Right to the good stuff, what does bounce mean on a golf wedge? Bounce has almost as much to do with your success chipping as loft itself. Okay, maybe that’s an overstatement, but it’s important. If you want to master chipping and short game, you need a good understanding of bounce.
Bounce is the angle created by the difference in the lead and trail edge of the clubhead. The leading edge is the lowest point on the clubface and the trailing edge is the lowest point of the sole. The lower the bounce, the closer to the ground your clubface is at address. Bounce determines how you should play different shots with each wedge, and understanding it goes a long way in greenside control.
Let’s break everything about bounce down.
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How do you know what the bounce is on your wedge?
If you want to know the bounce of your wedge, all you have to do is take your protractor out and… Whoops, forgot that we aren’t all physicists and want easy answers.
Companies that make nice wedges want to make bounce clear and obvious. Somewhere on the clubhead, usually next to the loft, is a smaller number. That is bounce. On the lowest end of the spectrum, bounce will be around 4 degrees. At the opposite end, a wedge can have bounce of more than 10 degrees.
How bounce affects spin—or doesn’t
After figuring out what does bounce mean on a golf wedge, you need to understand how it relates to spin. We’d love to tell you there’s a direct correlation, but there’s not. In fact, bounce really doesn’t have much to do with spin at all. The golfer creates spin, not the club.
Before we go any further, a new wedge will spin more than an old wedge. No matter the bounce you choose, if you’ve played with a wedge for a couple seasons, it will not spin as much as a wedge straight off the shelf.
Unfortunately for someone seeking more spin, changing only bounce is not a solution. Like with every club in your bag, generating spin with a wedge has a lot to do with angles.
To learn more about what actually helps you “create” spin, read about proper ball position, turf interaction and angle of attack. Get a better understanding of those and you’ll have less run out on your short shots. With any luck, this will lead to shorter putts as well.
Since we’re trying to find out what does bounce mean on a wedge here, we’ll let you do a deeper dive on your own for this one.
Low Bounce Wedges
If you’re a beginner or high handicapper, do not buy a wedge with low bounce. These are the hardest to hit and should be reserved for the most talented golfers only. Low bounce for a wedge is between 4 and 6 degrees.
So why would anyone use a club that’s difficult to hit consistently? Versatility. With a low bounce wedge, it is easier to hit shots where you open the club face entirely. As anyone who has attempted this type of shot knows, there is very little room for error. You can also square the club for chips.
With the right type of swing, you can control the ball around the green with precision accuracy. When your club glides across the turf, rather than making divots, control is easy to come by. For summer in the desert, dry conditions suit low bounce wedges. If it’s spring time in New England, forget about it.
Another advantage of a low bounce club, it offers the greatest opportunity for minimal turf/sand interaction. If you’re trying to pick a shot clean, a low bounce wedge is the best club for the job. Again, there is a downside of picking shots clean. Come up even a half inch, and you’ll hit the ball thin and watch as it skips across the green.
There is considerable upside to a low bounce wedge, no arguing that. Even with the versatility it offers, it’s impossible to ignore the dangers of these wedges. Unless you’re an incredibly consistent ball striker, you’re going to want something with more bounce.
Mid Bounce Wedges
The difference between a low bounce and high bounce wedge is minimal. Even so, there is a section between the two, wedges with between 6 and 10 degrees of bounce. Like most pieces of golf equipment that straddle two extremes, these fit the game of the most golfers.
Mid bounces wedges fit well for most chip shots since you can change angle and bounce without much effort. If you want to bump and run, close the club face. For a flop shot, open it up. Having this versatility lets you get comfortable hitting a variety of chips.
Since this is a middle of the road type wedge, you can hit a few different types of shots, but will have less precision. Low bounce wedges will be more effective from tight lies. High bounce wedges will be more effective in soft and wet conditions.
Like everything in golf (and life), my recommendation would be if you don’t feel strongly about one type of bounce or another, go with the middle. While bounce is fixed, you can vary this slightly by changing your weight and amount of forward press. If you carry mid bounce wedges, it’s a middle ground that won’t hurt you or restrict your game.
High Bounce Wedges
High bounce wedges, the club for golfers that regularly chunk it, intentionally or unintentionally. If you think you fall into this category, you shouldn’t be asking what does bounce mean on a golf wedge. Instead, you should be asking how high bounce goes. For the sake of easy identification, it’s high if there’s more than 10 degrees of bounce.
If you have a high bounce wedge and are thinking about opening the clubface, don’t. By opening the wedge, you increase the bounce as well as the chances you hit the ball thin. With a high bounce wedge, you need to stick to shots where you keep the club square.
Up until now, it’s been all cautionary and you’re probably thinking what good does high bounce on a golf wedge have to offer? If you have a steep angle of attack and tend to get really underneath the ball, you can excel with these.
When you play in soft conditions, you need something that you can get underneath the ball with. A high bounce wedge fits the bill. If you can properly execute with this type of club, you will generate plenty of spin. When you aren’t a great short game player, however, you could end up with a lot of chunked chip shots that don’t make it to the green.