you might have dismissed before. For some that might mean painting or baking. For me, it meant hitting golf balls into a net.
It’s not that I hadn’t recognized the value of hitting into a net beforehand. It’s just that in the absence of a range at my golf course, I’ve usually devoted most of my practice time at our short game area. But when even that was closed for much of the spring, and the allure of the air swing began to diminish, I was left in search of a worthy alternative.
Enter my new Rukket Haack Golf Net ($149), which arrived in a box on my doorstep one morning, and which even this technically challenged correspondent was able to set up in the side yard within only a few minutes. So it had already passed the first test. The next test was putting it to work, and in the ensuing weeks it’s fair to say the newest addition to our household— standing 7 feet tall and 10 feet wide, guarding the side of the garage—has not been hurting for attention.
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Among the uses:
— Son No. 1, instructed by our golf pro to tighten his backswing, spends hours grooving the new swing by hitting balls off the supplied artificial mat into the net. We take short videos, ship them off to the pro, and await his approval. The same son had also ordered a new 5-wood as a birthday present, and shortly after nearly tackling the FedEx guy upon its delivery, burst to the side yard, where one could hear the repeated blissful sound of a new club meeting ball.
— Son No. 2, still grasping the basics, has been instructed to focus on taking a proper divot, and remaining balanced at the finish. This means the mat is tossed to the side, and our yard looks like the grass of a high school football field come sectional playoffs. On the bright side, compression! Son No. 2 is also set to resume baseball season soon, so in evenings, we cleared out the golf balls and hit soft toss into the net.
— Old man (me) sticks tees in the ground, and hits drivers knowing you can’t really gauge ball flight, but after a while you can tell by sound, and even by how the ball ruffles the net upon impact. I am also good for spending at least one work conference call a day chipping into the net, softly enough so that everyone thinks I’m still huddled in front of my computer.
— Older man (my dad), 85 and anxious to get back on the course, has determined he’s going to put in the proper time at my “range” first before taking his game public.
— Both sons are also hockey players, and are notorious on our street for trying to pick corners of our practice hockey net, only to fly pucks into assorted neighbors’ yards. New solution: the golf net can be placed behind the hockey net, so even the most misdirected shots will batted down. If they start missing that, well then it’s time for either glasses or a new hobby.
So it’s fair to say our net is getting plenty of use, and appears durable enough to withstand driver swings, line drives, wrist shots, and even the occasional puppy who gets wrapped up in its webbing. For the yard-challenged among us who want to air it out without the accompanying lawsuit of a neighbor’s broken window, it’s money well spent.