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Hello everyone, Chris Trott here. I work on TOUR for TaylorMade Golf fitting some of the best players in the world. But today I want to talk to you about a question I hear all the time from amateur golfers: What is wedge bounce and how do I choose the right bounce for my swing?
As we discuss this, I’m standing on the range at The Kingdom in Carlsbad, California. I have two Hi-Toe wedges in my hand. One is the ATV grind, and one is the 4-way cambered sole that was developed with World No. 1 Jon Rahm just a few paces from where I stand.
Firstly, let’s define bounce. Bounce is the angle formed on the sole of a wedge from the leading edge to the trailing edge. Similarly, camber is the curvature of the sole from the leading edge to the trailing edge. As you can see in the video, we've got two different types of cambers. One is the ATV – featuring a dual ridge and “V” shaped leading edge with 12° of bounce.
Also, you'll notice that the heel of the golf club is really cambered away. What does that mean for you as we talk about the ATV? Imagine you're in a bunker and you're getting very low to play the shot and you've got the blade open in the correct fashion. If I was playing that shot, my hands would be much lower than they normally are at address. That is when I really use and activate the heel relief. Because if you have a heel that digs in, then the blade will turn left and it will cause the bunker shot, which is usually a soft, delicate shot to come out quick, over spinning and run. That's not what you need.
So by having this heel relief, which is part of the camber, immediately that helps the club clear through the sand with greater ease and allows the ball come out in the correct manner.
If you then look at the toe-side of the heel on the Hi-Toe wedge, you can see that's tapered away, as well. That design delivers its own unique benefit. Imagine you have a sandy lie, like an old divot or perhaps the ball is sitting in an imprint. When you have a bad lie, quite often, you want the smallest amount of sole interacting with the turf. And one way you could do that is to prop the toe up. Get the club close to vertical, while standing nice and close to the golf club. Then you play it as if it's a putt. You don't have too many levers (or wrist hinge), much like Jason Day would do.
Then you've only got minimal turf interaction and you can pop the ball out with over spin. So when you've got that nasty lie, the toe area, which often people overlook, is cambered away and is designed to have minimal turf interaction for instances just like that.
If you inspect the middle of the sole on your wedge, you'll see that it's angled as well. This is a major part of what bounce is designed to do, as the middle of the sole is used to push away sand in a bunker shot or to help the club come out of the turf on pitch shots. Once the club goes into the turf, it has to come out and bounce helps it to do its job.
A quick way to decide the proper bounce is to look at the courses you play most frequently. Where you're playing, whether it's soft fairway conditions or it's firm fairway conditions, can dictate how much bounce you have on your wedges. General rule of thumb: Softer conditions = more bounce. Firmer conditions = less bounce. It’s all about what helps the club get through the turf more efficiently.
The next thing to ask yourself is how steep do I swing the club? If you're someone who has a lot of wrist hinge with a steep attack angle into the ball, you're going to need more bounce to get the club out of the turf and not digging downward. Or perhaps you’re a more advanced player and don't have much wrist action, like Jason Day as I said earlier. You're not going to need as much bounce to get out or through the turf – especially if you're playing firm course conditions.
The final thing to consider, and it's actually coming away from bounce just a bit, is the leading edge. This area of the wedge is called the "belly" and on the ATV grind it is a little more rounded versus the 4-way camber – where the belly is straighter. This also improves turf interaction depending on swing type. The rounded edge benefits players with a steeper swing who take larger divots, while the straighter edge works better for players with a shallower approach and smaller divots.
In all of these situations, you must seek advice. Speak to a fitter in your area and get expert guidance on the right bounce for you. However, I hope this general overview is helpful and gives you the basic information needed when selecting wedge bounce. Good luck!