TESTED: Spornia SPG-7 Golf Practice Net

Golf News Editor Nick Bayly – and son – put the Spornia SPG-7 Golf Practice Net through its paces and finds that this lockdown essential is well worth the investment even when practice facilities and swing studios are open for business

Looking back on those dark times of the pandemic when golf courses and driving ranges were shut, one of ways I passed those long, long days stuck at home was watching social media posts showing the various inventive and mostly madcap ways that golfers came up with to keep their golf game ticking over during the enforced hiatus. From turning their living rooms into mini crazy golf courses and chipping balls into dustbins, to hitting balls into bedsheets hanging from washing lines, desperation proved the mother of invention for golfers deprived of their regular fix.

While I bought a load of random stuff from the internet during those crazy times, including an outside tiki bar, a dartboard, a roulette table, a pizza oven and some sourdough starter, the one thing I regret not investing in was a pop-up golf hitting net. With everyone using the garden all at once it didn’t seem fair to take up the space for a hobby for which I was the only participant in my household. Not when someone else wanted a hot tub (that never happened).

Anyway, it turns out I probably couldn’t have ordered one if I had been given the go-ahead as golf hitting nets were selling faster than toilet rolls during the height of the first lockdown and that it soon became harder to get anything resembling a half-decent hitting set-up than it did to get a couple of 1kg bags of 00 flour or, indeed, a haircut. With my fun spoiled, I soon lost interest in watching those videos of smug so-and-so’s who had got in early and were merrily smashing real golf balls in their back garden without fear of breaking their neighbour’s bedroom windows. Some – mainly club pros – had launch monitor and simulator set-ups and were able to play virtual golf courses all from the comfort of their own home. Good for them.

Best Practice Golf Hitting Nets

So, fast forward three years and – not ever to be accused of being late to the party – I’ve just taken delivery of one of the hottest selling items of the Pandemic Period – a Spornia SPG-7 Golf Practice Net. Yes, I know that driving ranges have re-opened and that golf courses are now accepting visitors and, on occasion, new members, but they require me to jump in the car and drive a few miles. This net is right here, right now, and doesn’t charge me £6.50 every time I want to hit a bucket of balls.

Looking at the size of the cardboard box as it came off the delivery van, I was more than a little dubious as to how it could possibly expand to create anything close to a hitting bay capable of containing my random dispersion of shots. But once out of its container, and following a cursory glance at the instruction guide, I had the thing up and running within 15 minutes – probably 10 of which were spent moving it from location to location under the instruction of Mrs Bayly before a compromise was found.

New golfer George Bayly in action on the Spornia SPG-7 Golf Practice Net in the back garden

Covering an area roughly the size of a 4-person hot tub – the precise dimensions are 2.1m x 2.1m x 2m high – the net is robust enough to contain the hardest of drives, and wide enough to cope with most errant iron shots, although my garden shed suffered some minor damage when my 15-year-old son decided that he wanted to give it a go having not picked up a club in several years. The upside of his consistent shank is that he now wants to have golf lessons, and at his age there is still time for him to develop into a LIV golfer and keep me in my dotage. For those that, like my son, are prone to the odd huge miss-hit there are extra side nets that can be purchased, but for those possessing a modicum of ability the net as it comes is more than adequate –providing you set up the hitting matt fairly close to the bay.

The hitting matt – which is an optional extra (£59) – offers three levels of all-weather turf to replicate fairway, fringe and light rough, and while it was fine for me, its narrowness means that new golfers might occasionally find themselves whacking the front of the matt rather than the ball if they get too steep at impact, although there are plenty of bigger matts to choose from.

Another boon of the Spornia’s design is that it returns the ball back to your feet, saving your back and your time, and meaning that you only need a couple of balls, while there is also a separate chipping net that can be strung up for when you want to work on your short game. With concentric catching nets, you can quickly devise a game to award yourself points based on your accuracy. While the net has a roof to prevent higher shots from escaping skywards, I’d advise against using lob wedges unless you have pro-level insurance.

After a month or so’s use, in which time my son and I have hit over 500 shots, I can attest to the net’s durability and its ability to groove your swing and keep your game in shape between rounds. I paired it with a SwingCaddie that had been sitting around in the garage – RRP £285 – that provides distance, swing speed, ball speed and smash factor stats – which provided some useful feedback and helps focus the mind, but with or without a launch monitor it’s a great piece of kit, providing you have the space, a patient partner, and understanding neighbours, whose don’t mind their peaceful evenings being regularly broken by the repetitive ‘thud, thud, thud’ of balls hitting the net.

While I set up the net outdoors, it could just as well be used indoors, in a double garage or large garden shed, or even a specially designed outbuilding, for extended winter use, and paired with all levels of simulator game play options and swing training set ups – but that’s another level of conversation for this particular household!

The Spornia SPG-7 Golf Practice Net is ideal for personal or commercial use in a converted garage or dedicated swing studio and can easily be paired with a launch monitor or simulator for coaching and game play throughout the year

The SPG-7 Golf Practice Net has an RRP of £319.99 and can purchased at spornia.co.uk, along with a range of other training accessories and launch monitor/simulator bundle packages.