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January 2014

The Scoring Triangle Part 12: Understanding Bounce
Presented by SCOR Golf

I have saved the most important aspect of wedge design for last, but if you don't understand bounce, you cannot use your wedge to its best capability.  And bounce is the most misunderstood term with regard to golf clubs that there is. Here's a primer.

Bounce is the downward angle of the sole from the leading edge of the wedge to the trailing edge.  Its purpose is to provide a "lifting" force that makes the turf reject the club rather than let it dig, and that's what makes it work from bunkers and soft turf.  When the sand wedge was invented, they all had very severe angles, because they were only used from sand.

As sand wedges became more utilitarian tools, designers began to reduce the bounce so that they could work from a wider variety of lies.  The major brands tell us we should use a high bounce from soft turf or if we have a steep angle of approach to the ball; and a low bounce from firmer turf or if we have a shallower angle of approach.  That's how we try to match the "rejecting force" to the shot at hand.  There's more on this on the SCOR Golf website if you would like to dig deeper.

The key to good wedge play around the greens is to get the bounce of the club engaged in the shot.  Too many golfers forward press their hands so much - at address and through impact - that they remove all the bounce of the club from a practical purpose.  Unless that sole engages the turf in the way it was designed, it cannot help you execute the shot.

So, the best way for you to understand bounce is to take your sand wedge to the practice area and learn how to release the club through impact so that you feel the sole engaging and rejecting from the turf.  You want to let the clubhead almost pass your hands at impact to feel this.  Don't worry about the shot - feel the club's sole making contact. 

Become proficient in this and your short game will get better quickly.  And you'll be a better judge when selecting wedges from now on.


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