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From a Fitter: An in-depth discussion of wedge bounce, grind, loft and lie

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Wedge fitting is an interesting subject due to so many variables of the player and the course we play on. This article is to help break a few components down and help you make better choices when purchasing wedges.

Bounce is generally given a number which is a reference to the angle measured through the center portion of the sole of a club, from leading to trailing edge. The larger the angle, the more bounce you have, and the lower, the less bounce you have. No doubt this is a handy number to know, but for me, it is only the beginning of understanding the wedge.

It has often been said that “better players” use lower bounce, but this is not always true. Many tour players use higher bounce wedges these days, with special grinds (shapes of the club’s sole). Do not get pigeon-holed into a wedge option because of your handicap!

For me, wedge fitting is about versatility, forgiveness, and compatibility for that one player’s style.

I start the wedge fitting with an intensive interview process about the player’s entire bag layout and how many wedges can be fit into the bag. I then discuss their perception of the shots they play a lot of (specific yardages, flights of shot, etc.). Finally, we discuss the conditions of their most played course. Unfortunately, a lot of us do not have the luxury of owning multiple sets of wedges for all conditions, but if I can give a set of wedges some versatility, that will give the player more choice of shot from course to course.

I then measure a player’s angle of attack with their PW through to their highest loft wedge with what I call their “stock shot” or most played shot with that wedge. This process is really just an indicator of the options I will try first.

From here, it is very much player-driven. We move to the grassed area and cycle lofts, bounce and grind options. Not letting a player hit too many shots with each (otherwise they can start to manipulate the wedge too much from their normal action, especially good players). We look at divots and flight, keeping an eye especially on the bad shots and how they feel through the turf and how the shots fly/land. During my intensive sessions, we also go to a bunker area and play sand shots and shots to a green to hone in specialist areas of the short game.

Generics I use for grind

  • Players who play ‘square to square’ shots, such as bump and runs, or mid-flight shots often deliver leading edge to the ground first. Depending on conditions I combat this with leading-edge relief i.e the shape of the sole looks like a V from heel to toe. Sometimes a softer rounded leading edge can also do the trick.
  • Players who hit lots of flop shots and try to manipulate the club on the ground. I experiment with variations of heel and trailing edge relief. These players often have success with aggressive grinds, as when the club is splayed open they feel as though the missing heel and trailing edge material allows the leading edge to sit snug to the surface, and it prevents the club bouncing too much through strike.

Ultimately, I facilitate a player with options and information.

The number one key of knowing you have the right wedge is clean strike! This means the club does not want to dig or bounce, but is allowed to slide through the ball and turf delivering the loft you intended.

One of the big areas that gets missed for me is the loft and lie adjustments. If a player’s lie is way out when testing a wedge, it can make it impossible to use. During a session, I try to keep uniformity between iron setup and wedge setup ensuring distance gaps are covered. This means I manipulate lofts and lies during the fitting. I have to be aware of the implications of bounce and turf interaction as I bend loft due to it adjusting the look of offset and most importantly the presentation of leading and trailing edge. The lie is just as important: one little tweak the right way and strikes can go from average to perfect.

Generics of loft and lie adjustment

  • Adding loft can deliver more trailing edge, de-lofting can present more leading edge.
  • Having more upright lies can help ‘square to square’ players, whereas flatter lie angles can help the Mickleson flop shot specialists!
  • It’s not uncommon for me to flatten a player’s lob wedge a little more to allow that shaft to lay down easier.

Key points to get the most out of your wedge fitting

  • Test options outside on turf.
  • Do not base your fitting on just your angle of attack!
  • Play lots of style of shots during testing.
  • Make sure you have enough wedges to cover important distance and shot types for your game (have versatility in your wedge setup).
  • Make sure length, loft and lie have been accounted for—as for shaft, that’s another article!

If you attain all of this and like the look and feel of your wedges, you will be set to play your best golf home and away. No matter the lie you encounter, you will feel you have a tool for the job at hand. This gives you the confidence in your swing at the scoring end of the game.

 

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Jack Gilbert is currently a Master Club/ Putter Fitter and Builder at Cool Clubs Australia, with 10 years experience in the industry. Day to day he is fitting and helping players from beginners to Major winning golfers and everywhere in between. Jack helps produce specific Putter Studio designs, alongside R&D for club fitting technology. He has played in the U.K and U.S.A as a Collegiate Golfer. In the last decade he has worked out of London, Gold Coast, Sydney and Melbourne and has been publishing content for Cool Clubs Australia since the company's inception. His content focuses on club fitting, club/shaft design and technology advancements.

5 Comments

5 Comments

  1. freowho

    Dec 31, 2019 at 5:59 pm

    Good article. I agree with a slighlty flatter lie angle for flop shots but it makes the club hard to use for full shots. So the lob wedge basically becomes a specialty shot only club. I think if you are someone who enjoys playing different courses you do need a a couple of different setups. If I was playing a firm course I would carry the specialty 60 which means I would need a good 56 for pitch shots. If I was playing a softer course I might carry a 58 with more bounce instead of the 56 and 60.

  2. Dan

    Dec 31, 2019 at 1:49 am

    Good to know mate. Interested in your next article about wedge flex. As I play with Ap1 R300 shafts. I was fitted with a vokey wedge, 46F bounce 10. Half an inch long, 1 degree flat. Brought 3 more vokey wedges, same length and lie off a mate. Which have been upgraded to KBS hi rev 2.0 125/S. The feel and contact are amazing. Thinking about doing the same with my 46F. Your thoughts.

    • Jack

      Jan 1, 2020 at 4:50 pm

      Hi Dan,
      Thanks for the comment. I will go into a little more depth in the article but I would base your 46* on shots you hit the most – Generally this will be fuller shots for most players, therefore I would install the shaft that matches the rest of your iron setup (if you have been fit for those and enjoy their performance etc.. too).

  3. ht

    Dec 30, 2019 at 3:04 pm

    Yeah this is great info. Thank you. Looking forward to the wedge shaft post

  4. Adam

    Dec 30, 2019 at 1:40 am

    Very informative. Thank you

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Whats in the Bag

Peter Malnati WITB 2021 (May)

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Driver: Titleist TSi3 (9 degrees) (A1 hosel setting, SureFit weight H2)
Shaft: Fujikura Ventus Blue 6 X

3-wood: Titleist TSi3 (15 degrees)
Shaft: Graphite Design Tour AD IZ 7 X

Hybrid: Titleist 818 H2 (19 degrees)
Shaft: Graphite Design Tour AD DI 85 X

Utility: Titleist U500 (4, 23 degrees)
Shaft: True Temper AMT X100

Irons: Titleist T100 (5-9)
Shafts: True Temper AMT X100

Wedges: Titleist Vokey SM8 (45-10F, 52-12F, 56-12D, 62-08M)
Shafts: True Temper Tour AMT (45, 52), True Temper Tour Issue S400 (56, 62)

Putter: Scotty Cameron Studio Select Fastback 1.5

Ball: Titleist Pro V1x

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Whats in the Bag

Phil Mickelson WITB 2021 (May – Wells Fargo Championship)

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Driver: Callaway Mavrik Sub Zero (8 degrees)
Shaft: Fujikura Ventus Black 6 X (@47.5 inches)

2-wood: TaylorMade “Original One” Mini Driver
Shaft: Fujikura Ventus Black 7 X

4-wood: Callaway Mavrik Sub Zero (16.5 degrees)
Shaft: Fujikura Ventus Blue 8 X

Irons: Callaway X-Forged UT (16), Callaway X21 UT Proto (19 degrees @20.5, 25), Callaway Apex MB ‘21 (small groove) (6-PW)
Shafts: (16) MCA MMT 105 TX (4-PW) KBS Tour V 125 S+

**(Callaway X-Forged 16 degree driving iron also in the bag and could be rotated in)**

Wedges: Callaway PM Grind ’19 “Raw” ([email protected], [email protected], 60-12)
Shafts: KBS Tour-V 125 S+

Putter: Odyssey Milled Blade “Phil Mickelson”
Grip: SuperStroke Pistol GT Tour

Ball: Callaway Chrome Soft X w/Triple Track

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Equipment

A closer look at Bryson DeChambeau’s low-lofted fairway wood

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Editor’s note: We filed this piece for PGATour.com’s Equipment Report

This week’s Wells Fargo Championship is Bryson DeChambeau’s first start since the Masters. DeChambeau, who’s won twice this season, is always experimenting, so it should be no surprise that he was seen on the range this week with a unique club built specifically to handle the tremendous swing speed he creates.

The new club is a custom Cobra RadSpeed Big Tour Proto B fairway wood. The ‘B’ stands for Bryson. It only has 10.5 degrees of loft – the same amount as some players’ drivers — with a fixed long hosel. The standard RadSpeed features an adjustable hosel to change the lie and loft.

The original Cobra Baffler was built in the 1980s as one of golf’s first utility clubs. The rails were designed to help the head glide through the turf.

On Dechambeau’s club, the signature Cobra Baffler railed sole has been modified to have the rails towards the front of the head, closer to the face. The club also has an adjustable weight in the sole.

“We started with a custom head and I added small rails via welding after the fact,” said Cobra tour manager Ben Schomin. “(The club) worked OK before rails and much better after thanks to improved strike consistency with the rails.”

Read the full piece at PGATour.com.

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