A trip to the pro shop can be confusing enough when you’re familiar with the lingo. When you’re still learning it all, it feels like you need a translator and a decoder ring to figure out what wedge terms like loft, camber and bounce mean to your game. Golfers looking for their first clubs have an overwhelming number of choices, but you can be sure you’ve picked the perfect, or at least a little closer to perfect, wedge with a little help on the language.
What is Bounce on a Golf Wedge?
You rely on your wedge to get you out of tough spots on the course, especially bunkers and heavy rough from shorter distances, but if your wedge’s bounce is incompatible with your swing or the conditions where you find your ball, it may be tricky to escape these ball-eating traps. Bounce is one of the most important characteristics of a wedge, but a surprisingly large number of players don’t know what it means.
Technically speaking, the bounce of your wedge is the angle formed between the front of the club’s sole and the angle where it rests on the ground when you’re standing ready to swing. The bounce on most wedges ranges from zero to 12 degrees, though some specialty wedges may have a higher bounce angle. Practically speaking, the bounce angle determines if your club will cut into whatever surface your ball has landed on or if it will sweep the surface cleanly.
Low Bounce versus High Bounce
Many advanced golfers carry wedges with different bounce angles for different types of surfaces. Sometimes, you want your club head to float over the surface of the ground, especially if the surface you’re working with is very hard. Shots from hard or wet sand and thin turf call for a low bounce angle, all you really are trying to do is get the ball back to the fairway or on the green, you don’t need to pop it up and out of difficult terrain. Generally, a low bounce wedge has an angle of eight degrees or less.
A higher bounce wedge is just what the doctor ordered when you’re in the rough or soft, fluffy sand. These clubs, typically with bounces above 10 degrees, dig into the ground, popping the ball up and out of whatever nasty situation you’ve found yourself in. Because you are essentially aiming to get under the ball, the higher bounce wedges won’t give you the distance of a low bounce wedge, but that’s not necessarily what they’re about.
No matter your handicap, everybody needs a little help getting back to the fairway and/or hitting the green on those shorter distance approach shots. Next time you’re shopping for a wedge, you’ll be armed with the basic knowledge to confidently select the correct bounce for you.