What Is Bounce in Your Wedges?Published on 06/16/2023 · 6 min readGolf Expert Jorge Arteta explains what bounce is on your wedges, as well as the various types of wedge bounces and why you would need each one.
Image courtesy of TaylorMade
Bounce. It's one of those words in golf that you understand but not entirely. So let's simplify the meaning of bounce as it relates to golf. There is wedge bounce, high bounce wedge, low bounce wedge, bounce angle, and degrees of bounce. Wedges and irons both have bounce. For example, the average 7 iron has about four degrees of bounce. If that was a lot to take in, no worries because this article will focus on wedge bounce and breaking it all down.
What Is Wedge Bounce?
Bounce is the angle between the bottom of the club (sole) to the leading edge of the bottom of the clubface. (See diagram 1.) The club's sole is the part that moves through the turf when hitting the ball. Bounce helps the wedge get through the grass easier.
Multiple things can affect bounce like the leading edge, the sole, type of grind, loft, turf condition, and course conditions. For example, do you need a higher bounce, medium bounce, steep angle of attack, or shallow angle of attack? Conversely, is there a need to launch it high, hit high flop shots, or understand what is normal turf, firm turf conditions, or softer turf?
The Right Wedge Bounce Is Subjective
Then you have to ask yourself what exactly you want. Are you looking to mostly chip or hit a fairway shot with your wedges? Someone with a steep attack angle will need a different type of wedge.
Manufacturers like Callaway, Titleist, and Cleveland spend a lot of time on the short game clubs because they are the most used clubs in the bag besides a putter. Golfers are offered wedges with forgiveness, precision, and a lot of spin. Different options are available in case of deep divots, tight lies, digging, or heel and toe misses.
In essence, finding the best bounce for a golfer will take some experimenting, which means deeper exploring the types of wedge bounce.
Types of Wedge Bounce
Generally, there are three bounce categories. Your swing and which wedge you’re using will determine what wedges should go in your bag. Many players may carry two to four wedges in their bag, ready for any unique shot. Picking which wedge is for you depends on your swing and the courses you play. Here’s a look at each type of wedge bounce and the player type.
Low Bounce Wedge
Low-bounce wedges are used for firm turf and hard sand bunker conditions. They are usually between four to six degrees of bounce. (See diagram 2.)
Golfers with shallow attack angles will benefit from low bounce because they hardly take a divot. This player will hit clean, direct shots from tight lies or try and flop the ball. A lob wedge would fit in this category, and it would be a 58- to 64-degree loft or higher with a bounce of about four degrees.
Consider that a lob wedge is used when you need to hit the ball over a bunker, water, or tree. It is also utilized for flop shots around the green or whenever you want to get some height on the ball and stop it quickly.
An extreme example of a lob wedge is a 72-degree wedge that I tried. The ball got in the air quickly and didn’t go far, but it stopped on a dime. And while there are not many situations to use a 72-degree wedge, it is fun to try and hit it. Tour pros use various wedges depending on the course they’re playing. Lob wedges come very handy when height is needed on a shot. Check the courses you usually play and see if it the type suited for your game.
Medium Bounce Wedge
These are like the jack of all trades. Medium (or mid-bounce) wedges are suited for a wide variety of turf conditions. Whether firm or soft, they will work very well and are usually between 7 to 10 degrees of bounce. (See diagram 2.) A gap or approach wedge would fit in this category. These types of wedges are helpful in multiple situations and courses and are used by many types of golfers.
Mid-bounce wedges are very effective for greenside shots, especially when trying to control the trajectory. Most players will have a neutral attack angle, meaning not too steep and not too shallow.
I enjoy using a gap wedge around the greens for shots within 10 to 20 yards. The trajectory is neither high nor low, and it’s easy to control. There are other shot options like a bump and run, so it usually depends on the lie, turf, and slope of the green. The gap wedge is versatile and can be used for many different shots. I’ve always had a gap wedge in my golf bag.
High Bounce Wedge
High-bounce wedges are designed to have a smooth interaction when swinging through the turf. They are usually 10 degrees or more in loft, the maximum typically being 16 degrees. The higher bounce makes these wedges easier to hit. Also, if you’re a player with a steep angle of attack (digging), then these higher-lofted wedges will minimize digging into the dirt.
The sand wedge, another versatile option, is what you will see in this category of bounce. Sand wedges are 54 to 56 degrees in loft and are used in bunkers, greenside chips, and many other shots.
As a golf teaching professional, I see many of my students carry one wedge, and it’s usually a 56-degree sand wedge with 14 degrees of bounce or more. Many don’t want to have or buy more wedges, and the sand wedge can be used in many situations. Whether a full-swing or short-swing shot, a sand wedge is a fantastic option because of how all-around it can be.
Special Bounce Wedges
Another option just to consider is sand wedges with expanded soles or bounce. Clubs like Cleveland Smart Sole 4, the C3i, and many others provide mid-to-high handicappers with very easy-to-hit shots from the bunker. Although the bounce is technically about six degrees on some of them, the effective bounce goes way higher than 16 degrees, which is the high range for standard sand wedges.
These clubs are mainly used to hit from the bunker and greenside chips. You don’t need to practice these shots much as it is effortless just to swing and watch the ball get up. A few of my students truly enjoy playing with these clubs, and they’re much happier with their golf game.
In Conclusion, Help Your Swing
Understanding bounce in wedges will help your overall game. The better players have multiple wedges and use different ones depending on the course they are playing. While I’m not saying that you need 15 other wedges in your garage, you might experiment with a few and see how they work with the golf courses you frequent.
As mentioned, bounce can be your friend and help you stay in the game. My lessons usually start with chipping over the bunkers, greenside chips, or bump-and-run shots. I try to keep the importance of the short game as a priority for students.
If you’re no longer confused by bounce but now need help determining the best options, here at Curated, we are happy to help. Chat with me or one of my fellow Golf Experts to find the right bounce for you and start your journey to a lower handicap. Enjoy the short game and have fun!