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Do you know what bounce you should play in your wedges?

About The Author:
Jason is a Class A PGA golf professional from Conyers, GA with over 10 years experience in the golf business. He has worked at various facilities including Cherokee Run GC, Reynolds Plantation, Woodmont GC, and The PGA Tour Superstore with over 10 years experience teaching and fitting all types of golfers.

The Oaks Course
Covington, GA
Author: Jason Coffin | Published: March 2008

Have you ever been fit for a wedge? The most common answer to this question is going to be no. Most golfers have no idea that the characteristics and specifications of a wedge can have a huge impact on how that club performs.What makes wedge fitting even more important is that inside 150 yards is considered the "scoring zone". If you can consistently get the ball in the hole in 3 shots or less from this distance, you will be amazed at how quickly yours cores will plummet. When making sure a wedge is fit to you, of course the lie angle, shaft length, and shaft flex are important, but the bounce and sole width of a wedge are aspects of the fitting process that are often overlooked.I will explain to you what to look for in a wedge when it comes to these to factors. Since everyone swings the club a little different, different specifications are helpful for specific swings, and the following information will help you find out which specifications are right for your swing.

One of the most common questions I hear is – "What is bounce angle?"Bounce angle is how much lower the trailing edge of the sole is in relation to the leading edge. A wedge is designed this way to reduce resistance to the sand when hitting behind a ball in a bunker. To get the feel of what this means, try hitting some shots out of a bunker with a pitching wedge. Do not open the face or manipulate your swing. The club will dig in the sand behind the ball and seem to get stuck. Now try the same thing with your sand wedge. You should immediately feel the difference. Because of the bounce, the club head encounters less resistance when it strikes the sand. The sole width also helps in this reduction of resistance. A sand wedge's sole, or bottom, is wider than other club's soles. This magnifies the effective bounce of the club, and build seven more resistance when driving through the sand.

Angle of attack is the first thing you should determine about your golf swing when deciding what type of bounce and sole width you want on a wedge.Angle of attack is not a class in military maneuvers at West Point. It is the angle from which your club head approaches the ball. This angle can usually be determined by the divot question. Do you take a divot with your short irons? If your answer is yes, then you, more than likely, have asteep angle of attack and will be referred to as a "DIGGER". If your answer isno, then you ,more than likely have a shallow angle of attack and will be referred to as a "PICKER".

Once you have determined which classification you fall under, the rest is easy. Diggers will benefit from a wedge with more bounce and a wide sole.Pickers will benefit from a wedge with less bounce and a more narrow sole. What happens if you are not sure which classification you fall under? If this is the case, there are some other factors that can help you make up your mind.

If you tend to hit scull shots with your wedge off the fairway, chances are you need less bounce. More than likely, the trailing edge of the wedge is making contact with the ground and causing the leading edge to strike the ball at or above its equator. If you play a course with hardpan or a course that is dry with a firm base, less bounce and a narrow sole will benefit you. Less bounce and a narrow sole will also help you play from bunkers with coarse sand and a shallow base.

If you tend to hit the ball fat and feel like you stick the club in the ground a lot chances are you need a higher bounce and a wider sole. A wedge with a higher bounce will also benefit you if you tend to play a wet course with a soft, spongy base. Higher bounce and wider sole widths will also allow you to get out of bunkers that have a fine fluffy texture to them.

As you can see, there are many different variables to think about when choosing a wedge with the right bounce and sole width. Sometimes, the course you are playing or the weather conditions can make a difference in which type of specifications you should play. Because of this, it is not a bad idea to have wedges with different bounce angles and sole widths. Almost every company offers a wide selection when it comes to these specifications to help you increase your options, but also making it difficult to make a choice unless you know what is right for you.

Hopefully this information will help you make a more educated purchase when you find yourself in front of 150 wedges, all with different numbers,dots, and hieroglyphics on them that are there to help you. If you are still unsure whether you "PICK" or "DIG" consult an experienced golf professional or club fitter. They should have you hit of a lie board and try different wedges with various bounces and sole widths. If they don't, they are not fitting you properly, and you should ask for someone who can. If you already have a few wedges with different specifications lying around the house, pull them out and see if you can see and feel the difference in them. Chances are you will be able to tell right away which works better for you.