Bounce on Wedges Explained

bounce on wedges

When it comes to scoring, wedges are some of the most important clubs in your bag. They are your primary tools for getting the ball on the green and close to the hole when you’re inside 100 yards. Therefore, having wedges that fit your game and knowing when to use them is one of the keys to lower scores.

First, you want to like the look and feel of a wedge in your hand. You’re going to be using your wedges a lot, so you better like how they look.

Second, you want to appropriately space the lofts of your wedges. A general rule of thumb is to space your wedges by four degrees. Therefore, if your stock pitching wedge is 48 degrees, your subsequent wedges should be 52, 56 and 60 degrees (if you choose to have a 60 degree wedge and can fit it in your bag with the 14 club limit).

The third consideration, and often most misunderstood, is the bounce angle on a wedge. The bounce angle is the angle between the leading edge of the club in relation to the trailing edge when the club is sitting in a neutral position. The bounce angle is typically indicated on the club by a smaller number next to the loft of the club.

bounce on wedges

Image by: golf.about.com

Low bounce angles

  • typically range between 7 and 10 degrees
  • club is more likely to dig and cut through the turf
  • commonly found on lower lofted wedges such as a 52 degree wedge
  • good for use off of firm turf and out of wet/firm bunkers

High bounce angles

  • above 10 degrees of bounce angle
  • club is less likely to dig into the turf and more likely to “glide” over it
  • more commonly found on higher lofted wedges
  • good for softer turf, lush rough, and soft sand

Tour professionals will often choose their wedges before a round or specific tournament based on course conditions. The wedges they use in The Open Championship (on a firm links-style course) will almost certainly be different than the ones they use at a regular Tour event in North America on a softer, lusher course.

We amateurs don’t have the luxury of unlimited wedge sets to choose from before every round. So how do we prepare for varying course conditions? The best approach is to have a balanced set of wedges.

My current wedge setup up includes a low bounce 52 degree (9 degrees of bounce), a high bounce 56 degree (14 degrees of bounce), and a 60 degree wedge (10 degrees of bounce). Having wedges that vary from low to high bounce provides versatility.

Often times, selecting which wedge to use around the green is based as much or more on the appropriate bounce angle for the lie you have than it is the loft. If you find yourself in a bunker with extremely soft, fluffy sand, you’ll want to use the wedge that has the most bounce. It will help prevent the wedge from digging into the sand too much and losing its energy. On the other hand, if the bunker is very firm, you’ll want to use a wedge with lower bounce. This will help the club dig and cut through the firmer sand and prevent you from hitting it thin.

If you’re still unsure of which wedges to put in your bag, a general rule of thumb for most amateurs is to err on the side of higher bounce. If you’re shopping for a 52 degree wedge and can’t decide between 7 and 9 degrees of bounce, 9 degrees will probably be easier to play with and more versatile under average conditions.

Bounce is designed to be your friend. Using the appropriate bounce for the lie you have around the green can help salvage a shot that is hit less than perfect. Next time you’re practicing, experiment with different bounces off of different lies and figure out what works best for you. Learning how to properly utilize the bounce on a wedge can transform your short game and open up a world of possibilities around the greens.

by Josh StrukoffOffcourse contributor and owner of the Golf is Mental Blog.