Explanation on wedge "bounce" & how to properly use it
Updated: Dec 14, 2022
The great wedge maker Bob Vokey (Titleist Vokey wedges) is quoted as saying "Bounce is your Friend!".
In order to best understand what one of the world's best club makers means by this, we have to take a deeper dive into how a wedge works & what makes it different from the other clubs in your bag. Let's explore!
First, we need to understand the different sections of your wedge. "Wedge" is defined by a shorter golf club (35"-36") with a higher loft (usually between 44° and 62°). The third unique piece that makes a wedge is the bounce of the wedge, as discussed in the video above. Just like loft, the amount of bounce can vary based on a of couple factors, such as the grind on the "sole", or bottom of the wedge or the purpose of the wedge. Also similar to loft, each wedge is usually stamped with the degrees of bounce it has. Generally, it is a smaller number directly under the stamped loft.
For this example, we're going to use some Titleist Vokey wedges to better understand bounce and its effect on your shots. Bob Vokey is known to many as one of the greatest club makers of all time. He is the proprietor of many different types of wedge grinds uniquely made for the best in the world, many of which have become more mainstream through the golf club advancements of the last decade.
Mr. Vokey's unique perspective into how the sold of the club interacts with the ground gave him free reign over finding creative ways to make difficult shots, lies, grasses, sands and other factors significantly easier to deal with.
Here are a list of the current wedge bounces available through Titleist, available at:
Each of these wedges has a different purpose and scenarios where they will work most in your favor. For example, the wide sole of the K grind wedge makes it easier to slide through sand properly, however will not work very well if you're hitting a chip shot off a hard dirt lie or tightly mown grassy area... that's what the S or F grinds are for!
Grind is important to understand, mostly because of the way it directly influences the resulting bounce of the club. Bounce is essentially defined as how high off the ground the "leading edge" of the club sits off the ground in a proper address position. Here's another great visual, courtesy of TGW, a fantastic resource to better understanding all types of golf clubs.
High bounces wedges (12-14 degrees), with the leading edge sitting in the air as pictured, are extremely beneficial in situations where you don't have to make clean contact with the ball as you would with an iron. This makes it much easier to use out of sand or deep rough where other clubs may dig too much. The higher bounce helps the sole of the wedge skim off the ground more than it digs. However, it also means there is not much room for error when using off a normal fairway lie, tight dirt lie or anything similar.
Lower bounce wedges are (8-10 degrees) are built more for fairway scenarios, tight lies where there isn't much grass or very short grass. They're build to be hit more like a traditional iron, although there is still some variance as a low bounce wedge will always have more bounce that a 9 iron or longer. Adversely, using this style wedge in the sand or deep rough that covers the back of the ball pretty heavily is not the best strategy. The smaller sole and lesser bounce gives the club a tendency to dig into the ground more than something with higher bounce, often leading to very fat shots that sometimes don't even move. It's not always the sole fault of your swing!
Want to learn more about the wedges you have and assess whether they're built for the types of courses you play most? Think you're ready for a new set of wedges?
Set up a Private or Reinforcement Lesson so that we can help you best understand how to use the wedges you've got now, help you find gaps where an additional wedge may help you find versatility, or guide you in finding the new wedges that will suit you best!