When assessing what wedges to put into your golf bag there are two main selection criteria to look at: loft and bounce.
Loft is a simple concept to understand and mostly relates to the gapping between each club in your bag.
Wedge bounce is a more complex factor and needs to be fully understood in order to have your wedge game performing to its best ability.
Wedge Bounce Definition
The standard definition of wedge bounce is the angle from the leading edge of the clubhead to the point where the sole meets the ground. More simply put, it is called bounce because it refers to how the sole of the clubhead bounces off the turf at impact. And this relates to a whole bunch of elements in the club design to determine the perfect bounce of the club.
The first element is the bounce angle.
This is the angle from the trailing edge of the sole moving upwards to the leading edge when the shaft is set perpendicular to the ground.
These days this angle will always be a positive one whereas many decades ago there were clubs with negative bounce angles to ensure the club dug into the ground more effectively at impact.
Today’s wedges generally fall under three categories of bounce: low, mid and high.
Low Wedge Bounce
Low bounce angles range from 4-6 degrees and are more suited to golfers who sweep the ball off the turf with a shallow angle of attack. Low bounce is also effective on very dry and tight turf conditions such as on most links golf courses where there is not much grass between the ball and ground.
High Wedge Bounce
High bounce angles range from 11 degrees upward to as much as 16 degrees. These are more suited to players with very steep angles of attack who require the sole to bounce as much as possible to avoid the clubhead digging too much into the turf. High bounce wedges are also the most effective out of bunkers hence why many golfers use sand wedges with high bounce. They are also a better option for golfers who play predominantly in softer conditions with lush grass on the ground.
Mid Wedge Bounce
Mid bounce angles range from 7-10 degrees and is what most golfers will use, especially beginners. You can have either a steep or shallow angle of attack using these bounce angles and they will work effectively on all lies. You may need to open the face more with mid bounce wedges out of soft lies in order for them to bounce effectively and this is where the next element, grind, comes into play.
Grind is a relatively modern addition to the design of wedges and refers to the extra shaping of the trailing edge of the sole.
Almost all wedge designers use grind these days to make their wedges more versatile regardless of the loft and bounce.
Wedges with aggressive grinds will have less material around the heel and toe portions of the sole allowing you to open or close the face more effectively without affecting how the club sits on the ground at address. A wedge with an aggressive heel grind makes it easier to play flop shots, even when the bounce of the club is high.
Wedge Bounce Chart
|Low Bounce Wedge||Standard Bounce Wedge||High Bounce Wedge|
|0-10 Degrees||10-16 Degrees||16-18 Degrees|
|Sole Width (Less)||Sole Width (Standard)||Sole Width (More)|
|Camber (Less Arch)||Camber (Standard)||Camber (More Arch)|
Selecting the Right Wedges
The wedge bounce and grind need to work together efficiently in order to get the best performance out of your short game clubs.
As such it is important that you consider the type of course conditions you regularly play golf on combined with your swing type before selecting wedges.
This may require a custom fitting, but will be worth the effort considering how often you will use each wedge in your bag. And it becomes all the more important to know what you need before purchasing due to the vast array of wedge brands with different loft, bounce and grind options available.