‘Like a stone skipping on water’: Understanding how bounce affects iron performance

Billy Horshel won the Memorial Tournament with a unique set of Titleist 620MB blade irons adjusted and bent to fit a very particular loft and bounce spec for the 8-time tour winner. 

Iron bounce makes for an interesting conversation to have since when most golfers think about golf club bounce, the focus is on wedges and not irons, but iron bounce angle serves a critical role in how irons are properly fit too.

In this week’s episode of the Fully Equipped podcast, we discussed the importance of iron bounce and club head sole design to optimize strike performance vertically (up and down) on the club face to get the best performance from your iron set. Just like how you lose energy and ball speed on shots hit towards the toe and the heel of the club, shots missed above and below the sweet spot on the face also see a reduction in energy transfer causing shots to miss their intended target. 

One of the best ways to understand how the sole of a golf club should properly interact with the ground on impact is to imagine a stone skipping on water. Not enough bounce on your irons and the club digs into the ground like a stone making a single big splash. Too much bounce and the club skips too early and loses all the speed and energy it had. Just the right amount of bounce and the sole of the club, like the stone glides effortlessly through the turf and “skips” without losing much energy.

Iron fitting club heads

The more effective a club is through the ground, the more efficient contact becomes and that leads to greater consistency in both launch angle and ball speed, leading to tighter dispersion and you missing your targets a lot less often.

So if you feel like your irons are digging too much or skipping too early, it might be time to book a club fitting to find out what iron sole design and bounce combination works best for you. 

Want to overhaul your bag for 2022? Find a fitting location near you at GOLF’s affiliate company True Spec Golf. For more on the latest gear news and information, check out our latest Fully Equipped podcast below.

Ryan Barath

Golf.com Editor

Ryan Barath is GOLF Magazine and GOLF.com’s senior editor for equipment. He has an extensive club-fitting and -building background with more than 20 years of experience working with golfers of all skill levels, including PGA Tour players. Before joining the staff, he was the lead content strategist for Tour Experience Golf, in Toronto, Canada.