Monthly Instruction Tip
If you are struggling out of the sand, the first thing you want to check is the bounce angle on your sand wedge. The bounce angle of your wedge can make a huge difference in your short game. If you are for instance playing a club with too much bounce angle, it can cause you to hit “thin” shots, too little and you hit “heavy” shots.
The bounce angle is often times marked on the wedge or is a part of the name of the wedge; as in for instance, the Titleist Vokey 5614, a fifty-six degree wedge with fourteen degrees of bounce. The bounce angle is a measurement of the angle from the leading edge of the wedge back to the trailing edge, or you might say, the amount the leading edge sticks up off the ground when in the playing condition.
As a general rule of thumb if you play on a course with a harder turf and firmer sand in the traps you should be using wedges with less bounce. The lower amount of bounce will help the clubs leading edge dig down easier into the turf and through the rest of the shot. The type of player that would be best served by a sand wedge with less bounce is one who takes very little divot and has a shallow angle of attack.
On the contrary if you play on a course with softer turf conditions and fluffy sand then you should be using wedges with a little more bounce as this will help prevent the club digging to deeply into the ground thus causing those heavy shots as discussed above. The player best served with a higher bounce angle is one that has a steep angle of attack and usually takes a bigger divot.
Bounce angle is very important in playing those greenside shots also. If you play a course with deep or heavy rough around the greens, it might be best to have a sand wedge that fits the firm, tight conditions and a lob wedge that fits the deep, heavy rough conditions.
The modern day wedges come with many different lofts and bounce angles. Not only can you pick wedges to match the conditions you play in, but you have maximum availability to pick the wedges that get the distances you are looking for as well.
Many of the sand wedges on the market today offer grindings that permit you to get multiple bounce angles from the same club. An example of a wedge that allows you to get multiple bounce angles from the same club would be the Cleveland Golf “DSG” wedges, DSG standing for Dynamic Sole Grind. The trailing edge of the club is beveled off which permits you to roll the club face open and not get a tremendous amount of bounce involved, a wedge without that trailing edge ground off, would have the leading edge quite far off the ground and make it readily available for the dreaded “thin” shot.
The best advice I can give for selecting a wedge; is to see your local PGA Professional for assistance. Watching how a person approaches a shot and seeing the swing motion will give the Professional all the ammo he needs to help you select the correct bounce angle and club for you.
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