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Wedge bounce explained – Low Bounce Angle Wedge vs High Bounce Angle Wedge

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Wedge bounce explained:

Power is at the forefront of golf. After all, the long drive competition has become increasingly popular. Now tour players, on long par 5’s, are hitting a driver and wedge into the green. However, scoring is still dependent all on the short game.  There are several types of wedges that can help the short game, and at a quick glance, most wedges are easy to pick out.  Wedge bounce explained in this article will help you understand the ins and outs of your chipping game. Learn more about our chipping drills for beginners here. 

What is wedge bounce on a golf club?

Wedges are the shortest clubs in the bag, have the most loft, and have large clubfaces with cavity-back or blade-type heads. There is more to the wedge than meets the eye; Countless hours of research and technological advancements aid to the craftmanship of today’s wedges. One component that is tied to other variables is the bounce, which is the angle formed from the leading edge, sole of the wedge, and the ground. 

What is the purpose of wedge bounce?

The purpose of the bounce is to significantly reduce the amount the front edge of the club digs into the ground. Longer and mid irons have a small amount of bounce. Because lying in the fairway is usually good, the lower bounce will allow the front edge to dig into the ground slightly. 

Wedges, particularly the higher-lofted sand and lob wedges, have more bounce to keep the club from digging much into the soft sand or dirt. In most cases, players need not worry about bounce on longer irons in the bag.

High Bounce Wedge vs Low Bounce Wedge

High Bounce Angle

Bounce angles 10 degrees or more fall into this category. This enables the clubhead to bounce more off the ground as opposed to digging in, making it easier to hit consistently than a wedge with a lower bounce. Typically, these wedges are ideal with face angles that are square. The reason behind this is that when the clubface is opened (used to hit most bunker shots), the bounce angle increases, making it more difficult to get the wedge under the ball. Not utilizing the bounce can produce bladed or thin shots, which usually launch the ball over the green.

Take note that players with steeper downswings are more prone to chunking or hitting it fat. You should shallow you swing up.  Also, be aware of the firmness of the sand and different types of golf grass. If the surface is soft, a higher bounce will increase the chances of solid shots.

bunker shot using high bounce
Hitting out of a greenside bunker using high bounce club

Medium Bounce Angle

The bounce angles that fall between 6 and 10 degrees can be played either with an open face or a square face without much difficulty. In fact, wedges with bounce angles in this range work for players with a broad range of skill levels. These are the most common types of wedge bounces.

Low Bounce Angle

Angles 6 degrees or lower are undoubtedly the most difficult to use. However, players who compete at the highest level offer the most versatility. Low bounce is perfect for shots requiring an open-faced lob wedge around the green. Learn more about our best lob wedge for beginners here!

What makes the low-bounce clubs difficult to hit is little room for error.  Only the most skilled players get great results with a lob wedge, but when hit correctly, there is very little turf between the ball and the face of the club.

What does wedge bounce angle mean?

While bounce angle appears on the club, the measurement depends on a few factors. One of which is the type of shot you’re hitting and set up. When the face of the club opens, the leading edge rises, and the bounce angle increases. On the flip side, closing the clubface decreases the bounce angle.

This means that even though you have a 6 degree bounce club, you can effectively change it to 8 degrees or 4 degrees of bounce by the way you setup to the ball.

Grind of the sole (the shape of the bottom of the clubface) can also alter the bounce angle in the way that it minimizes the amount of increase in bounce angle. Therefore, choosing the correct sole grind is also a vital consideration in choosing a wedge, along with the loft and bounce angle.

How to pick bounce on a wedge

In some cases, bounce can be a good thing, but it can hurt your game in other situations. Playing a wedge shot with a high bounce can make you hit thin shots on tightly mown, dry, or firm fairways. The good news is that the average golfer will play on courses where these conditions are not likely. In short, the average player can use any type of bounce. 

A common mistake for the average player is to lean hands too far forward at address. In addition, players tend to keep those hands farther ahead of the ball at impact. These mistakes inhibit the club’s bounce from doing its job and can lead to chunked shots. Simply, think of your hands arriving at the ball at the same time as the clubhead, not before and certainly not after. The best part is that you can grab a best golf chipping net here and have no excuse to practice!

greenside rough bouce low wedge shot
Greenside rough high bounce shot in the mountains

Bounce can be used effectively out of the rough because the clubhead can slide under the ball, giving more control over the distance, which decreases the chance of yardage errors. On tighter lies, you may want to learn the shaft a bit more than neutral to allow the ball to come out lower and run. This type of shot is best when there is a lot of green to work with.

One is a low runner where I lean the shaft a bit more. I typically use this on tighter lies in the fairway, where I have plenty of green to work with.

Choosing Bounce and Effective Bounce for you

Golf clubs generally come with a set amount of bounce; therefore, be sure to be specific as to the amount of bounce you want on your wedges. Check out our article on the SM8 vs SM9 golf wedges for a better comparison. Remember that higher bounced wedges are better for shots from greenside bunkers with soft or ample amounts of sand, from the rough, or players with flatter swing paths through the ball.  Shots from bunkers with firm sand, off tight lies, or vertical downward swing planes, the high bounce is more effective.

When talking about effective bounce, you can change that in various ways. You can use long irons with an open stance and flat swing. You could also move the ball further towards the back heel with a high bounce wedge. What this effectively does is it delofts the club, which will bring you ball in lower. In fact, some of the most incredible shots are seen by delofting the club. Changing the effective loft of the club is not something the average player can generally do successfully, but it is often used with touring professionals.

Long Bombs Golf Final Say:

Look at the irons in your bag, particularly the wedges, and see what bounce you are taking to the course. If you have difficulty making consistent, solid contact, perhaps you need more bounce. The Titlist Vokey website has a great guide for their high/low bounce golf wedges, or you can check out a local golf shop!

When shopping for a new wedge, look for the loft, then the amount of bounce. Don’t forget about the sole grind. A professional club-fitter will be able to determine the amount of grind that suits your game, strictly based on your swing.

While it’s important to be able to hit every club in your bag, don’t just pound drivers, hybrids, and long irons on the driving range. Take time to know what wedge lofts, bounce, and grind is best for you.

Remember, scoring is accomplished with a sound short game. Bounce will help reduce the amount of error on shots around the green, which is key to lowering scores.

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