If you are looking to purchase or upgrade your sand wedge, you might be wondering about the different bounce angles. Do you need a higher or lower bounce for your game?
Should you use a sand wedge bounce of 10 or 14? Golfers who play golf courses with harder surfaces and tend to “pick” the golf ball when making contact should use a sand wedge bounce closer to 10 degrees. Golfers who play courses with softer conditions and who tend to make divots after contact should use a sand wedge bounce closer to 14 degrees.
Choosing the right bounce angle for your sand wedge is often overlooked by many golfers. It can actually make a world of difference playing with the right bounce angle and knowing that you have the right wedge to play around the course!
Choosing a Sand Wedge Bounce For Your Game
I have tried all different types of wedge bounces and have put together this post so that you can find the right sand wedge for your game. Deciding on the right sand wedge is a critical part of the game of golf. Golf courses are filled with hazards like deep rough and sand bunkers. Luckily, we have the sand wedge that can help us out!
If you have the time and want to learn what a bounce is, watch this quick video by Mark Crossfield. This guy is awesome and has a great “shovel” metaphor that can better help you understand the bounce of a wedge.
In case your wedge doesn’t have the bounce angle numbered on the bottom of the club, an average sand wedge has a bounce angle of 8-12 degrees. The wide gap between these bounce angles is only because each company designs clubs differently and might have lower or higher standard bounces of the sand wedge.
The sand wedge generally has the largest bounce angle of all wedges as to help golfers get the ball out of sand bunkers and deep rough. However, golfers should take slight modifications to their sand wedge bounce angles depending on their playing style.
To help you out, I made a few notes on how to tell which type of bounce you need for your sand wedge below
Golfers Who Need to Use a Sand Wedge with High Bounce
In my experience of testing MANY wedges and short game teaching, most golfers should use a wedge that has a higher bounce angle. Simply put, the bounce is your friend and is designed to help the club literally “bounce” off the ground to add forgiveness when making contact. A high bounce for a sand wedge has 10-14 degrees of bounce. You should think about using a sand wedge with a lower loft if:
- You have steep golf swing and tend to make deep divots after contact
- You tend to hit behind the ball on your mis-hits
- Play courses that have softer playing conditions
- Want the confidence to get the golf ball up into the air and who doesn’t prefer to modify their clubface
Golfers Who Need to Use a Sand Wedge with Low Bounce
A wedge with low bounce is best for golfers that prefer a wedge with a more open appearance at address. The leading edge of the wedge can cause some golfers to have inconsistency problems because there isn’t as much support on the bottom of the club to help with mis-hits. The strength of a lower degree bounce is to have more flexibility to control the clubface around the green.
A low bounce for a sand wedge has 6 to 10 degrees of bounce. Golfers should think about using a sand wedge with lower loft if they:
- Have a shallow swing and don’t make many divots after contact
- Play courses with a harder ground or hard/thin bunkers
- Like to open up the clubface and have versatility with a wedge
What is a Good Degree for a Sand Wedge?
A sand wedge typically has 56-degrees of loft. Sometimes the wedge is just marked with an “S” for sand but just know that its loft is generally around 56 degree give or take a couple degrees.
Depending on what wedge set you are using, most golfers have a wedge set that has:
- 50, 54 (sand wedge)or 58-degree wedges
- 52, 56 (sand wedge) or 60-degree wedges
The best way that I have found to figure out what degree wedges you need is to find out what the loft of your pitching wedge is by searching for your club specs on google. For example, if you find out your pitching wedge is 46 degrees of loft, increase your wedges in 4-degree increments using a 50,54, 58 degree in order to close out any distance gaps. This should lead to about 10-15 yard differences between each club which is what you want in your wedges.
What Type of Bounce for Different Course Situations?
Depending on what type of course you play, your shot might require a different bounce angle that can help you better execute your shot. Here is a quick list of examples I put together from my playing experience that I think will help you know what type of bounce to use in different course conditions.
- Soft Sand – Using a sand wedge with a larger bounce angle is best in fluffy sand. The added width at the bottom of the club will help your club slide underneath the sand and pop the ball out of the sand. 10-14 degree bounce is best.
- Medium to hard sand- The problem with using a sand wedge with a high bounce out of harder sand is that your club can sometimes bottom out too early causing a chunk or you to hit the top of the golf ball. So if you play a lot of courses that have harder sand, you might think about using a sand wedge that has an 8-10 degree bounce angle so that your club can lay flatter down at the ball and avoid “bouncing” of the ground.
- Heavy Rough – Just like the soft sand, I have found it better to use a sand wedge with a higher bounce to help the club slide under the thick grass. A wedge with lower bounce can get its leading edge caught up in the grass and cause a lack of consistency. Using a sand wedge with a bounce of 12-14 will be best for golfers who play out of a lot of thick rough.
- Tight lies just off the green – Often times, if you are just off the green in the fringe or fairway, the grass will be shorter and the ground will be harder. This is known as a tight lie. Golfers who encounter a lot of tight lies might want to consider a wedge that has a lower bounce angle A lower bounce of around 6-10 will allow the club to make clean contact with the ground. A higher bounce can cause inconsistencies with contact as the club will be harder to slide under the ball because of the larger club sole.
Remember to Play Wedges Similar to Your Irons
Here is a great tip to remember that I wish I knew earlier: Try and keep the design of your irons similar to the design of your wedges.
For example, golfers who play irons with larger clubfaces (player improvement) probably won’t do well with blade style wedges because they are designed differently. My point here is to make sure that your irons blend nicely into your wedges so that the feel of all of your clubs remains consistent. Here is a quick list of options you can look it to understand what I mean by playing similarly designed wedges to match the style your irons:
- If you use player improvement irons (larger cavity back heads) – Take a look at Cleveland CBX wedges or Callaway Sure Out Wedges. These wedges have a larger bounce that allows more forgiveness and higher ball flight.
- If you use a smaller cavity back or muscle back iron- Try using a blade style wedge like the Titleist Vokey or Cleveland RTX wedges. (links below)
If you are completely lost and don’t know if you use a player improvement club cavity back, or tour style club, check out this article here to get an idea on what category you may fall into.
Top Wedge Company Sand Wedge Options
Here is a list of popular golf companies and what bounce options they have for their sand wedge. If you have the time, take a look at their options and use this post as a reference for what type of sand wedge you may need in your bag.
- Cleveland RTX 4 Sand Wedge (Grind Options from Full Bounce, Mid Bounce Low Bounce, X Low Bounce)
- Cleveland CBX Wedge (Sand Wedge 12 degrees of bounce)
- Titleist Vokey SM6 (5 Grind Options with different bounce degrees for your playing style)
- Callaway PM Grind (Sand Wedge 14 degree of bounce)
- Callaway Mack Daddy 4 (Sand Wedge 8-12 degrees of bounce)
What is the standard bounce of a gap wedge?- The standard bounce of a gap is 8 degrees of loft. Most wedge companies do offer alternate grind options where golfers can choose gap wedges with more or less bounce.
Can you use a sand wedge in the fairway?- Many golfers do choose to use a sand wedge when hitting from the fairway. The larger bounce angle of the sand wedge allows more forgiveness when making contact with the ball and the high loft provides a high amount of spin for control.
Can you use a 58-degree wedge in the sand?- Golfers use a 58-degree wedge in the sand because of the high amount of spin that is put on the ball. It is recommended that the 58- degree have a larger bounce angle so it can pass through the sand and not dig in too deep.