Sand, Pitching, and Gap Wedge BouncePublished on 03/14/2023 · 7 min readKnowing 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.
Photo by Christoph Keil
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 is 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. Many golf wedges are available from different brands such as Mizuno, Cleveland, Taylormade, Cobra, and Ping.
There are many types of wedges such as approach wedges, jaws wedges, raw face, extra spin wedges, and wedges that can be used depending on the yardage. Many golfers buy wedge sets, but in general, wedges are subjective. There are wedges for high handicappers, tour players, fairway shots, and full-swing shots. Do you need maximum forgiveness, maximum spin, and accuracy, or are you trying to balance your distance gaps to your irons set?
Types of Wedges
You can have different types of wedges with different degrees of loft. For example:
- Pitching Wedges / PW (45°-50° of loft)
- Gap Wedges / AW / GW (50°-54° of loft)
- Sand Wedges / SW (55°-57° of loft)
- Lob Wedges / LW (58°-64° of loft)
All of these different wedges offer versatility and 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, and knowing the correct wedge bounce will help you. 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. You can also create different types of spin with different bounce options. Some bounces are good for normal turf. Others are better with fluffy lies or tight lies.
Often, amateur golfers will pick up a wedge and not realize how two Callaway Mack Daddy CB or Titleist Vokey wedges with a profile that both say 56 degrees can be completely different clubs. In fact, the performance and precision of the wedge are dependent on a player grabbing the 56-degree wedge that fits their swing style.
Because of these different types of scenarios, swings, and the thousands of different golf courses around the world, finding the best wedge lofts and wedge bounce for you with the right amount of bounce requires some education.
What Is Bounce?
The wedge bounce of the club is located 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 between those two is the wedge bounce. So essentially, that angle affects how high the leading edge rests off of the ground. You can have different wedge bounce categories such as high bounce, mid bounce, and low bounce.
To find out what wedge 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 wedge 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 different courses they tend to play. Are you mostly hitting pitch shots, bump and run shots, or short approach shots? Once you’ve figured it out and gotten closer to your exact distance, 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 start digging into the different types of wedge bounce and what they can do to help your long and short game alike. This will help you to choose the best wedge bounce for your next wedge!
Usually, a higher bounce angle is a wedge bounce of about 10°+. Since the leading edge sits higher off of the ground, a high-bounce wedge benefits people with a steeper angle of attack, as it provides more room for error. The steep angle of attack on the player's full swing creates deep divots and the additional bouncing effect helps to keep the face square and help the ball come off the face with the proper trajectory and launch angle. Having that buffer makes it a lot easier to hit the ball out of softer conditions, such as fluffy, soft sand in a greenside bunker or softer turf, due to the club’s ability to explode the sand and glide right on through.
As the polar opposite of a higher wedge bounce degree club, a low wedge bounce usually is considered 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 low-bounce, lob wedges (such as a 60-degree wedge) 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 shallow angle of attack and are best used in firmer bunkers or firm turf conditions.
7° to 10°. This is the most flexible type, as the degree of wedge bounce is in the middle ground between low and high. You can use this medium bounce wedge on a wide range of full shots, chip shots, pitches, and flexibility to use both the toe and the heel to get creative, 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, bumps, 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 wedge 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 for the game.
Take this information, digest it, and think about what you really use your wedges for. The wedge 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 about which club is the best for you, please feel free to reach out to a Curated Expert on what is best for your game!