What is Bounce on a Golf Club?

Do you struggle with your short game? Are you tired of getting caught up on tough terrain after a stellar drive? There’s a good chance that understanding golf wedge bounce will help you fix the issue and cut some strokes out of your short game.

Don’t golf another nine holes until you learn what is bounce on a golf club is and why it’s essential! 

wedge about to hit golf ball

The Importance of Bounce in Golf

Bounce is one of the most confusing concepts in golf, but it doesn’t have to be. In short, bounce is the angle between the sole of your clubhead and the ground when you are correctly addressing the ball.

More specifically, it is the angle of the leading edge at its lowest point to the sole in relation to the ground. 

Many golfers don’t understand bounce, but ignoring it is a mistake. When your club has the proper bounce angle for you, it prevents the leading edge of your clubhead from digging into the ground. The result is a cleaner hit with more control and precision.

If you could improve by even a few strokes, isn’t it worth understanding how bounce can work for you?

Is more bounce better for wedges? 

All irons have some degree of bounce because of how the clubhead is designed, but bounce is most relevant for wedges. The amount of bounce varies as the angle of the clubhead’s sole is altered.

A club’s bounce can range from 2 degrees to 18 degrees, which may not seem like much, but it can have a significant impact on the course.

Though there are other considerations when determining appropriate bounce, let’s start with the three levels of bounce for wedges. Each level of bounce is best suited for specific scenarios. As you’ll see later, you may find that you prefer one over the other.

Low Wedge Bounce

Clubs that have zero to 10 degrees of bounce are considered low bounce, though the most common angles are 4 degrees to 6 degrees. The angle on low bounce clubs is so minimal that the leading edge of your club is nearly flush with the ground.  

If you have a tight lie, a low bounce club will give you a more precise shot. They are also useful on courses with firm turf conditions or bunkers with hard or coarse sand because you’ll get cleaner contact.

Mid Wedge Bounce

Also known as standard bounce, these clubs have 7 to 10-degree angles. Mid bounce clubs give you excellent control over the distance and trajectory of your shot and can be used on firm to normal turf.

They are the most versatile of the three because they work for most players on most courses. Standard bounce clubs favor a neutral swing style because their medium angle will offer a little more lift than the low bounce wedges.

High Wedge Bounce

Do you tend to leave deep divots on the fairway? If so, you may benefit from a high bounce club because it will have a higher leading edge to limit your contact with the turf.

High bounce clubs have more than 10 degrees of bounce, but usually no more than 16 or 18 degrees. 

There are two scenarios where you may want to consider a high bounce club. If the course has softer turf, fluffy lies, or bunkers with soft sand, a high bounce wedge could save your short game.

Since high bounce clubs create a lot of spin, they can also give you more control over your shot.

what is bounce
From practical-golf.com

What bounce should I get on my wedges?

Since bounce is a critical aspect of golf’s short game, it primarily applies to wedges. To use bounce to your advantage, you need to understand some other aspects of golf club design and your personal golf style. 

The Four Wedges of Golf

There are four main categories of wedges that are identified by variations in their lofts. Differences in the loft angle will impact the distance of your shot, so it’s critical to understand the roles each wedge can play in your short game.

  • Pitching wedges are primarily used for longer chip shots. They are the most common wedges and have the lowest loft to give you the greatest distance of four. 
  • Gap wedges, a newer type of wedge, were designed to fill the space between sand wedges and pitching wedges. Also known as attack wedges or utility wedges, they’ll give you more distance than a sand wedge, but less than a pitching wedge.
  • Sand wedges are aptly named for their use in helping you out of sand traps. They are also used for chip shots because you’ll get more height off them than you’ll get from pitching or gap wedges. Sand wedges tend to have the highest bounce of all wedges.
  • Lob wedges are another new addition to the wedge family. They are useful for chips, flop shots, and bunker shots because balls will have good height, but not as much distance as the other wedges.
golf club bounce
From golfalot.com

What is Loft?

In golf, loft refers to the position of the clubface on the shaft and the resulting angle in relation to the ground. Loft affects the trajectory of the ball, primarily the distance it will travel.

Since pitching wedges have a lower loft (44 to 48 degrees), the ball travels a greater distance than it will with a sand wedge (lofts of 54 to 58 degrees).

Loft is essential for a successful short game, but what good is the perfect loft if your club snags on the turf or sticks in the sand? There’s a good chance you lose power when that happens, and you’re not getting the most out of your club or your swing.

Finding the proper balance of loft and bounce is the surest path to optimizing your short game.

In fact, the loft and bounce angles are so closely related that they are printed together on the soles of golf clubs. For example, a sand wedge printed with a 56/12 means that the loft is 56 degrees, and the bounce is 12 degrees.  

What Type of Golfer Are You?

Speaking of swing, do you know what type of golfer you are? Understanding your style of golf swing will help you determine the best type of bounce for your clubs. There are many different styles, so we’ll focus on the most common and how they are impacted by bounce.

  • Diggers: This type of player creates larger divots because their steep downswing gives them an aggressive, steep angle of attack. If you’re a digger, try a high bounce wedge to lessen the size of your divot, and the resistance you get from striking the ground.
  • Pickers or sweepers: Pickers, or sweepers, tend to have shallow attack styles meaning they use a level or slightly upward strokes that leave little or no divots behind. If you are sweeper, you’ll benefit most from low bounce wedges because your natural swing avoids contact with the ground.
  • Balanced or neutral golfers They fall somewhere in between diggers and pickers. If you don’t fit with the diggers or pickers, you probably have a neutral swing. You may want to stick with a standard bounce wedge.

Beyond your swing style and attack angle, you need to decide how you naturally address the ball. Usually, golfers will have an open or square approach. If you use an open approach, you would probably benefit from a high bounce club.

For those of you who square up, your shots should not be affected as much by bounce. 

man hitting golf ball out of sand trap

Consider Course Terrain

There’s a good chance you have more than one wedge in your golf bag. Consider the course terrain carefully when choosing your wedges. 

  • Soft courses with spongy fairways and soft bunkers may be easier with higher bounce wedges that will give you extra lift and less resistance.
  • Blended or neutral courses may be more challenging. Try a standard bounce wedge or combination of wedges in your bag to account for all variables.
  • Firm courses with hard fairways and coarse bunkers call for low bounce wedges because you don’t have to worry about resistance. 

If you play several different courses, you may end up with a variety of wedges to choose from, depending on where you’re golfing. This is often the case with professional players who travel to different courses with varying terrains. 

Wind Matters

If it’s a particularly windy day, you may want to use those high bounce wedges sparingly. Since they will give you more height on your golf shots, the wind will have more effect on your ball’s trajectory.

Watch Your Hands

When selecting a wedge with more bounce, be careful with your hands, so you don’t eliminate the bounce. If your hands get too far ahead during your swing, you aren’t taking advantage of the bounce.

It’s Time to Bounce!

You’ll never look at a pitching wedge the same again, will you? Now that you’re armed with the knowledge to choose proper wedges for your golf bag, you may be able to give your short game a boost and impress your golf partners.

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