The width of the sole of the club head measured from the leading edge to the trailing edge. Wider soles increase the effective bounce of a wedge.
The angle formed between the centerline of the golf shaft and the ground when the club is soled in a neutral position.
The curvature of the sole measured from the leading edge to the trailing edge.
Overview on Bounce
A very important but somewhat misunderstood element of wedge design is bounce angle. By definition, bounce is the angle created between the sole line of the golf club (the line from the leading edge to the trailing edge) and the ground line at address, as depicted in the image below.
Bounce serves to help reduce digging as the wedge interacts with the turf or sand at impact by elevating the leading edge slightly off the ground. Or, as Voke is fond of saying, bounce acts similarly to the rudder on a ship if it were turned sideways, helping the sole glide through the turf or sand as it moves through impact.
How Bounce is Measured
To measure the bounce angle of a wedge, we follow the steps in the diagram below:
The first step in determining a wedge’s bounce angle is to measure the club’s loft angle. This is typically a known variable with wedges, as lofts are often stamped on the club head. In the diagram above, the wedge’s loft is 54°.
Next, the wedge’s face-to-sole angle is measured using a protractor (pictured below). This can sometimes be a subjective task as the soles of many wedges are cambered (rounded from front-to-back) or feature some sort of relief to the trailing edge. In these instances, a good rule of thumb is to measure at a point tangent to the middle of the sole. In the example above, the wedge’s face-to-sole angle has been measured at 46°.
A few simple calculations are all that is left to determine the wedge’s bounce angle. First, the loft angle is added to the face-to-sole angle (e.g., 54° + 46° = 100°). The angle of the ground line (90°) is then subtracted out, which yields the wedge’s measured bounce (e.g., 100° - 90° = 10° bounce).
Measured Bounce v. Effective Bounce
An important distinction to keep in mind when discussing a wedge’s bounce angle is measured versus effective bounce. The steps above illustrate how one determines the measured bounce of a wedge. The effective bounce of the wedge, however, is more representative of how the wedge will perform on the course from both a playability and versatility standpoint. Sole width, camber and relief are all wedge design elements that determine the effective bounce of a wedge. The following chart generally explains each element’s effect on bounce, all other factors being equal:
|Element||Effective v. Measured||Reason|
|Sole Width||Wider sole = More effective bounce||More bounce surface area|
|Sole Relief||More relief = Less effective bounce||Less bounce surface area|
|Sole Camber||More camber = Less effective bounce**||Reduces the bounce surface area|
|**In the case of a thin-soled wedge, adding camber may increase the bounce angle.|
Fitting for Bounce in Wedges
Wedges are designed with a wide variety of bounce angles and sole shapes to appeal to different playing styles and course conditions. Generally, players with shallow attack angles and more hand action during their wedge shots prefer wedges with less bounce and narrow but more cambered soles, while players with steeper attack angles and less hand action who like to trap the ball at impact often benefit from wedges with more bounce and wider, less cambered soles. These two types of players are commonly referred to as sliders/sweepers and drivers/diggers, respectively.
For the non-Tour golfer who doesn’t have access to a van full of different wedges, Voke has some simple advice: Bounce is your friend. Wedges with a moderate amount of bounce are versatile for golfers who play on a variety of courses with differing turf and sand conditions. Further, most amateur players would benefit from employing more bounce since they typically don’t hit shots as consistently as a Tour professional.
Measured in revolutions per minute, backspin is affected by club loft, angle of attack, golf ball construction, and environmental factors. Backspin may be estimated based upon the ball trajectory in the second half of flight or more precisely measured by a launch monitor. A backspin that is too high results in shorter carry and roll distances. Backspin that is too low reduces carry distance and can cause instability in flight.
A driver or digger wedge player has a steeper angle of attack, often using less hand action and a stronger grip. This player may also position the ball back in their stance and trap the ball at impact. They play their best with wedges that have wider soles, more bounce, and less camber.
A grip that is uniformly round in cross-section.
Ribbed or Reminder Grip
A grip with a slightly raised area (rib) running along the underside of the grip.
Grips come with varying wall thicknesses and can be applied with extra layers of tape below the grip to increase the size (each layer of tape adds approximately 1/16" to the grip size). Proper grip size enables maximum control and comfort. For most players, proper size is indicated by the fingers on their left hand slightly touching the palm when the club is gripped.
A slider or sweeper wedge player has a shallow angle of attack and often is someone who uses more hand action. This player will generally use a wedge with a narrower sole, less bounce, and more camber.