Having a reliable short game is an absolute must if you want to shoot lower scores. Your ability to scramble when things go awry can be the difference between shooting in the 90s vs. the 80s (or 80s vs. the 70s, or 70s vs. the 60s, etc.), so you’ll want your short game to be sharp.
One of the keys to a reliable short game is solid wedge play, and to be a good wedge player, you first need to understand how your wedges work. Bounce is a particularly important element of your wedges, and something you need to understand if you want to get up and down more often.
Bounce is a piece of technology that dictates how your club interacts with the turf. In the simplest terms, bounce is the angle formed by the leading edge, the sole and the ground when the shaft is perfectly vertical. To get the most consistency out of your wedges, you need to use the bounce of the club to slide underneath the ball and make solid contact.
“It works like if you hit a slip ‘n slide,” says Thomas Valdez, an instructor at GOLFTEC. “It’s gonna hit behind the ball, speed up underneath the ball and kick up in the air. And what that’s going to do is that’s going to allow the bounce to go underneath the ball, create a little bit of spin and get the ball up in the air.”
By using the bounce of the club, you’re reducing the possibility of getting the leading edge caught behind the ball, which produces a chunk, or hitting the back of the ball with the leading edge, which results in blading it.
To work on using the bounce of your wedges better, set a coin down on the ground about a clubhead’s length behind the ball at address. Then, when you’re making your swing at the ball, try to hit the coin on the ground before you make contact.
“That is a simple drill that you can do at home to get away from hitting that leading-edge chunk and get more into hitting solid chip shots,” Valdez says.