Fiberbuilt Golf Mat | A Review

Fiberbuilt Flightdeck

You don't need to look very far in golf simulator related forums to realise the cult status of the Fiberbuilt (or "FB" as it's referred to by the diehards) enjoys amongst this rapidly growing "golf at home" community.

With it's unique and patented fibre design, it has built a reputation for being ultra easy on the golfers' muscles and joints when it comes to 'turf shock'. A typical post in a forum where someone is looking for recommendations on good quality golf mats would go something like this - 

Questions - any recommendations on good quality mats for my SIM set up?

Answer(s) - FB, I used to have a [insert your mat here] and it gave me elbow/wrist pains. Then I got a FB and now I'm pain free....followed by violent agreements by other forum members.

Copy / Paste / Repeat.

I've been there too. When I first set up my 'golf at home' set up with a cheap thin mat and got a taste of the foreign concept of being able to hit unlimited golf balls, I quickly developed sharp pains in both my elbows/biceps. They have gone away now and haven't come back since I started using proper golf mats, but when I was looking for answers, Fiberbuilt came strongly recommended.

Unfortunately due to the lack of accessibility to the product in Australia, it was not something that I had considered buying. 

But with the founding of Kaizen Golf,  I became once again curious about what all the fuss is about with the Fiberbuilt, and how it differs from the range of mats we have available. So I bought a Fiberbuilt Flight Deck from the States and here's what I think about it. For our article on other popular golf mats available on the market, please read our golf mat buying guide here.

What Makes the Fiberbuilt Mat Special?

Before we get to buying the Fibrebuilt golf mat, let's first discuss what makes Fiberbuilt special. If you had a look at the product range of the Fiberbuilt website, you could be initially overwhelmed by the number of products they have have on offer. But the thing which makes Fiberbuilt different to other golf mats is its fibre. This is what the Fiberbuilt website says about it's fibres:


FB product descrip

Sounds pretty good? Let's buy one and see if it lives up to those expectations.

Buying a Fiberbuilt Mat in Australia

Buying a Fiberbuilt mat was not as straight forward as you would think. Looking at the Fiberbuilt range of products, I quickly realised the following 2 things.

1. They have a huge product range! From simple hitting sections to full sim offerings ranging from less than $100 USD to thousands of dollars! Given that I was only looking to test out their fibre, I went with the smallest and cheapest product which would let me do this - the oval Fiberbuilt Flight Deck, which costed $99 USD on the website. Essentially this is a portable golf mat which according to Fiberbuilt, uses the exact same fibre material.

2. There were no distributors in Australia.

    • Although Fiberbuilt offered free delivery to all of North America, you had to contact Fiberbuilt to discuss shipping options if you were outside US and Canada.   
    • Amazon AU? Nope - the only thing that was available was the 'Practice Station' which costed $1,400+.
    • Ebay? I was able to find 2 results on ebay and both were shipping from America, both costed about the same. So I spun the wheel and chose one for $138, and placed an order at the end of July.

NOTE: I can see now that there's a Flight Deck for sale on Amazon AU for $99.

First Impressions

Fast forward to end of Aug and the Flight Deck finally arrived!

Having the actual product in my hand, I have to honestly say that I was very surprised - having done some research into the product previously, I thought the fibres would be stiff... the fibres were S-T-I-F-F! Think of those stiff bristled brushes you get from the hardware store and those brushes you use to clean your golf club with - you will start to get the idea. See them side by side below.

Fiberbuilt bristles

Unlike traditional golf mats, where there's a bit of give when you pushed down on it, with ~3cm long ultra stiff bristles on top of a fairly hard plastic base, it was extremely difficult to push down on the mat with my fingers. But the mat was not built for that purpose...let's get the golf club and balls out.

It was also a strange sensation hitting off the surface. Instead of the usual "thump" you experience impacting with a golf mat (or actual turf really), I felt more a "glide" through the impact zone. There was definitely less "pushing back" from planet Earth. Then I tried to swing ultra-steep into the mat, (which you wouldn't normally do), the shock came back as the club was now thumping into the hard plastic base.

This was especially interesting for fat shots, which when I hit one, I would instinctively brace for impact, however impact was almost non existent unless it was a really severe "lay the sod" moment. 

Now the stiff bristles made sense - instead of thinking they provided padding against impact with the ground, think of these mats more as "shock absorbers".

So for the golfer who is a bit of a digger and bashes tones of balls at home, injury prevention - tick. 

Although my focus was on the fibres themselves, the flight deck did feel like a solidly built product and not much can go really go wrong. Durability - tick. 

Couple of other observations:

  • With fairly long bristles sitting on a plastic base, the ball was sitting very high off the ground (~5cm). You would either need to get a stance mat or get the "practice station" from Fiberbuilt to get a level hitting surface.
  • With the unique bristle/fibre design, it was a strange sensation when addressing the golf ball. The club didn't have any room to "sink" and rest on the turf, personally I found this to be slightly unnatural and couldn't get used to it.
  • The flight deck came with a pre-drilled hole for inserting a rubber tee holder. 

Fiberbuilt vs. Tee Turf Mat - Ball Flight Data Comparison

Now let's test if the Fiberbuilt mat delivers true ball flight data. 

Using a similar approach as how we tested our Kaizen Golf mat range (read our test here), I hit 40 shots with a 7iron off the Fiberbuilt mat and captured ball flight data using our Skytrak launch monitor. To compare, I also hit 40 shots off our Tee Turf mat which is my personal favourite. Here are the numbers:

  Fiberbuilt vs Tee Turf golf mat

The numbers are virtually identical, which was not a surprise, and the biggest source of variability was again the guy swinging the golf club. Though I do observe that there was a very small drop off with the Fiberbuilt mat in both ball speed (~2 MPH) and carry distance (~3m). Whether this was due to a bit more punishment from the stiffer fibres on slightly heavy shots or just me not entirely comfortable with how the club sat at address - jury is still out. But the differences are very small. 

So does the Fiberbuilt mat deliver true performance? Yes I think so.

Final Thoughts

Fiberbuilt mat is a well made golf mat which delivers an alternative design to the more traditional golf mats and does an excellent job in reducing "impact shock". 

Is it for me? Unfortunately no, for the following 2 reasons

1. It feels unnatural, from the way the fibres look, to the way the club feels at address, I just can't seem to get the hang of it. And as strange as it sounds, when I hit it fat, I actually want to feel some of it. Of course, this is a personal thing.

2. I don't have a steep swing and I've not had any pain in my arms since I started using thicker golf mats, so again personally I don't have the need to go the extra mile.

But if you are someone who is a bit of a digger and has persistent pain hitting off more "traditional" mats, then the Fiberbuilt mat is definitely worth a try.

If you are looking for other forgiving golf mat options, why not also check out our Kaizen Golf Hitting Strip which is a 'Divot Action' style design that's also purposely built to reduce turf shock.

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