What is Bounce and How Does it Affect Your Golf Game?

By Dan Lockhart

Golfer enters a bunker with a wedge

Many recreational golfers can identify the loft of their wedges, but most couldn’t tell you how much bounce they each have, and only the rare few could truly explain the purpose of bounce and how it impacts different shots.

Even though it’s often overlooked, understanding bounce and how it impacts your short game can be just as important as knowing how much loft your wedge has when determining what green-side shot to hit.

What is Bounce

Bounce is the angle of a club’s sole from the leading edge to the trailing edge. If you hold a wedge upside down with the head up and the shaft perfectly vertical, you’ll notice that the leading edge sits lower than the trailing edge. This is the bounce angle. All clubs contain bounce, but it is more pronounced, and significant to your game, in the wedges.

Bounce allows for the club head to glide through the turf more easily. Every iron or wedge has a measured degree of bounce. Manufacturers vary the bounce depending upon the target market for a particular club. Here's an example of the bounce in the Titleist AP2 irons:

3-Iron4-Iron5-Iron6-Iron7-Iron8-Iron9-IronPW

How Much Bounce is Right for You?

Each loft of a wedge is available with varying degrees of bounce. So which bounce is right for you? To determine this, you must consider several factors, including how steep or shallow your swing is, what types of shots you prefer to hit with each wedge, and the typical course conditions you play. Let’s examine which amount of bounce is appropriate for which golfers and situations.

Bounce Comparison

Bounce LevelPlayer ProfileTurf Conditions
Shot Types
Low (4-6°)
Shallow angle of attack
Firm sand & turf
Clean strike, tight lies, flop shots
Mid (7°-10°)
Neutral angle of attack
Widest variety, not particularly soft or firm
Controlling distance & trajectory
High (10°+)
Steep angle of attack
Soft sand & turf
More spin & control

Low Bounce

Wedges with between 4°-6° of bounce are considered low bounce. This means the leading edge will sit closer to the ground and these clubs are designed for crisp contact.

Player Profile

Low bounce wedges are better for the player with a shallow, sweeper-style swing who takes minimal divots.

Turf Conditions

Low bounce wedges are optimal for firm turf and sand conditions.

Shot Types

Use a low bounce wedge to make clean contact and hit high flop shots off tight lies.


Mid Bounce

Mid-bounce Wedges carry 7°-10° of bounce and are better suited for shot-making and controlling trajectory.

Player Profile

Mid-bounce wedges are most suitable for the widest range of players and favor a neutral attack angle.

Turf Conditions

Mid-bounce wedges are best for players who play a wide range of course conditions, or who play courses that aren’t particularly firm or soft.

Shot Types

Mid-bounce wedges are best for creating green-side shots, controlling distance and trajectory.


High Bounce

Wedges with more than 10° of bounce fall into the high bounce category. The high bounce helps the club glide through the ground.

Player Profile

Players with a steep angle of attack can benefit from high-bounce wedges as the bounce can help prevent the leading edge from digging into the turf or sand.

Turf Conditions

High bounce wedges are great for softer turf and sand conditions as the club can more easily glide through the ground.

Shot Types

High bounces wedges help players generate more spin for green-side control.

Selecting the Perfect Bounce

This gives you an idea of the range of bounce that is best for you. If the attack angle of your swing, the typical course conditions you play and your and green-side shot preferences don’t all align with one category of bounce, consider carrying wedges with varying degrees of bounce to give yourself the most options in your short game, the same way you carry various lofts in your wedges.

To help you identify the perfect bounce for you, you can answer eight quick questions about your game and get a bounce recommendation through the Bounce Selector Tool on vokey.com.

Conclusion

While many golfers overlook the bounce in their wedges, using the appropriate bounce for your swing, course conditions and shot types can give you an advantage in your short game. Understanding bounce can help you determine which of your wedges gives you the highest chance of success with different shot types and turf conditions.

Image: Nitinai Thabthong/Moment via Getty Images

About the Author

Dan Lockhart is a PGA of America golf professional that specializes in teaching. He is based out of Naples, FL and teaches for the Rick Smith Golf Academy at Tiburon. Lockhart graduated from Ferris State University in Big Rapids, Michigan. He has been teaching golf for eight years and has been working in the golf business since 1996.