Golf Wedge Bounce? What exactly is it, and why should I care?

Matthew Cooke
  • Author: Matthew Cooke
  • GLT Founder & Director
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GLT Content Team
  • Author 2: GLT Content Team
  • GLT Content Writer
Wedge Bounce System

Golf Club Wedge Bounce

With the exception only of driver and putter, your wedges are the most important scoring clubs in your bag.

They’re also the ones which can bring the biggest and quickest improvements in your game.

But as with all kinds of golf equipment, the technology of wedges has developed dramatically in recent years; and the old days of carrying just standard pitching and sand wedges are long gone.

So understanding the numerous different wedges which are available, and choosing and carrying the ones which best suit your game, is now a vital part of your golfing armory.

The loft of a golf club is a familiar concept for most golfers, but the idea of golf club bounce is much less well understood. This is unfortunate, because when it comes to choosing a wedge, the right bounce is probably just as important as the loft.

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Understanding Golf Wedge Bounce

In technical terms, bounce can be defined as the angle between the sole of the club and the ground when the ball is correctly addressed; or alternatively as the amount by which the sole lifts the leading edge of the clubface above the ground.

Perhaps the easiest way to appreciate the importance of bounce is to think about the standard “splash” escape from a sand trap.

Before the invention of the modern sand wedge in the 1930s playing out of sand was dreaded by players, because with anything less than a perfect contact the leading edge of the club would dig into the sand and ruin the shot.

But with the high bounce sand wedge the club will easily slide through the sand, enabling the player to hit safely behind the ball with a far greater margin for error.

Applying the same principle, using a higher bounce wedge for shots from turf may help eliminate some of the “chunked” or “fat” shots around the green which ruin so many scorecards.


Choosing the Wedges to Suit Your Game

The right wedge bounce for a given situation depends on two things: your type of swing and the condition of the course on which you are playing.

If your swing tends towards the upright in plane, with a correspondingly steep angle of approach to the ball, you are probably more prone to the fat or chunked kind of miss with your irons, and a higher bounce wedge is likely to suit you better.

Conversely, if you have a flatter swing plane and shallow approach to impact you are more likely to hit thin or blade the ball, and should go for a lower bounce wedge.

In terms of playing conditions, a course with short mown, firm fairways which tends to give tight or bare lies is best tackled with lower bounce wedges than a course with longer, lush grassed fairways which will tend to catch the leading edge of the club.

Away from the fairway, it’s always worth having a high bounce wedge in your bag to help you escape from thick, heavy rough. Of course you can always use your sand wedge for this around the greens, but if your fairways are also fringed with extra-long grass it may be worth carrying a high bounce pitching wedge as well.

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The Choice Available

Today’s wedges can be obtained with degrees of bounce ranging from as little as 2 degrees to as much as 18.

The very low bounce end of the spectrum is of most use to the low handicap player who can be reasonably confident of not chunking, and who likes to put a lot of spin on the ball with a steep approach to impact.

On the other hand, for the average to high handicap player a bounce in the 10 -14 degree range is probably the most useful.

With wedges now also ranging in loft from 45 to more than 60 degrees, the addition of bounce into the equation can make for a bewildering range of options. But experimenting until you find the right wedges for your game will prove well worth the trouble if you’re serious about saving strokes.