Golf Tips: How Much Bounce?

When you’re trying to choose which wedge you want to hit, many everyday golfers overlook if the bounce on their wedge matches the lie for their shot. For instance, if you have a shot that’s the right distance to hit with your high-bounce sand wedge, but you have a tight or hard-pan lie, your sand wedge isn’t the right club for the shot. On such a tight lie, a high-bounce wedge will probably skip off the ground and hit the ball with the leading edge. You’ll hit that dreaded worm-burning skull shot over the green and into the back bunker or through the green, down the bank and into the water.

How do you know how much bounce your wedge should have? For tight lies or off of hard pan, use the wedge with the least amount of bounce you have. That gives you the best chance of getting the face of the club on the ball. Grip down on the club if you have to get the right shot distance or modify the length of your swing. But with a low-bounce wedge, at least you can probably get the face of the club on the ball and hit a decent shot.

Suppose you have a normal lie on the fairway. Then you can use a wedge with a medium bounce and hit the ball in the center of the clubface. Even if you want to open the face to hit a higher shot, you should still be able to get the job done off a normal lie with a medium-bounce wedge.

From the rough, only use a wedge with plenty of bounce. You may have grass an inch or more deep beneath your ball. If you try to hit a shot from the rough using a wedge with not enough bounce, you run the risk of the face sliding too far under the ball. You could even miss the ball entirely. At best you’ll catch the ball too high up on the face, the ball will go too high up in the air and not travel very far. With enough bounce, the wedge will travel through the grass and let you contact the ball in the center of the face. Take care in deep rough that the grass doesn’t grab the hosel and shut the face prematurely. To prevent that, adjust your setup and open the face slightly.

With every shot on the golf course, the first thing you should do when you reach your golf ball is inspect your lie. That’s especially true when selecting which wedge is the best club for the shot. Try to vary the amount of bounce you have in the wedges you carry. That will help you pick the best wedge to use depending on whether you have a tight lie, a normal lie or a lie out of the rough.