For some golfers, hitting a wedge into the green is scary. It seems like so much pressure to hit the shot close when you’ve set yourself up with such a short approach.
But if you’re using the bounce of your wedge incorrectly, you might be setting yourself up for failure. While so many golfers are looking for another 10 yards off the tee and spending $400+ on drivers, understanding wedge bounce might help you even more.
You might be thinking…what is wedge bounce anyways?
The bounce on your wedges is one of those small details that so many golfers don’t understand but can really improve your game. As Bob Vokey said, “Bounce is forgiveness in a wedge.
The better the bounce matches your swing type and specific shot, the better your wedge game. Understanding wedge bounce is one of the ways you can become a wedge wizard around the greens, get more close, and give yourself more scoring opportunities.
Wedge bounce is the angle created between the leading edge and the lowest point of the sole or trailing edge of your club.
This is the area of the club that actually hits through the ground as you make contact with the ball. The greater the wedge bounce degree, the higher the leading edge is off the surface at address.
Having the proper amount of wedge bounce and grind option will give you the best chances for consistent contact, control, and the correct amount of ball spin.
To understand wedge bounce even more, check out the wedges in your bag and determine the bounce for each club.
For example, here’s how my wedges breakout:
- Gap wedge: 52 degrees loft, 8 degrees bounce (notated as 52:8 on the wedge)
- Sand wedge: 56 degrees loft, 12 degrees bounce (notated as 56:12 on the wedge)
- Lob wedge: 60 degrees loft, 4 degrees bounce (notated as 60:04 on the wedge)
Before reading further, check your wedges so you can understand how to use each one to your advantage. Here are the main types of bounce you will find in your wedges.
As you can tell from my example above, there are different amounts of bounce for each wedge in my bag. In fact, it’s not uncommon for Tour players to have different wedges and bounce amounts as they travel to different courses worldwide.
While that’s not doable for most players, you do want some variety with your wedge bounce. You don’t want all of your wedges to have a low bounce or high bounce.
In a perfect scenario, your wedges have a low, medium, and high bounce amounts which can help you around the greens.
Here’s how you can use each to your advantage and determine the wedge for each lie and course condition.
Low bounce wedges are typically between 4-6° like the lob wedge in my bag.
This low bounce wedge is ideal for firm turf conditions and bunkers with hard or thin, dirt like sand. Low bounce wedges are designed for clean ball contact and will give you precision around the green from tight lies.
Typically, low bounce lob wedges are used to hit high flop shots or tight lies around the green. Low bounce wedges are also useful to players with a sweeper swing style, with shallower attack angles and minimal divots.
Mid bounce wedges range between about 7°-10° degrees of bounce.
These wedges are played frequently on firm to normal turf. Players tend to choose mid bounce wedges to create both pitch and chip shots around the green, as they help achieve exact distance and trajectory control.
This wedge bounce type is the most versatile for more players and a good idea for the everyday amateur to have in your arsenal. Mid-bounce wedges are suited for almost all swing types but they most favor a neutral swing style with a moderate attack angle.
The last type of wedges are the high bounce wedges that tend to have more than 10° of bounce.
These high bounce wedges are designed for softer turf, fluffy lies, and bunkers with soft sand (think Florida, white, fluffy sand).
High bounce sand wedges are ideal for preventing the leading edge of the club from dragging too much in the sand. If you’re someone who takes a deep divot, high bounce lob wedges can really save you from getting too steep of an attack angle.
Lastly, when hit properly, high bounce wedges will help you generate a lot of spin. This will give you more control when you hit the lob shot and make it stop quickly.
Now that you understand how each wedge bounce helps your own unique swing, I want to give you a cheat sheet on which club to use in different scenarios. Remember, before every chip or pitch, to do two things.
First, make sure you pick a small target that you can focus on landing the ball. The sooner you can get the ball on the green and rolling like a putt, the more likely you will get it up and down.
Second, make sure to choose the shot that gives you the best chances of getting it up and down. Don’t try something on the course or in a competition that you haven’t mastered in practice.
Here’s how to play the right wedge in some of the most common greenside shots.
For the most part, fairways are usually cut thin and some types of grass can produce really thin lies. In this instance, you want to hit wedges with low to medium bounce. This will help you hit it pure and not thin it over the green.
In general, longer rough is suited best for mid-bounce wedges. But if it’s sitting up and fluffy, you might want to use a higher bounced wedge to ensure you don’t hit it high on the clubface.
Tight lies are scary for so many amateur golfers. So many players are terrified just walking up to the shot and constantly thinking about hitting it thin and sailing the green. But with a low bounce wedge, you don’t have to worry anymore.
Make sure you’re sticking to your lowest bounce wedge in tight lies!
Another important note with thin lies around the green it to keep your weight forward. This will help you create a steeper attack angle and hit down on the shot. Paired with the right wedge bounce, you should instantly find it easier to make crisp contact from tight lies.
Fluffy lies in the rough or fluffy greenside bunker shots are equally as tough as firm and hard lies. Sometimes the ball is sitting up so perfectly, it seems impossible not to hit it right. But if you have a low bounce wedge on this shot, you’re making it harder on yourself.
For fluffy shots, grab your highest bounce wedge and trust the club to do the work for you.
Do you still have questions about bounce and wedges?
Check out the most commonly asked ones to help you pick the right wedge for the right shot.
The best bounce for your lob wedge or sand wedge always depends on your swing type and lie. If you have a shallow angle of attack with minimal divots, stick with low and mid bounce wedges. If you have a steep angle of attack resulting in deep divots, a higher bounce is recommended.
I think it’s best to have a variety of wedge bounce as you’re bound to have all different types of lies during the round. Having a few options will make it easier to grab the right club for the right shot and give yourself the best chance to chip it close.
There isn’t really a standard for wedge bounce. Just go to your local golf shop and you can see that each wedge can have a variety.
For example, Titleist’s signature wedge, the Vokey series, have lob wedges that range from 4 degrees of bounce up to 14 degrees.
While the term “grinding” on the course usually means getting it up and down from tough spots, sole grind on wedges is also important. Yes, if you want to get really technical you can customize the sole grind of the club to make each club more equipped for your game.
For example, Titleist has a variety of grinds built into their latest, Vokey SM7 wedges. They have an F grind, M grind, S grind, D grind, K grind, and L grind. Each one is designed for specific swing types.
For example, the L grind features a narrow crescent shape that allows for maximum greenside versatility. I use this wedge for firm condition and is great for players who are confident opening up the clubface.
On the other hand, the F grind is an all-purpose grind that suited for full shots and players who prefer to keep the face square. Sole grind isn’t something you need to worry about too much but if you’re shooting in the mid 70s, this small tweak could help you around the greens.
If you want to make some serious improvement in your short game, make sure your wedges are optimized for your game and common playing conditions. Like the great Bob Vokey said, “Bounce is your friend.” Use this article to find the best wedges for your playing style.
Understanding how to use bounce properly will provide forgiveness on all wedge shots. This will allow you to still strike the ball properly even if you make mistakes.