Millions of golf fans watch the PGA and European Tour broadcasts weekly, but the majority of these fans have no idea about what is going on when commentators start talking about wedge bounce and allowing the bounce to do the work.
If that is you, don’t worry, below we will take a closer look at what wedge bounce is, we will examine different bounce options and we will also talk about how to use the bounce on your wedge when hitting shots around the green.
What is wedge bounce?
In the words of world-renowned wedge guru, Bob Vokey, wedge bounce is defined as the angle between the leading edge and the lowest point on the sole of the club. Leading-edge and sole might be foreign words to some of you, basically what it means though is that bounce refers to how the clubhead interacts with the ground at impact.
To find out more about the anatomy of a wedge read our The 4 Most Popular Types of Wedges article.
Different wedge bounce options explained
Wedges are available in a variety of different bounce options and each option uniquely reacts with the ground. Bounce classification isn’t universal amongst manufacturers in terms of exact degrees but different offerings from different manufacturers are similar. Let’s take a closer look at the different bounce options.
Low bounce wedges refer to wedges that normally have between 4 and 6 degrees of bounce. Low bounce wedges tend to glide through the turf with ease and it is ideal for players with shallow golf swings that sweep the golf ball off of the grass.
Additionally, low bounce wedges perform optimally on firm golf courses where the club tends to bounce off of the ground naturally at impact due to the course conditions.
Mid / Std bounce
Mid bounce wedges refer to wedges that normally have between 7 and 10 degrees of bounce. Mid bounce wedges don’t glide through the turf as easily as what a low bounce wedge does and therefore it is best suited for players with slightly more steeper angles of attack.
Additionally, mid bounce wedges are ideal for players that play on golf courses that differ in firmness.
Low bounce wedges refer to wedges that normally have between 11 and 14 degrees of bounce. High bounce wedges tend to bounce off of the turf and it is ideal for players with steep golf swings that hit big divots.
Additionally, high bounce wedges perform optimally on soft golf courses where the club tends to dig into the ground naturally at impact due to soft course conditions.
What wedge bounce should I play with?
We touched on this when we looked at the different types of bounce but ultimately the answer to this question is that it depends. It depends on the course conditions that you play most of your golf at and it also depends on how you deliver the golf club to the ball at impact.
The general rule of thumb is that the firmer the golf course the lower the bounce and the steeper the golf swing the higher the bounce.
To learn more about which wedge bounce you should play with, watch this video from Mizuno’s Senior Club Engineer, Chris Voshall.
How to use wedge bounce correctly
Legendary golfer, Gene Sarazen, was the first person to have invented bounce on a golf club. Thanks to Sarazen golfers don’t have to worry about the leading edge of their wedges and irons digging into the ground, but it does however make a major difference to know how to use bounce effectively around the greens.
A good chip or pitch shot requires you to hit both the ball and the ground. Ideally, the golf ball first and then the ground with a descending blow to ensure crisp contact. Amateur golfers tend to struggle with hitting down on chip shots without getting the leading edge of the wedge stuck in the ground. This however can be fixed by knowing how to use the bounce on your wedge optimally.
Using the bounce on a wedge optimally when chipping is directly correlated to the position of your hands at impact. If your hands are behind it will expose the leading edge at impact and the result will be a sculled chip that rolls across the green, if your hands are too far forward the leading edge will get stuck into the ground and the dreaded duff will be the result.
If you are struggling with using the bounce on your wedges correctly give the following drill a try:
If you don’t have a piece of strong plexiglass board at home a trip to the hardware store might be required, alternatively a golf-specific lie board can be purchased online.
Place the ball in the middle of the board and hit a few pitches from there, flip the club around and take a look at the sole of your wedge, marks from the board will be evident. The positioning of the markings will indicate where your hands are at impact.
If the marks are too close to the leading edge it means that your hands are too far forward and vice versa. Ideally, you want these markings to be in the middle of the sole. These markings will wipe off easily with a wet towel. You can see this drill in action below.
Wedge bounce can be very complex to understand, but if you can grasp the basics of what we looked at in this article it could make a massive difference to your short game.
If you are still uncertain about if you are playing with the correct bounce on your wedges go for a fitting with a professional club fitter or visit your local PGA pro to ensure that your technique around the greens allows for the optimal use of the bounce on your wedges.