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Golf Wedges & Bounce Angle Explained

This article explains the different types of wedge, the difference between them and when to use them, as well as explaining what the bounce angle is.

Golf Wedges & Bounce Angle Explained
We've all seen it on the TV or at our own golf courses - the unlucky player hacking away at a ball in a bunker, or trying to dig it of some long grass. Most experienced players will make such a shot look easy , dropping the ball exactly where they want it to be, but those of us with little experience might find it more difficult. With that in mind, I'm going to say a few words about the different types of golf wedges and how they should be used .

The first design of golf wedges UK players use will probably be a pitching wedge. Technically, it's actually a type of iron and should be grouped in those rather than wedges, but as it's in the name we will discuss it. It will have a loft of 45 to 48 degrees, and will give you a very high, arcing shot, but because it's designed more like an iron it is easier for beginners to use effectively and can be appropriate for most situations whether it is for hitting out of the rough, clearing a tree, or getting out of a bunker.

Once experience is gained and the golfer notices that the pitching wedge is now limiting the kind of shpts they want to play, they'll turn to the more specialised wedges. A sand wedge is likely to be the next one bought, and it is obviously designed to make shots out of sand easier. It has a loft of about 56 degrees, and although sand shots are difficult for beginners once the technique is mastered they are among the easiest wedge shots to play.

A gap wedge may be next, so named because it has a loft of about 50 to 54 degrees, fitting nicely into the gap between pitching and sand wedges. It needs an understanding and experience of the other wedges before it can be used effectively, but typically you'd expect it to be used when you need to chip a shot around 50-60 yards.

The final type is the lob wedge. This has the steepest loft, at around 60 degrees, and therefore 'lobs' the ball high into the air with not much forward movement. This has the advantage of dropping the ball straight onto the green, and preventing the ball from moving far from where it lands.

For all wedges, you'll need to know the bounce angle. This is defined as the angle between the front edge of a clubs sole to the point where it rests on the ground, and the amount of bounce you want will vary according to the course conditions and of course how you play. If you have a course with hard sand, or want to chip from the fairway, then you'll need less bounce. Soft sand needs more bounce, as the steeper angle prevents the club digging in more than you want. If you have a steep swing you'll also want more bounce, while a tendency to undercut needs less bounce. The range for bounce is from zero to 12 degrees, so you'll know from that figure which one is appropriate to you.

Gamola Golf Index