The term wedge bounce can be confused by outsiders to mean the bouncing of a ball after it is hit with a wedge. But in golf, the term doesn’t refer to the physical bouncing of anything, including the wedge or the ball.
What is wedge bounce? A wedge bounce in golf is the angle between its leading edge and the ground, provided that the club is held upright. The bounce can range from 4° to 18° depending on whether a wedge is classified as a medium bounce, low bounce, or high bounce.
In this article, you will find out all you need to know about golf club terms and wedge bounces, including the pros and cons of high and low bounces. You will also discover the best bounce for beginners and the contexts where you need steeper or flatter wedge bounces.
By the end of this post, you’ll have a complete understanding of how to take a wedge’s bounce into account when buying one.
Wedge Bounce: A Brief Overview
A wedge bounce is the angle between the ground and the leading edge when a wedge is rested perpendicular to the ground. If you place a wedge on the ground, ensuring that the shaft is at 90° from the ground (straight up), you will notice that the wedge’s leading edge is off the ground.
The degree to which it is off dictates its bounce.
While the term might seem like it refers to the bouncing of a ball after it is launched with a wedge, it actually refers to this angle. Most people don’t even notice the bounce because of two reasons.
Firstly, the contrasting angle of the other side of the wedge is far more noticeable.
Secondly, most standard wedges have a medium bounce, which is not as noticeable as a high bounce.
Let’s take a look at the different types of wedge bounces and their respective benefits.
The Different Types Of Wedge Bounce
Broadly, there are low bounce, medium bounce, and high bounce wedges. Each bounce range comes with its own benefits and limitations, which is why most pros carry four wedges in their bags.
Casual golfers can get a medium bounce wedge alongside a context-specific one.
Here are the different types of wedge bounces alongside the contexts where you’ll use them:
- Low bounce wedges – 4° to 6° – Used when the turf is tough or the bunker sand coarse.
- Medium bounce wedges – 7° to 10° – It is used around the green but can be used throughout the course.
- High bounce wedges – 10°+ – Often used when the turf is lush, or the bunker sand is soft.
To understand why these wedge bounces are preferred in their respective contexts, you should understand the effects of a high and a low wedge bounce.
Since higher bounce equals lower loft and lower bounce equals higher loft, the pros of high-lofted wedges are the same as those of low bounce wedges. Similarly, the advantages of low-lofted wedges are the same as those of high bounce wedges.
Benefits of high wedge bounce:
- Forgiveness (up to a point) – Because the wedge’s leading edge is raised, it is more likely to make passable contact with the ball even if a player isn’t perfect at making clean contact.
- Contact without drag – The lower the loft, the closer a wedge’s leading edge is to the ground, which creates the risk of dragging just before impact. A higher bounce is perfect for those who take out divots all the time.
- Transfer more of your swing force into the ball – With the leading edge not dragging on the ground at any point, the full force of the swing is transferred to the ball.
Benefits of low wedge bounce:
- Transfer more of your swing precision into the ball – Because a lower bounce lowers the odds of skinny hits, more of your shot calculation materializes in the results.
- Minimize odds of overshooting the ball (in some areas) – The leading edge of a low bounce wedge remains in contact with tall grass; it slows down closer to the moment of impact.
Which Wedge Bounce Is Best For You?
If you can get only one wedge in your golf bag, you should make it a medium bounce one, as it works in different course conditions. And if you can get multiple wedges, you should have all three. This leaves behind one specific context where you have to make a choice between different wedges with different bounces.
Only if you can get one additional wedge should you even think of leaving out either. When you have a medium wedge and plan to get on extra, you should make your choice based on your attack angle and swinging style. Below are the conditions in which getting one or the other makes sense.
You should get a high bounce wedge when:
- You already have a medium bounce wedge – Without a medium bounce wedge, a high bounce one will limit you.
- You take deep divots – If you have a digger-style swing, then the higher bounce will help.
- You have a steep attack angle – If you swing down on the ball too hard, you’ll benefit from the bounce’s forgiveness.
- The course where you play has ample fluffy turf – Tall grass or soft sand bunkers make wedge shots harder. The forgiveness of the higher bounce helps.
You should get a low bounce wedge when:
- You already have a medium bounce wedge – Again, if you don’t have a neutral wedge, you should get one before picking a low bounce wedge.
- You sweep when you swing – With this style, you might take minimal divots, but you may hit the air while missing the ball at times. Low bounce helps you avoid skinny hits.
- You have a shallow attack angle – If you sweep instead of swinging down, then the low bounce wedge will be more forgiving.
- The course where you play has hard, solid turf – Low bounce wedges are meant for clean contact on tough turf. It can fail on lush green and fluffy grass.
What Happens If The Wedge Bounce Is Too High?
While a wedge’s bounce usually equals forgiveness, it can become a liability after a point. A wedge might have a bounce too high for a golfer’s swing style, which can lead to skinny shots. In such cases, the wedge’s leading edge misses the ball, and the lower end slightly taps the ball. This lack of proper impact can lead to a high score.
There are very few instances where the bounce can be too high, though.
Let’s take a look at the contexts when you should avoid using a wedge with a high bounce:
- You have a sweeper swing style – A high bounced wedge is so antithetical to sweeping shots that a slight miscalculation with it can lead to a whiff.
- You have a shallow attack angle – Another contributor to whiffs is typically a shallow attack angle. This, too, is highly incompatible with a sweeper-style swing.
- The turf is too clear and rigid – If there’s no fluff on the greens, then even a slightly high wedge bounce can be too steep for the club.
- The ball is in a soft sand bunker – In hard, coarse sand, you need a lower bounce wedge or great skill and a medium bounce wedge. And wedge even slightly higher the medium bounce range is too high for the context.
What Happens If The Bounce Is Too Low?
In very few cases can, a wedge bounce be too high for a golfer. It can be too low in many more instances. That’s why most beginners are asked to get a medium bounce or a low bounce wedge. But if you’re an intermediate golfer who plans on getting a low bounce wedge, you have to consider the consequences of it being too low.
If a wedge’s bounce is too low for your swing style, you will take a divot. This happens because the loft hangs too low. Even for sweepers, the leading edge can drag on tall grass, which can reduce the force that transfers to the ball. And that’s in the best cases because, in the worst ones, you end up taking a divot.
To avoid this, remember to use a low-lofted wedge only if it works with your swing style and also when the course conditions call for it.
Below are a few contexts when (even a slightly) low loft can be too low:
- If you swing down on the ball – Digger-style strokes are fundamentally incompatible with low bounce wedges. Even a slight deviation under the medium bounce can prove too high for a golfer.
- You take divots with a regular wedge – If you can’t help but take divots with a medium bounce wedge, then even medium bounce might be too low for you.
- The ball is in a soft sand bunker – It is easier to make a clear shot when the sand bunker is filled with coarse sand. But soft sand is too uneven to give clearance to a low bounce wedge.
- The ball is on fluffy turf – Similar to soft sand, fluffy turf creates resistance for low bounce wedges. Up to a point, this can even be healthy, but if the bounce is too low on lush turf, it can result in a very poor shot.
A 10 bounce wedge means that your wedge’s leading edge is 10° off the ground when the wedge is held upright. The 10 bounce wedge is considered the highest bounce in the “medium bounce” range or the lowest bounce in the “low bounce” range. It can be used in different course conditions but can be suboptimal on hard ground and tough turf.
A 12 bounce wedge is a high bounce wedge with a leading edge that is 12° off the ground when it is held up. As a high bounce wedge, it is forgiving and leads to minimal divots.
Recap: Golf Wedge Bounce Definition
A golf wedge bounce refers to an angle on the wedge. More specifically, it is the angle that occurs between its leading edge and the ground when the wedge is held upright.
The wedge bounce has an inverse relationship with the loft. Generally, higher bounce wedges tend to have lower lofts, and lower bounce ones have dipping lofts.
If you want to rely on only one wedge, then you should get a medium bounce wedge which generally has a 7° to 10° angle.