Using the Bounce on Your Wedges
Being able to effectively use the bounce on your wedges is fundamental to developing a functional short game. The bounce is there to provide you with a reassuring margin of error. If you use it well you can get away with hitting your chips a little fat and the club will slide through the grass and still make a good contact on the ball.
How to alter bounce
- Shaft lean: Leaning your hands forwards will lean the shaft toward the target and reduce the bounce. Do this enough and the front edge will hit the ground first and dig in.
- Square or Open Face: As you open the face the club sits more on the back heel side edge. This will raise the front edge off the ground.
- High or Low Hands: High hands will encourage the toe end front edge to dig in first. As you lower the hands the club will sit on the back edge and have increased loft.
- Release Pattern: This is how you control the club through impact. Some golfers keep the shaft leaning forwards through the hit. Others have an 'under release' that exposes the bounce. Ideally, we'll be able to do both to fit the scenario.
What is a good amount of bounce?
This largely depends on your technique and the type of turf that you are playing on.
If you like to play the club face square on and with shaft lean then you would want >12 degrees on bounce to stop the front edge from digging in. If you are more likely to open the face then this will increase the bounce and therefore, you will require less 8-12 degrees.
High bounce values are well suited to lush parkland type grass where there is a spongey nature to the ground and the club can freely slide under the ball. If you play on hard links style turf then you will be familiar with how the high bounce angles will cause thin shots due to raising the lead edge of the ground. In this case, you want the sole of the club to sit more snugly with the ground (bounce 8-10 degrees).
This is the particular shape of the sole of the club. Rather than having a uniform curve to the sole, the bottom of the club may have the back, heel side shaved down so the player feels that they have bounce when they need it and can still open the face and have the club sit snugly on the turf.
Historically, tour players have created their own 'grind' with the support truck by grinding away the sole until it offers the most versitility to suit their short game. These days, some manufacturers will offer the same bounce with multiple grind options.