Most wedges bought “off the shelf” don’t have enough bounce for the average golfer, or the skilled golfer. Because wedges are used near the green, most wedge shots are not full swings.
Wedges with too little bounce are more difficult to hit. Commercial mass produced wedges don’t have enough bounce for most players. High bounce wedges permit you to set your weight left and strike with a forceful, downward blow without burying the club in the turf. That downward blow is the secret to making solid contact and controlling trajectory and spin.
Unique sole grinds allow creativity in stance and swing. Few golfers know how much bounce is on the best PGA Tour wedge players’ wedges. It is substantially more than what is on most wedges in a typical golf store. In addition, pros get their wedges (and other clubs) custom ground to meet their specifications.
There are a few companies that make wedges with high amounts of bounce. The three that come to mind are Edel http://edelgolf.com/online-wedge-fitting, http://edelgolf.com/find-a-fitter, Scratch http://scratchgolf.com/, and Renegar (click on each name for links to their websites). Renegar wedges are made assuming all golfers need high bounce. There is no customization. I am less familiar with Scratch Golf. They went out of business in late 2015. Edel Golf is best equipped to fit you properly because they have certified fitters across the United States and in other countries. Their fitters have a bag full of heads with interchangeable shafts. You get to try multiple variations of bounce, loft, and various shafts so you get a club – or clubs – that fit your swing exactly. I use Edel wedges. They have 8 different bounces available. The nearest competitor offers three.
Measured Edel bounce angles run from 14 to 22 degrees. Available lofts run from 48 to 64 degrees in one degree increments.
The Edel fitting method lets you test bounce and sole grind for turf interaction. A fitting determines the bounce that matches your angle of attack and forward shaft lean at impact. Those angles are measurable. Edel wedges are way easier to hit than typical wedges, but do take a slight adjustment – the reason a fitting where you can hit shots is so important.
You end up with more consistency and more tap-ins.
The formula to determine correct bounce adds your angle of attack to forward shaft lean. Most good wedge players attack the ball with a 6 to 10 degree downward blow with a forward shaft lean of 10 to 12 degrees. The sum indicates that the best bounce angle for most golfers is between 16 and 22 degrees. Maximum bounce on commercially available wedges is 14 degrees. That’s a big difference.
Edel made several design innovations that go beyond bounce and sole grind.
1. Scientific weight distribution positions the center of gravity in the center of the clubface, creating a true center of percussion. The result is more consistent ball flight. Most commercial wedges locate the center of gravity toward the heel.
2. An expanded groove pattern extends close to the toe. “Toe down” is a popular chipping method on Tour. Edel wedges allow more precision with greenside shots.
3. The highest bounce wedge model has a groove in the sole which maximizes bounce without lifting the leading edge of the face off the ground. That makes it possible to use it off of short grass or even dirt without blading the ball across the green on a low trajectory.
Fitting for Bounce
Fitting is most natural outdoors on grass. To benchmark, you hit your own wedge and we look at the divot.
We then fit for bounce by hitting shots in progression low to high bounce heads. The correct bounce reveals itself. We want the divot that “saves the roots of the grass”
Angle of Attack
Your angle of attack (orange line below) helps determine the proper amount of bounce. The steeper the angle of attack, the more bounce is required to keep from excessively digging into the turf.
Fitting for Trajectory, Spin, and Feel
The wedge head is important, but only half of the story. Finding the shaft that is most consistent and produces the best feel and ball flight is equally important. In the fitter’s bag of Edel wedges, the shafts are interchangeable with the heads.
The Edel Fitting System provides 17 shafts. Many fitters add even more shaft models to fit more players. Shafts are high, medium or low(er) spin, and high, medium, or low(er) trajectory.
Shaft selection is especially important for women. Edel’s fitting system provides shafts that are lightweight and shorter. For many women, wedge shafts that fit revolutionize a short game.
In an outdoor fitting, you will learn to recognize ball flight. Too much spin “rides the wind” and goes too far. Against the wind shots “balloon” and fall short. Too little spin “knuckles” into the wind and “dies and drops” with the wind.
And even the grip is custom. Edel wedge grips are longer to allow gripping farther down the shaft. That gives maximum control on short shots around the green.