What is bounce on a wedge?

Golf Equipment

We're all told we need to 'use the bounce' on our wedge shots. But what is bounce and why is it so important? In his latest Tech Talk, James Savage finds out from the best in the business.

You’ll hear everyone talk about bounce and how important it is when it comes to wedges.

Legendary craftsman Bob Vokey told me that ‘bounce was my friend’ when he fitted me into a set of wedges a couple of years ago.

“You need to use the bounce,” is what any tour player or PGA professional would tell you.

But what is bounce on a wedge? And why is it so important?

“I say bounce is your friend because it provides forgiveness on all types of wedge shots,” Vokey added.

“It’s the angle between the leading edge and lowest point on the sole. If you look at a wedge, the trailing edge is lower than the leading edge. This is the bounce angle.”

Another nugget Mr Vokey imparted on me was that bounce was not only the sole of the wedge but also the soul. The great Seve Ballesteros would have backed him up on this 100 percent.

Bounce

“It is the angle from the sole of the wedge relative to the ground,” in the words of short game guru Dave Pelz.

“It helps prevent the club from digging as it glides through the sand or turf,” Pelz told us when we met him at the PGA Show in Orlando.

It prevents the club from popping up abruptly when it hits the ground. So in a way it actually stops the club from bouncing.

Graeme McDowell told us that many amateurs are ‘afraid of the turf’ but having enough bounce means that they don’t need to be.

Do turf conditions dictate how much bounce you should have?

Yes. Technique plays a massive part too but and turf conditions are huge in deciding how much bounce you need to have on your wedges.

Softer turf conditions can require more bounce in the same way that bunker shots are likely to be played with wedges that have more bounce.

Players who like to place their hands forward, de-loft their wedges and hit down onto the ball should benefit from more bounce to help the club move through the turf.

Those who like the open the face to play flop shots will benefit from less bounce and they are trying to slide the face under the ball. Attempting this on firm ground on a wedge with lots of bounce will likely result in a thin.

So why do you need more for softer conditions and less for firm conditions?

Well, something that PGA professional Thomas Devine told us a few years back is a good analogy.

If you had a pot of soft butter, you’d be better with a larger, thicker knife. If the butter was rock solid, it will be more effective to use a thinner, sharper knife.

So how can you tell if your wedge has the right amount?

You can place the wedge on you hand or on the ground and see how much the leading edge sits up off the ground.

Bounce

Or you can just look at the sole and it will normally have a number from four to 14 which is the bounce angle.

Bounce

Four or six would be classed as low bounce, eight or 10 is mid-bounce, 12 and 14 is high bounce.

Cleveland used to have a dot system with one for low, two for mid and three for high but they now also stamp the bounce angle on the sole.

Bounce

What is the grind?

The grind is the way the sole has been shaped – it is the relief and contours that have been ground into the sole meaning that different grinds will be better for certain shots.

Certain grinds will suit wedges with high bounce and they will suit wedges with low bounce

Whether you like to play with a square or open face on your chip shots – there will be a grind to suit.

High bounce wedges designed for bunker shots for example will be grinded in a way to keep the club moving through the sand rather than digging in.

How do you know which grinds to get? Speak to your PGA professional.

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