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mdl

Wedges, Bounce, and Ground Conditions

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So I moved to Portland a year ago but didn't get to play at all last winter.  Plus last winter was historically dry here, and the courses I got to play last summer were all well drained and well dried out by the time I was playing.  I've now gotten to play 9 holes a few times this winter, which leads to a question about wedges.

I've been using the same 60˚ for years now, and I've always loved it.  Use it for almost all shots under ~80 yards, almost all shots around the green, when I'm playing regularly have it really dialed in (for my handicap), pretty rarely thin it and (literally) almost never hit it fat.  I don't know the bounce, but it's definitely (very?) low bounce.  This history was all in southern California where conditions tend to be firm.

This past weekend I played 9 holes at a wet, soft course.  With swings that felt great to me, with good lies in both tight grass and first cut light rough, I chunked most of my wedge shots around the green, and a couple partial swing shots from further out.  I was by myself and just playing a practice round, so I was playing multiple balls on many shots.  The only way I could not end up taking a big chunk of mud starting before the ball and hitting the ball 25% as far as I wanted was to play a steep chip shot, ball back a bit in the stance, hands forwards, try to hit ball before ground (i.e., try NOT to use the bounce, against what I've trained my short game swing towards).

So my question, is this just an outlier, as in the course was SUPER wet and soft and soggy, and in those conditions you just can't use bounce and have to try to hit ball first short game shots, regardless of club setup?  Or is this proof of the concept that wedge setup should be determined by predominant conditions, and I should invest in a high bounce 60˚ for all but the driest summer months?

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I am like you in that I play wedges with very little bounce.  Most courses I play here in WA, I can still use them because even though it is wet, the soil is still harder, as in little sand mixed in.  I did play one course recently that had such a sandy, wet and soft, soil that my bounce and leading edge just got stuck on every shot, and like you had a very tough time trying to adjust.  I am getting a second set of 52, 56, and 60 degree wedges with medium bounce so that I have more options when I play and can decide beforehand which to use.  This takes changing the short game swing out of play, but may require more practice to get used to.  So yes, ground conditions certainly play a part in wedge fitting as does your swing type.  If you use your 60 the majority of the time for short game, then it may not be a bad idea to try a medium bounce 60 to see what happens.  BUT try playing other courses first before deciding just in case it is an outlier course and that can influence your decision.

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Are you married to that 60*?

You could always keep that, and add a SW with high bounce to fit your new environment. Or ditch it, and take this new SW and open the face for tight shots/lies, etc.

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7 hours ago, mdl said:

So my question, is this just an outlier, as in the course was SUPER wet and soft and soggy, and in those conditions you just can't use bounce and have to try to hit ball first short game shots, regardless of club setup?  Or is this proof of the concept that wedge setup should be determined by predominant conditions, and I should invest in a high bounce 60˚ for all but the driest summer months?

Typically more bounce (or a "healthy" amount of bounce) helps in any condition.

 

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Thanks everyone.  I'm not married to this 60˚, but I'm pretty married to having a 60˚.  I have a higher bounce 54˚ that I use from the sand and ~100 yards, and that I've used in some periods for some closer and green side shots.  But I find I play most types of shots around the green better with a LW, so I'm definitely going to keep one in the bag, and I'd prefer to not be stuck with only my 54˚ around the green in wetter conditions.

Thanks @mvmac.  I've been  around here long enough to know you guys advocate for more bounce than most people think they want/need.  I guess my question was more, given that I've dialed in a swing with a low bounce 60˚ that gives me results I'm quite happy with in medium to firm conditions, is spending $100+ on a new LW going to at least partially solve my soggy conditions problem, or just be a bit better in all conditions and when it's super soggy I'll have to bias towards leading edge short game shots anyway?  Sort of an ROI question I guess...

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Titlest Vokey wedge site has info about what wedge grind and bounce number is suitable based on conditions played.  I play mostly in NE Ohio on bent grass, dirt underneath and wet as much as dry conditions.

I took Vokey's advice.  Based on my normal course conditions, I went with the "M" grind on my 54 and 58 degree wedges.  I think both are 8* of bounce.  I can slide the 58* wedge under the ball from the fringe around the green when it's rain-soaked.

Low bounce and a flat grind in my neck of the woods means a lot of chunking (hitting behind) or digging, blading or a combination of all the above from shot to shot.  Gotta spec those wedges for the conditions you'll see most.

dave

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If you hit the ball properly with a full swing, you're hitting the ball first then taking your divot.  The bounce is there to help on not so great shots.  It gives you more of a margin of error of not digging in.  For chips and generally most shots around the green, I use the leading edge and pick the ball off the turf.  The turf where I live can be very grainy and if the grain is growing into the swing, you better pick it or it's going to be ugly.  When you pitch the ball, use the bounce.  Firm tight lies can be tricky.  Soft, muddy conditions can be as well.  It just takes more concentration on your part.

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Note: This thread is 1277 days old. We appreciate that you found this thread instead of starting a new one, but if you plan to post here please make sure it's still relevant. If not, please start a new topic. Thank you!

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