What is "Bounce" on a Wedge?
A wedge’s “bounce,” or a wedge’s “bounce angle,” as it’s often described, is the angle created between the leading edge and the lowest point of the sole or trailing edge, demonstrated by the photo below.
This is the area of the club that hits through the ground or “bounces” as it contacts the ball.
The greater a wedges bounce degree, the higher the leading edge is off the surface at address.
Playing a wedge with the proper combination of loft and bounce for your specific golf swing and course conditions promotes optimal contact, control, and ball spin, leading to increased scoring opportunities and more confidence in your short game all together.
The degree of bounce of a wedge is often represented on a wedges club head under the degree of loft and is most commonly between 4° and 14°.
What Are Your Wedge Bounce Options as a Player?
The degrees of bounce for wedges are simplified into subcategories called “Low Bounce,” “Medium Bounce,” and “High Bounce.”
Each bounce angle is more congruent to different swing styles and types of playing conditions (grass types, harder / softer turf, coarse / soft sand, etc.)
Low Bounce Wedge
Low bounce wedges are typically manufactured to have between 4 and 6 degrees (4°-6°) of bounce and are ideal for firm turf conditions with tight lies and bunkers with little sand or rougher sand in the bunkers.
The wedges’ “low bounce angle” design lowers the leading edge, meaning if your low point control isn’t precise, you have a higher chance of hitting poor shots, putting a massive premium on ball striking ability if you choose to play them.
Low bounce wedges provide the least in terms of forgiveness in a wedge, but if you’re confident in your hands and like to change the angle of the face a lot, low bounce wedges will suit you just fine.
Low bounce wedges are designed for the “sweeper swing style” or the player with a shallow angle of attack that takes very little to minimal divots.
For example, one of Phil Mickelson’s classic “high flop shots on super tight lies” would be best achieved with a low bounce wedge.
To efficiently play a low bounce wedge, you should be able to produce consistent, clean ball contact and have the turf conditions to match.
Mid Bounce Wedge
Mid bounce wedges, also known as the “medium” or “standard bounce,” generally have degrees of bounce between 7° and 10° and can be played on firm or normal turf conditions.
Most golfers tend to play mid bounce wedges because they offer the most versatility in terms of playing well from one courses conditions to another and allow for a lot of creativity for players trying to achieve exact distance and height on their wedge shots around the green (greater shot making capabilities).
Bob Vokey, designer and owner of the iconic Vokey wedge manufacturing brand, warns, “While mid bounce wedges are suited for almost all swing types, they most favor a neutral swing style with a moderate attack angle.”
If you don’t know what your angle of attack is, think about the types of divots you take and what your most common miss is. This isn’t a definitive way of knowing your exact attack angle. For that information, you’ll have to get on a TrackMan or legit launch monitor, but here’s a general idea of how to know what category of attack angle you fall into.
If you take deep divots and your most common misses are chunky or fat shots, you likely have a steep attack angle.
Having shallower attack angles means your common miss could be a thin shot or take little to no deep divots ever.
Everyone else would find themselves in the standard attack angle category.
High Bounce Wedge
High bounce wedges are typically best suited for softer turf, fluffy lies, and deeper soft sand in the bunkers. They also have more than 10 degrees of bounce.
A higher bounce angle creates a broader sole which prevents the leading edge from digging too deeply at impact. High bounce lob wedges are particularly useful to players who take deep divots and have a steep attack angle created by their natural swing type.
High bounce sand wedges create a ton of spin, leading to more stopping power and control over the player’s short game.
High bounce wedges provide the most in terms of forgiveness in a wedge but don’t confuse that for meaning only bad players need high bounce wedges.
How Correct Bounce Can Change Your Wedge Game Like World No. 1 Rory McIlroy
Rory McIlroy has been one of the best iron players and drivers of the golf ball for a long time now. He didn’t have terrible seasons during 2018-2021, but the only part of his game that kept him from achieving more during that time was his wedge game.
Time after time, year after year, we would watch Rory absolutely destroy a drive into the fairway to miss the green or leave himself in a poor position with a wedge in his hand.
Following the 2021 season, Rory was ranked 71st in the “Strokes Gained: Around-the-Green” statistic and desperately needed a change to get the best results competing on Tour.
Rory sought out his equipment sponsor TaylorMade and went through a full wedge bounce fitting process on his two highest lofted wedges (his 54° and 58°), where he felt his control lacked the most.
Keith Sbarbaro, TaylorMade’s VP of TOUR Operations, said about the process, “We presented him with all bounce options — low, standard, and high. We started with 50-75 yard shots, and he immediately noticed a lower and more controlled flight with the high bounce,”
Sbarbaro went on to say, “He also noticed how much better the club was sliding through the turf. The club was never getting stuck, whereas with low bounce, he noticed it occasionally sticking. We then moved to the chipping green, and once again, he felt it was much easier to get the club through the turf, the extra bounce allows him to be more aggressive without the club digging and the ball coming up short.”
Rory McIlroy, one of the purest ball strikers in the world, added eight (8!) degrees of bounce to his 58° wedge to then have 14° of bounce! He more than doubled the amount of bounce he had on his higher lofted wedges to increase the forgiveness he felt with them and allow himself to hit better and more confident shots with his wedges. He eventually settled on a more middle ground 11° of bounce for his 58°, but will still experiment with more bounce on less forgiving courses.
Since implementing the change to higher bounce in his highest lofted wedges, Rory has jumped from 71st to 13th in the “Strokes Gained: Around-the-Green” statistic.
Take this as a sign to experiment with the bounce angle the next time you buy new wedges.
About The Author
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