What exactly does wedge bounce mean? And, how important is it?
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Bounce is the angle of the sole to the ground. If the clubshaft is perpendicular to the ground, the leading edge of the face is not touching the ground. The bounce is the angle from where the sole touches the ground to the leading edge of the face. More bounce, like 14° and higher, allows the club to go through deep rough and fluffy sand without digging into the ground or sand too deep. Low bounce, like 10° or less, is better for hitting from the fairway, baked ground or compacted sand, where you need to bite or dig into the ground or sand. It is a big help to use the wedge with the right amount of bounce depending on where your ball lies.
Two big factors are your personal swing characteristics, and the course conditions you play under.
A person who is a skimmer (small or no divot) wants low bounce, because you're not sinking the clubhead into the soil. A person who is a digger (big divots) wants high bounce, to prevent the clubhead from digging in too far. There's also medium-bounce wedges for those who have a medium attack angle and take mid-size divots.
For course conditions, someone who regularly plays on tight lies, firm soil, and heavy sand wants lower bounce. Someone who plays on plush turf, soft soil and fluffy sand wants higher bounce.
That said, many teaching pros recommend that a person have at least one wedge that runs against their "ideal" bounce range. For example, if you have a low-bounce swing and turf conditions, you would have at least mid- or high-bounce club to give you versatility.
Bounce can also be applied a couple of ways in short-game strategy. A recurring tip from the last few seasons is using the bounce on pitch shots. Here's a Golf Channel video clip from Justin Bruton:
You can also use high-bounce wedges in chip shots. Idea here is that high bounce + forward lean of shaft prevents club from digging into rough, and gives yout a margin of error: solid contact and you get a good shot // less-than-solid contact and the ball still comes out less crisply, but may run a little more because of less stabilizing spin.
Take a look at wedges from a year or two ago. Cleveland CG14, 15 and 16... Callaway Jaws (CC)... Mizuno MP-T...
All of these are below $100 now, some as low as $70. Look around at your larger golf shops. They want to unload them.