Sand, Pitching, and Gap Wedge Bounce
Knowing which bounce you should pick for your wedge isn't easy. In this article, Daniel Moran helps you understand the basics and figure out which bounce is right for you.
It can be quite intimidating when you go to buy golf clubs and you’re not entirely sure of what everything means. You know that certain things exist or that they can be good or bad, but you do not know the specifics, and that’s ok! Looking at different aspects of the game of golf are important to understanding how YOU want to play golf and what will make YOU perform at your best.
One of those key aspects happens to be the bounce of the wedge. Wedges are clubs that have a higher loft (loft is the angle of the clubface on the shaft) and enable you to hit shorter shots with greater height so that the ball lands nicely on the green. They also help you when you land yourself into some sticky situations, such as bunkers or long rough.
Types of Wedges
You can have all different types of wedges with different degrees of loft. For example:
- Pitching Wedges (45°-50° of loft)
- Gap Wedges (50°-54° of loft)
- Sand Wedges (55°-57° of loft)
- Lob wedges (58°-64° of loft)
All of these different wedges are used in diverse situations. When you are close to the green and need to hit a higher shot to not have the ball roll out as far, you would use a lob wedge. If you were a little farther away and needed to hit the ball a little cleaner to get it to travel, you would use a pitching wedge.
Because of these different types of scenarios, swings, as well as the thousands of different golf courses around the world, finding the best wedge for you with the right amount of bounce requires some education.
What is bounce?
The bounce of the club is located in between the leading edge of the club (the lowest point of the face) and the trailing edge (the lowest point of the back of the club head), and the angle in between those two is the bounce. So essentially, that angle affects how high the leading edge rests off of the ground. You can have a high bounce, mid bounce and low bounce. To find out what bounce you are okay with, look at the loft of the wedge: if it says 54° and there is a small 10 near it, the bounce is 10°.
Which bounce should you use?
Good question, and it's not an easy answer. It depends on the golfer. You must consider what types of shots that player usually hits with that specific club, what type of swing they have, and what type of course they tend to play. Once you’ve figured it out, it can be your best friend. Bob Vokey summed it up perfectly: “Bounce is forgiveness in a wedge. The better the bounce matches your swing type, the better your wedge game will be."
So let’s dive into the different types of wedge bounce and what they can do to help your game.
High bounce: Usually a bounce angle of about 10°+. Since the leading edge sits higher off of the ground, a high-bounce wedge benefits people with steep swings, as it provides more room for error. Having that buffer makes it a lot easier to hit the ball out of softer conditions, such as fluffy sand or softer turf, due to the club’s ability to explode the sand and glide right on through.
Low bounce: Usually about 4° to 6°. The leading edge sits lower to the ground. You are able to hit high flop shots a lot easier, because that leading edge is lower, which can allow you to slide that face right under the ball. Better players will tend to favor a lower bounce, because consistency is less of an issue and the club enables them to hit a variety of controlled shots. Low-bounce wedges are more optimal for players with a shallower swing and are best used in firmer bunkers or firm turf conditions.
Mid bounce: 7° to 10°. This is the most flexible type, as the degree of bounce is in the middle ground between low and high. You can use this wedge on a wide range of shots as well as in all different types of conditions. The leading edge is in a more neutral position and allows a player with almost any swing type to benefit. Flop shots, bump and runs - you can do it all!
Now, different manufacturers have different ideas about what should help you get the most out of your wedge. Things like grinds, sole widths, and camber. These are essentially minuscule modifications to the bounce and sole of the wedge to get the club more custom to the way you play. Every company does it differently, but they all have similar ideas. Grinds will affect how the sole of the club looks and rests on the ground. If one company feels that most people will benefit from shaving off a certain area from the sole, then they will do it. Another company might think the opposite, but it is all in an effort to make the wedges more suitable to the game.
Take this information, digest it, and think about what you really use your wedges for. The bounce of the club is an important aspect of the game as it affects how consistently you can get the ball as close to the hole as possible. If you are here reading this article, then you are already taking steps to get better and improve your game. Getting the right clubs catered to your needs and playing style can really help you hone in on getting better and drastically improve your quality of life on the golf course. As always, we at Curated are here to help, so if you are confused on which club is the best for you, please feel free to reach out to a Curated expert on what is best for your game!