What Is Wedge Bounce? (And What To Use)

When picking out a new set of wedges, most people just consider the brand and loft of the clubs. While that’s fine for beginner golfers, there are many more factors to consider, one of the most important being the degree of bounce.

Wedge bounce is the angle created between the leading edge of your club and the ground. High-bounce wedges will sit higher off the ground compared to low-bounce wedges, which will impact how much the club digs into the ground.

We’ll get into what bounce is and what might be the best option for you. It’s pretty important because it can impact you in a lot of ways. It’ll change how the ball performs from the fairway, in the rough, and around the green. Let’s dive into the details you need to know.

Understanding Wedge Bounce

You’ll normally see two different numbers of your wedges. The first will be the loft (48-64) and the second will be the bounce (4-14).

It might not seem like a big deal, but when you start getting better it’ll give you a more predictable result. More bounce will glide through the ground while less bounce will dig in.

Factors like swing type, turf conditions, and where you’re hitting from will determine what bounce you should be using. It can get pretty complex and is easy to overthink, so I’ll try and make it as simple as possible.

The Different Types Of Wedge Bounce

Wedges come with various degrees of bounce and are classified as low, mid, or high bounce. Low-bounce wedges will dig into the ground or sand while high-bounce wedges will glide through and are generally considered to be more forgiving.

When it comes to bounce, you can get a sand wedge with low, mid, or high bounce. Since bounce impacts how the club interacts with the ground, it’s a useful tool for better players that want to be more creative around the green.

Tour players will have a number of different wedges with different bounce degrees. Depending on what course they’re playing, they’ll decide which one will give them the best odds of success.

For average players, it’s probably not worth stressing about what bounce setting is right for you. The best thing to do is have a few different wedges that work in a range of different scenarios. If you’re curious, you can see how many wedges the average golfer should carry.

Here are the different types of bounce:

High bounce: These wedges have 11 or more degrees of bounce. The benefit of high-bounce wedges is that they don’t dig into the ground as much. This means that they’re ideal for softer conditions and for golfers who have a steep swing (and take a large divot).

This is an option for every wedge loft out there. I decided to go with this bounce setting on my SW (12 degrees) because it helps me get the ball out of the bunker. I also play in an area that rains a lot, so more bounce helps me glide through softer ground.

Mid bounce: These wedges have between 7 and 10 degrees of bounce. The benefit of mid-bounce wedges is that they perform well in most conditions. Since they work well in both firm and normal conditions, these wedges are probably the choice for most players who only want a few wedges.

My pitching wedge is part of my iron set (yours probably is too) so I didn’t really have a choice there. For my gap wedge (10 degrees) and LW (7 degrees), I decided to go with the mid-bounce option because of its versatility.

Low bounce: These wedges have 6 or fewer degrees of bounce. The benefit of low-bounce wedges is that they dig into the ground quite a bit more. This means that they’re ideal for firm conditions and for golfers who have a shallow swing (and take little to no divot).

This is usually only available on a LW. Having a low amount of bounce is good for hitting creative shots (flop shots) and from tight lies. In my opinion, you’d only want to consider getting a low-bounce LW if you’re a scratch to low handicap golfer.

RELATED: The 5 Types Of Wedges (And When To Use Them)

How Bounce Works: The Test

Over the years, I’ve come to notice that what golf companies say isn’t always the case. What works for one person might not work for the next. Since that’s the case, I wanted to see if I could actually tell the difference between high, mid, and low bounce wedges.

I decided to grab a couple of different wedges and take them to the course. One thing to note is that I didn’t use the same make and model for each wedge. They were the same loft though, but just had different degrees of bounce.

Fairway

The first thing I wanted to test was how bounce impacted my full-swing shots from the fairway. One thing to keep in mind is that my swing is quite steep, so it’s possible that you’ll get different results.

After taking a number of shots with each wedge, I noticed that the lower-bounce wedges went higher than the higher-bounce wedge. This makes sense, the lower bounce wedges were able to dig in and get under the ball more.

Just as a personal preference, I’d rather have the slightly lower ball flight (feel like I have more control). On top of that, I had better dispersion with the higher bounce wedges.

The main reason was that the lower bounce wedges dug into the ground more and caused a few “fat” shots. The higher bounce wedges were able to glide through the ground to give more consistent contact.

Most people will only hit their GW and SW from the fairway (full shots). These wedges will normally only come with mid to high bounce. With the LW, you have the option for low bounce because they can be useful for small chip shots around the green.

I think most golfers would want a mid-to-high bounce wedge when they’re hitting full shots from the fairway. We’ll get more into this in the next section.

Bunker

The bunkers I did the testing in were somewhat neutral in terms of condition. They weren’t fluffy and they weren’t firm. Your results could be a bit different, depending on the type of sand.

What I noticed was that the lower bounce wedges dug into the sand too much and I had a tough time getting the ball out. Some shots were good, some were okay, and some were just terrible.

The mid and high-bounce wedges were much more consistent. This is why I think most golfers would prefer to have a mid-to-high bounce wedge for hitting out of the sand.

Tight Lie

Most golfers know all too well about chunking a chip or blasting it over the green when they’re beside the green. Some of the hardest shots for average players are ones where they need to chip the ball, but the ball is sitting down in the grass.

What usually happens here is that you’ll hit the top of the ball and will send it 20 yards over the green. You might also think too much about that, and as a result, not accelerate through the ball and end up hitting behind it.

What I noticed here was that wedges with lower bounce performed much better. They were able to get under the ball a lot easier which helped pop the ball up and get it close to the flag.

Since high-bounce wedges are designed to bounce off the ground instead of dig in, I noticed that they resulted in a lot of “thin” shots (hitting the top half of the ball).

For me (and I think for most), lower bounce wedges will perform better for creative chip shots (flop shots too) around the green. Whether you use a low or mid-bounce one will depend on your swing, which we’ll cover next.

RELATED: What Wedge To Use Around The Green?

What Bounce Is Best For Your Wedges?

Just because certain wedges are designed for a specific condition doesn’t mean it’s the right choice for you. Obviously, the best thing to do is try them out and see what works the best. Most people don’t want to spend the time and money doing that, so I’ll try and guide you through the process.

Here are the two questions you need to ask yourself:

  1. Is my swing steep or shallow?
  2. Are the courses I normally play firm or soft?

Answering these questions should get you 90% of the way there. My swing is quite steep with my wedges and the courses in my area are normal to soft throughout the year.

This is why I chose to go with a high-bounce SW and a mid-bounce GW and LW. There are other things to consider as you get better, which we’ll cover in a bit, but the basics will work for most.

Note. If you’re unsure about what is right for you, you can always get your wedges fitted and customized after the fact. Getting a raw wedge will make customization and fine-tuning easier.

Steep vs Shallow Swing

In my opinion, answering this question will eliminate one of the bounce degrees to give you a starting direction. If your swing is steep, you won’t want to get a low-bounce wedge. If your swing is shallow, you might want to avoid a high-bounce wedge.

The way you can tell about your swing is by looking at your divot. Do you take a big divot with your wedges or do you barely touch dirt? A big divot means your swing is steep while no divot means it’s shallow.

If your swing is steep then a low bounce wedge will dig even more into the ground. If you hit a lot of “fat” shots, this will make things even worse. I’d say this is what happens to most weekend hackers.

Using a wedge with higher bounce will “bounce” off the ground more so you’ll take less dirt and hit more ball. If this is you, either a mid or high-bounce wedge will be ideal.

On the other hand, if your swing is very shallow then you’ll probably hit a lot of “thin” shots. Using a high-bounce wedge might make that worse. Using something with lower bounce will dig into the ground more and should help you get better contact. If this is you, either a low or mid-bounce wedge will be ideal.

Firm vs Soft Conditions

Answering this question should narrow things down even further. You probably already know whether you should be looking at low/mid or mid/high bounce wedges.

The type of courses you normally play will also impact what type of wedge you should be playing. Some courses are soft, some are normal, and some are quite firm.

When you’re playing a soft course, your clubs will dig into the ground more. When you’re playing a firm course, your clubs will dig into the ground less.

Hitting the ball off soft turf or sand with a low-bounce wedge will give you some problems. Your club will dig way too far into the ground and you’ll lack consistency.

Hitting the ball off firm turf or sand with a high bounce wedge will also give you problems. These wedges are designed to bounce or glide through the ground, so if that’s the case, you might not be able to get solid contact.

Summary

Taking everything into account, if your swing is steep then you’ll want to use mid to high-bounce wedges. If your swing is shallow, you’ll want to use low to mid-bounce wedges.

I think it’s a good idea to use wedges with different amounts of bounce. You wouldn’t want to have 10 degrees of bounce on all your wedges. Spread it out to give yourself the best chance to hit the shot you need to hit.

What ended up being the best option for me was to have the highest bounce on my SW (12 degrees for bunker shots) and the lowest bounce on my LW (7 degrees for tight chips around the green). My GW (10 degrees for versatility) was somewhere in the middle.

After testing things out I was able to come to a few general conclusions. They might not be right for you, but I think it’s a solid recommendation for most golfers. Here is a table that summarizes things:

Swing & ConditionIdeal GWIdeal SWIdeal LW
Steep & SoftHigh BounceHigh BounceMid Bounce
Steep & FirmMid BounceMid BounceMid Bounce
Shallow & SoftMid BounceMid BounceMid Bounce
Shallow & FirmMid BounceMid BounceLow Bounce

Most course conditions are likely to be neutral, where sometimes they’ll be softer and sometimes firmer. You’ll just need to think a little bit about what bounce number will work the best for you. Are you better off going with a 7 or 10-degree mid-bounce wedge?

What Bounce Do The Pros Use?

Professional golfers have every combination of bounce and loft, and depending on what course they’re playing, they’ll decide which to add to the bag. As a general rule, they’ll carry low to mid-bounce wedges on firm courses and mid-to-high bounce wedges on soft courses.

It’s all based on strategy and course conditions. A pro golfer will have a low, mid, and high bounce sand wedge, and the same goes for their GW and LW (sometimes).

They generally know what the course plays like and what kind of conditions they’re in for. If they know that they might have a lot of tight lies beside the green, they will probably add at least one low-bounce wedge.

If they know that the bunkers are super light and fluffy, they’ll be sure to have a high-bounce sand wedge. They’ve practiced enough to know what each club will do to give them the best chance of winning.

Us weekend hackers probably don’t have the time and money to test every single combo of loft and bounce. That’s why most people pick 2-3 wedges that will perform well in most conditions.

Bounce vs Sole Grind

If you’ve looked into wedges you’ve probably noticed that you also have the option to change the grind of the sole. This just means that you’re able to change the shape of the bottom of the club.

Bounce and grind are somewhat similar, but are slightly different. Changing the grind of your wedges is a way to fully customize the bounce of the club.

You’re actually able to manipulate or remove part of the sole to fit your swing and course conditions. Both mid and high-bounce wedges can have the same grind.

If you place your club down to the ball it will have a certain degree of bounce. If you open the face, more bounce is created. If you close the face, less bounce is created.

Some people might like to open the face and hit a high flop shot. Being able to adjust the grind of the sole can slightly change the bounce to give you a more precise performance.

RELATED: What Is Wedge Grind (And How To Use It)

Note. This article is part of our series on how to pick the right golf wedge. If you’re curious about other factors that go into buying the right one, be sure to check that out.

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Hey, I'm Jon. I started Out Of Bounds Golf to share my findings after testing golf gear for the past 10+ years. My goal is to make the game a little easier to understand, whether that's with finding the right product or answering common questions. I currently live in the Pacific Northwest.

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