Today let's talk about why having the right bounce on your wedges is so important! Take for example this video of Phil hitting a pitch shot off the cart path:
In this situation, if you tried to use a sand wedge with 12 degrees of bounce, you could practice all you want, but there is almost no way to play this shot effectively. With 12 degrees of bounce, that club will hit the concrete, and bounce straight up into the equator of the golf ball. The reason Phil is so good at chipping off the cart path isn't necessarily because he has practiced it for long hours, or because he has some "magical" technique that he uses.
It is simply because he has a wedge with little to no bounce on it (I believe he is using his 64 degree wedge with 3 or 4 degrees of bounce in this video??).
There have been so many times that I have tried to hit a short game shot, and failed miserably over and over.
I start to blame my technique.
I keep hitting my head against the wall.
But in reality, the reason I can't hit the shot correctly is because my wedge doesn't have the right bounce for the particular shot I am trying to hit!
Just keep that in mind.
Is it your technique, or is it the club?
Don't erode your short game confidence for no reason!
Pelz recommends having 4 wedges in your bag (PW-50, SW-55, LW-60, XW-64).
He goes a long way in the book to prove that every golfer would benefit from removing a long iron/hybrid and adding a wedge, and I tend to agree after reading it!
Personally, I'm more of an advocate of having a PW (48), GW (52), SW (56), and LW (60).
I will be recommending based on my preference.
Within this wedge set, he says that the amount of bounce and the depth of bounce varies per golfer, but in general:
- PW (pitching wedge 48 degrees) - usually, this comes with your set of irons, so don't worry about it too much
- GW (gap wedge 52 degrees)- This one should have low bounce, and medium to high depth.
- SW (sand wedge 56 degrees)- This one should have high bounce and high depth
- LW (lob wedge - 60 degrees) - Lastly, you should have a lob wedge with low bounce and low depth.
I will not go in depth with all of these suggestions, but here are a few rules of thumb:
- Use SW for fluffy rough and fluffy sand. Don't use it on hardpan or tight lies
- Use LW or PW for tight/firm lies.
- Use GW for tight lies when the face is square, or slightly fluffy lies if the club face is open.
If you want a lengthier discussion about wedge bounce, lofts, and how each can be applied on the course, I have written a full length post on this here.