Rukket SPDR Portable Driving Range Net Review

Rukket SPDR MKI Net 2

50 Words or Less

The Rukket Sports SPDR Net and portable driving range is a nice semi-permanent practice option for the avid golfer looking for at-home practice.

Rukket SPDR MKI Net 14

Introduction

These days, I just flat out don’t have the time to get over to the golf course and practice like I used to which has left me constantly searching for an at-home practice option where I can take full swings with every club in the bag.  I had good results with the Rukket RukkNet Pop-Up net, and now I’m taking on the SPDR MKI net to see if it fits the bill even better.  Rukket is offering the SPDR MKI net as part of the Rukket Self-Contained Portable Driving Range which also includes side barrier protective wings and a tri-turf hitting mat.

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Ease of Use & Setup

From a use perspective, the Rukket SPDR MKI is a great practice net and does its job well.  I found that the net absorbed shots of all types very well, and you can take full swings with every club in the bag without worrying if you will miss the net or that the ball won’t fall straight down in a contained area.  Of course, if you setup too far away from it, it will be easy to hit a high-lofted club over the net.

Personally, I would prefer a larger hitting mat for a couple of reasons.  First, when you address the ball, you inevitably have the ball slightly above your feet.  While this isn’t a deal breaker by any means, it would be better to be on the same level as the ball.  The other, bigger reason is that I constantly think about the possibility of missing the mat and driving my club into the ground.  Considering I use the mat on concrete, it’s that much more terrifying.  Of course, the purpose of this product is to be a portable and self-contained driving range, so if the mat was any bigger, it would not fit in the provided bag.  Given that reason, I’m perfectly ok with this.

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Setting up the SPDR MKI net isn’t horribly difficult, but also isn’t terribly easy.  The base folds out and sets into place with just a few simple clicks.  Raising the top half and attaching the net is the difficult part.  The pictures make it look easy to slip the net on, but even with one of the poles not fully engaged, there’s still enough tension in the net that slipping it down the poles is difficult.  With the net on both poles, that same tension makes it difficult to lock the second pole into place.  It took so much force to get the poles into place that the plastic piece was grinding against the bracket and literally scraping chunks of plastic away.  I leave the net on during tear down and inevitably have the same battle when setting up the top poles each time I take the net back out for use.  It’s easier now that I’ve gotten used to it and more of the plastic has worn away, but I wish this part of the process went a little smoother.

Another point to note is that the SPDR MKI net comes with a couple of spikes to hold the net in place.  At first I figured the net was substantial enough that I could get away without using them, and everything went fine in regards to hitting full shots into the net.  Then, all of the sudden, some strong wind picked up and blew the net over a couple of times on me.  I’m not saying this as a complaint, but merely pointing out to make sure you use the spikes to anchor the net to the ground.  They aren’t difficult to use and are worth the two extra seconds it takes to stick them in the dirt.

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Longevity

Aside from the plastic grinding against the metal bracket mentioned in the previous section, the Rukket SPDR MKI net is a very sturdy apparatus with a high quality net.  The tri-turf mat has three different heavy duty turfs that should last as long as any other high grade artificial practice mat you might purchase for home use.  When you look around at some of the other practice net options on the market, Rukket’s portable driving range is modestly priced and should hold up for quite a while with regular use.

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Value

In terms of value, I think it’s a toss up between the Rukket Portable Driving Range and the RukkNet Pop-up net.  I think the SPDR MKI and mat included in the portable range may give you a little better bang for your buck at $299, if you’re going for a better quality, semi-permanent practice station that you leave setup in your garage or back yard.  By definition, yes, it is portable, but when packed up in the bag, the SPDR MKI net and related accessories are not light and easy to carry.  For real portability, I would still put my money on the RukkNet Pop-up net.  Of course, that net does not come with a hitting mat which is a must.

Rukket SPDR MKI Net 4

Final Thoughts

Though the tone of this review may come off a little indifferent, I have to say that I have been a big fan of the Rukket Portable Driving range for at-home use.  You become familiar with setup and will be ready to have a full on practice session within five minutes, and tear down takes about the same amount of time.  The entire package is substantial and is a higher grade product than most anything else you will find in the market at a similar price point.

Bill Bush
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