How Much Bounce Should You Have in a Lob Wedge?

Golfer taking a bunker shot

Although the importance of technique cannot be denied, the set up of your wedges significantly affects your short game. The lob wedge is a club that, if set up correctly, can save you shots during a round. When selecting the amount of bounce on your lob wedge, consider your own swing and chipping tendencies as well as the conditions of the golf course.

Bounce Basics

The bounce of a wedge is the angle between the sole line of a club and the ground line. Bounce on a wedge causes the leading edge to sit slightly off the ground. Bounce effect stops the leading edge of the club from digging into the ground, and helps it glide through turf or sand.

Swing Characteristics

Your technique plays a big part in determining the degree of bounce you need in your lob wedge. Leading wedge producer, Bob Vokey, puts golfers into two broad categories: diggers and sliders. The digger tends to have a steep angle of approach and traps the ball at impact. A digger performs better with a lob wedge with more bounce to prevent the club from digging in too much and lowering his risk of fat shots. A slider has a shallower approach and tends to take the ball more cleanly, with less divot. Sliders perform better with lower bounce because the lower leading edge improves their strike.

Ground Conditions

If you typically play at a course that has softer ground and more sand in the bunkers, you need a lob wedge with a lot of bounce. The increased bounce reduces the tendency to hit shots heavy and improves performance from fluffy sand. If you play on firmer ground, especially links courses, you should use a lob wedge with less bounce because the leading edge needs to get to the bottom of the ball and on firm turf.

Bounce Options

Although the exact bounce angles of lob wedges vary by manufacturer, the options of high, medium and low bounce are generally available. A bounce angle of 10 degrees or above is considered high bounce for a lob wedge. Less than 5 degrees of bounce is considered low, and 6 degrees to 9 degrees is seen as medium bounce.

Wedge Set Composition

Because you don't play in the same conditions every day, carry wedges with a range of bounces. Either own two lob wedges and choose the one to use, depending on the softness or firmness of the course, or have different bounce in your sand wedge and lob wedge. If you have a high-bounce sand wedge, then choose a medium- or low-bounce lob wedge. When playing, decide which club is appropriate for each shot.