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What is Bounce?

What is Bounce?

The meaning of bounce

You may have heard a television announcer during one of the PGA Tour event broadcasts or maybe your club fitter mention something called “bounce” when they were talking about a golf club. They are usually referring to a sand wedge, but all clubs can have bounce.

The term bounce means the sole angle of the club (the bottom part of the clubhead that comes in contact with the turf) in relation to the ground line.

If a club, say a sand wedge, is held in the playing position — and you had a worm’s eye view looking in from the toe end of the club — you would see that the shaft is straight up and down. It would not be leaning forward or back, completely vertical to the ground plane.

When the clubface is square to the target line, you would also notice that only a small portion of the rear of the sole on the club is actually touching the ground. The leading edge of the club is slightly off the ground. The bounce angle determines at what point the sole touches the ground.

The more bounce the less likely the sole of the clubhead will dig into the ground when you hit the shot. Bounce tends to help the club glide through the turf or sand.

Take for example that sand wedge we were talking about. If you play golf courses that have rather fluffy or “sugary” sand in the green-side bunkers, you would want to have a sand wedge with a higher bounce angle (about 10 to 16 degrees). If you play courses with firm sand in the traps, then go for a little less bounce so the clubhead doesn’t rebound off the hard sand (then try around about 9 degrees).

Let’s say that you like to use your sand wedge for many shots in the fairway, rough and around the greens. You may want your wedge to have a little less bounce so that you can play a variety of shots from these different areas.


Illustration of wedge angles for bounce courtesy Cleveland Golf.

The sand wedge is not the only club that you may want to have designed with bounce. The other wedges in your set (pitching, gap or lob wedge) should have some bounce to fit your game.

The pitching and gap wedges may need only 6 to 8 degrees of bounce, depending on your course’s turf conditions and whether or not you are a “sweeper” or “digger” when you swing the club. A sweeper tends to take a very little divot during the shot, whereas a digger will hit down steeper on the ball and take more turf. The latter requires more bounce to help limit the deep divots.

The lob wedge usually has less bounce than a sand wedge since it is used from various areas around the green. But if you use your lob wedge out of the bunker (like many Tour players do), then you should get one with an adequate amount of bounce so that it will not dig in the sand.

The other irons in your set may need a small amount of bounce to help you make better contact, depending again whether your swing is steep or shallow.

And that’s bounce. 

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