When you talk to most golfers they tend to be pretty tuned in to their equipment when it comes to wood, hybrids and Irons. They know what to expect from each club and can usually rattle off the most important specs (loft, clubface angle, shaft flex, etc.). However when it comes to their wedges they tend to be less aware about what works for their swings. Most of them are aware of the trajectory and backspin they get with each one, as well as the loft of each club, however when it comes to the bounce angle of the club most golfers tend to be in the dark.
If this sounds familiar to you, then you may have a problem. It’s critical to outfit your wedge set with a variety of bounces, and at the very least, you should be able to point out the wedge with the lowest amount of bounce and the one with the highest. Even if you own a perfect wedge swing, it’s the bounce that ultimately determines how each club will react with the turf, sand, water—or whatever else your ball may be sitting in—through impact. The bounce on your wedges is just as important as the attack angle of your swing. The two combine to help you maintain speed through the ball or—gulp—dig into the ground and slow down.
For example, if the ball is lying on hard, wet sand and you try to hit this shot with a high-bounce sand wedge, you’re going to have a difficult time getting the ball out of the bunker. But if you know that your lob wedge has less bounce and that less bounce performs better from this type of lie, you’re in a much better position to save par. The opposite applies when you have to play a shot from soft sand. In this situation, more bounce will help the club glide instead of dig.
Take a few minutes to research the bounce angle on each of your wedges. If your clubs don’t have a bounce value stamped on them (for example, 55/12 means 55 degrees of loft and 12 degrees of bounce), ask your pro or custom club shop for help. The important thing is to learn if the range of bounces in your wedge set is wide enough to tackle whatever the course throws at you. Regardless of the lofts you carry, make sure that your wedges offer a low-bounce, mid-bounce and high-bounce option.
The perfect wedge set features loft gaps of 4 to 5 degrees between each club and a range of bounce angles to handle all the conditions in which you typically play. If your current set falls short of this standard, then you’re just making the game more difficult—and adding strokes to your score—every time you play.