By Stuart Goldstein, CNG -- 35 degrees outside. Check. Steady rain. Check. Golf course closed. Check. The perfect day to practice golf- it is if you have the Rukk Net, the latest pop-up golf net from Rukket, an upstart company dedicated to sports nets and net accessories.
Rukket got its start in Ryan Dickerson’s tiny NY City East Village apartment in 2008. Unable to afford the pricey Chelsea Piers driving range, as well as being frustrated at the crazy amount of time it takes to hit balls at a range in NYC, Ryan would spend his free time hitting a foam practice golf ball against the wall in the courtyard of his apartment building. Many golfers have an AHA moment when practicing, but for a tinkerer like Ryan, this courtyard golf practice was his.
What particularly intrigued Ryan was having the ball return right to his feet after every shot, which allowed for more swings, a better use of his time and, as a result, more fun. “It was so simple yet very cathartic,” said Ryan. “A ball returning is so much more fun than when it doesn’t.”
And so, Rukket was born. Its name was derived from Ruckus, which is how the first few months went. But not anymore. Ryan spent several years refining the design, testing materials and identifying a state of the art manufacturing facility. Every Rukket product goes through extensive testing and re-testing using materials chosen “because they are going to last, not because they are the cheapest.”
This quality and design logic comes right through on every product. “We are dedicated to creating unique and functional products, products that take lessons and inspiration from all of life’s experiences,” added Ryan. At the 2011 PGA Merchandise Show, Ryan and his team decided to bring the Rukk Net to market.
I use a pop-up golf net 12 months a year, both indoors and outdoors, and have gone through many manufacturers offerings, from cheap to expensive-having never quite found the right net, until I found the Rukk Net. The Ruckk Net is quite frankly the most affordable, durable and functional pop-up net on the market today. Its versatility-it can be used indoors and outdoors- is unmatched. When I’m not hitting golf balls, my son is throwing lacrosse balls into it, practicing soccer with it or using it for baseball soft toss. Its diversity as a multi-use net is unparalleled.
The Rukk Net clearly satisfies all the basic requirements one looks for in a pop-up net: durable, easy to open and easy to fold up, good size, lightweight and affordable. On top of that the net offers some great design features and accessories not found in any other net.
For golf, the Rukk Net can be used for every club in the bag. The nets ample size and height, 7’ tall x 10’ high by 5’ deep, allows one to practice everything from chips and pitches to all out drives. The Rukk Net’s durability and strength is unmatched despite weighing only 14 lbs, or about the weight of a fully stocked golf bag. This state of the art construction design comes from the company’s strategic use of the industry’s leading materials.
From the Rukket web site: “The Rukk Net is made from high quality netting using a durable spring steel frame. The 4 ply knotless net is double stitched and built of the heaviest materials available. Knotless netting allows the power from each impact to disperse efficiently and will not wear out or get holes.” Bottom line-you won’t find a more durable net anywhere. Rukket guarantees it with free replacement parts or nets should you need them. I don’t think you will. Despite the considerable pounding I have given my net, it looks and performs as good as new.
Being able to quickly set up and take down a pop up golf net is a basic fundamental that must be in place in order to get in some real quality practice. There is nothing more frustrating than having to spend wasted time trying to figure out how to put together or fold up a net. The Rukk Net is as simple and hassle free as it gets. (See the attached video). Setting up the Rukk Net takes seconds. All you have to do is take it out of its carrying case and unfold it and you are good to go. Absolutely no assembly required. None. If you are using it outdoors, easy to use stakes are included. Putting the Rukk Net away is just as easy-a couple quick folds and it fits snuggly in its case, which at 32” in diameter is a perfect size for any closet or storage bin. Folding directions are cleverly sewn into the case as well as on the side of the net.
Perhaps the Rukk Net’s most dynamic feature is its use of a proprietary dual net construction that uses an interior net designed to act as a ball retriever. After every shot: drive, iron, chip or the dreaded s-word, the ball comes right back to you as if it has a built in GPS. No more bucket of balls, no more having to stop to get down on ones knees and collect ones shots. You can have an entire practice session, go through every club in the bag, and use just one golf ball. Best part-it comes assembled that way. No Velcro to deal with and no assembly needed.
Various forms of pop-up golf nets have been on the market for years, with most having failed to adapt to new technologies, better materials and advanced designs. Rukket golf nets has embraced all this and more and has quickly established itself as the preeminent manufacturer of pop up golf nets and accessories.
The Rukk Net, $179, is available at www.rukket.com. Innovative and fun pop up accessories for chipping and pitching start at $29.99.