Guide to buying golf wedges – Lofts, Bounce and Grinds explained

When you look in the bag of a PGA Tour golfer, you will often see between three and four wedges, and in some cases, even five wedges!  The fact is, without proper bounce and loft combinations, the wedge game can become way more difficult than it should be.

For example,Jordan Spieth has a very specific composition of wedges in his bag.  As of the 2015 WGC HSBC Champions, Spieth is carrying the following wedges in his bag:

Loft Bounce Grind (another word for “depth” as described later)
46 08 F grind
52 08 F grind
56 10 S grind
60 04 L grind

As you can see, Spieth is one of those players with four wedges in the bag, and with varying lofts, bounces, and grinds.  Once you understand and learn how to apply these three elements, buying a set of wedges won’t be quite as intimidating.

Loft

Untitled-design-38Let us start with the loft.  For most players, this is going to be the only factor that you’ve ever considered when buying a wedge.

We all want to have that 64 degree wedge like Phil Mickelson, but never really understand that the gaps are more important than the lofts.

In Spieth’s set, he has gaps of 6 degrees, 4 degrees, and 4 degrees going from the pitching wedge to the lob wedge.

The gap is the difference in loft between wedges.  There are many options for you when building your wedge set, but optimally, you will want to carry four wedges, which will allow you to cover your yardage gaps, and also be able to play shots from various lies around the green.

There are just a few major factors that you must consider when purchasing your wedges:

Don’t buy your wedges purely based on the loft (“bounce” matters too)

Mind your gaps – Consider the rest of your iron set. It wouldn’t be a good idea to have a 42 degree 9 iron and a 50 degree PW! Remember, golf companies want you to hit the ball further, so they build their iron sets accordingly. It isn’t rare to see a PW playing at a loft of 45 degrees these days! This is okay as long as you take it into consideration.

Bounce

The next factor that should be considered is bounce.

So what is bounce?

I’m going to try and describe this in the simplest way possible.

Definition/Purpose of bounce– the amount of bounce describes how fast and how much the wedge repels off the playing surface when it comes into contact with it. This can be advantageous in situations where the turf/sand is fluffy because it prevents the club from digging deep into the surface and slowing the club down. It can also be disadvantageous if you are using a high bounce club on tight turf, because the club will repel off the hard ground right into the middle of the golf ball.

Untitled-design-39How it Works (2 components)– Bounce is the distance that the leading edge of your club sits above the ground when the club face is perfectly square to the target (see photo below)

But this measurement is only the beginning. The bounce on wedges also varies by the depth of the bounce or commonly known as Grind.

Grind

The depth of the bounce determines how high the leading edge sits above the ground when the club-face is opened (for example, when playing out of the sand).

Combining the factors– Now that you understand what bounce is, and the two components that determine the bounce, you must apply it.

In order to have a diversified set of wedges, you need not only have different lofts, but different bounces AND depth of bounces. As we saw in Jordan’s set, he had bounces ranging from 4 degrees (his lob wedge – 60) all the way to 10 degrees (his sand wedge – 56).

There are hundreds of combinations that you could go with, but I want to provide you with some guidelines for choosing the bounce on your wedges (note that I am using more modern lofts – the old standard for a pitching wedge was as much as 51 degrees!):

The sand wedge (54-56 degrees) should have the most bounce, and the deepest bounce. Use this club out of fluffy sand, deep rough, soft dirt, and any other lie that it is near impossible to make crisp contact on.

The lob wedge (58-60 degrees) should have the least bounce, and the narrowest bounce. Use this club for chipping/pitching off hard and tight fairways, compacted bunkers, and even cart paths like Phil demonstrates in this video!

The “gap” wedge (50-52 degrees) should have a low bounce, and medium depth.

The pitching wedge (46-48 degrees) should also have a low bounce and narrow to medium depth.

Overall, I believe that the sand wedge and the lob wedge are the most important wedges to get the bounce right on, because they will be used most frequently around the greens.

Last thing about bounce– If you regularly play on tight turf, or regularly play on soft turf, match your wedge bounces to these conditions.

If you play in an area, where the ground is often soft and lush, it might be smart to carry a sand wedge with 12 degrees of bounce, and a lob wedge with 8 degrees of bounce (keep the recommended depths the same still).

If you play somewhere, where there is lots of hardpan and tight lies, you might carry a sand wedge with 10 degrees of bounce, and a lob wedge of 4 degrees of bounce (again, keep the depths the same).

About grind- Grinds are most specific with the vokey wedges and hence I would not miss a chance the explain those.

M Grind

The M Grind Vokey SM7 is Bob Vokey’s favorite. If you’re looking for versatility – the M Grind is for you. You can hood the face, open it up, or hit it square. It’s also great from the bunkers. Works well on courses with average or firm turf conditions. Keep in mind that the M Grind is geared towards those with a shallower angle of attack. (Unlike the D Grind which is built for those with a steep angle of attack.) Available in 54, 56, 58, 60, and 62 degree loft options.

F Grind

The F Grind Vokey SM7 is for traditionalists. Those who favor a classic design. The F Grind is the most popular choice on the PGA Tour, too! It’s an all-purpose grind that’s perfect for full approach shots into the green. It’s well suited to both normal and soft turf conditions. Come in a variety of loft options – ranging from 46 degrees up to 56 degrees.

S Grind

The S Grind Vokey SM7 is the popular middle-of-the-road option in the current Titleist wedge lineup. The S Grind is geared towards golfers that will strike wedge shots with a square club face. It’s built for those who aren’t manipulating the face or angle of attack too much. Perfect for pretty much all turf conditions. The S Grind is available in 54, 56, 58, and 60 degree options – all with 10 degrees of bounce.

D Grind

The D Grind Vokey SM7 is a new addition to the Titleist wedge lineup. It is a high bounce option with the same crescent shape as the M Grind. The D Grind is the right choice for better players often on courses with softer turf. It’s best suited to a golfer with a steep angle of attack who wants to generate a lot of spin. The D Grind comes in 58 and 60 degree options.

K Grind

The K Grind Vokey SM7 is the highest bounce option in the Titleist wedge lineup. If you’re a golfer who struggles from the bunkers (or you play a course with that deep, dry, fluffy sand) then the K Grind is for you. It’s also ideal from soft turf conditions around the green. It offers the most forgiveness of any of the grinds. That makes it a good option for a mid to high handicap golfer. Available with 58 or 60 degrees of loft.

L Grind

The L Grind Vokey SM7 is for golfers typically dealing with firm turf conditions. It’s the lowest bounce option available from Titleist and preferred by golfers who are always trying to create shots around the green. Love to hit those high flops? The L Grind is for you. Available with 58 or 60 degrees of loft – both with just 4 degrees of loft.

Conclusion

Quite a lot has been covered in the above past. Do email in case of any doubts.

You can check the wedge collection on Golfoy by clicking here.

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