QA Wedge Bounce Mid-Irons

By Frank ThomasJune 6, 2007, 4:00 pm
Editor's Note: This is the latest in a weekly Q&A feature from GOLF CHANNEL's Chief Technical Advisor Frank Thomas. To submit a question for possible use in this column, email
Hello Frank,
You said that you carry a sand wedge with 14 degrees of bounce, but I am not sure what that means exactly. I recently bought a new sand wedge (I dont know what degree of bounce), and during one of my last rounds of golf, I tried to use it for a flop shot, but I hit it over the green and into the water. I guess I did what you said. My question is can you explain what the degree of bounce means.

Dana Quigley
Dana Quigley quizzes Frank about driver grooves on 'Ask Frank,' Monday, June 11 at 11:00 p.m. ET on GC. (WireImage)
It seems that we become so engrossed in talking about these things that we forget to define our terms so that everybody is operating from the same base of knowledge.
The bounce angle is the angle the sole makes with the horizontal when the club is in the normal address position and the shaft is in the vertical plane. This bounce on the club sole acts like a wedge (not the golf club) between the club and the ground, preventing it from digging in after the club first makes contact with the ground.
The bounce is generally only pronounced on the shorter irons. It will be about 1 degree for the 3-iron, gradually increasing to 7 or 8 degrees on the PW. The gap wedge should be about 6 to 8 degrees, while sand wedges run up to 14 degrees. If a lob wedge is not often used from the sand, it should have a bounce of about 6 to 8 degrees. Some larger soled clubs that are designed to be especially forgiving of potential fat shots from the fairways -- so-called Ultra Game Improvement clubs -- have a radius on the sole that does almost the same thing as bounce.
With this in mind, I would recommend for most golfers that they have 14 degrees of bounce on the sand wedge, and about 8 degrees on the PW and gap wedge if you are going to be playing average firmness fairways but no more bounce than 6 to 8 degrees on the lob wedges. Too much bounce on the lob will cause problems off hard fairways or short firm grass around the green. For this shot you dont need bounce, which will literally make the club bounce off the ground and belly the ball over the green as you did Jeff into the lake past the next tee.
If you open the clubface of a wedge you will increase the bounce effect by the same amount you have increased the loft of the face. This is the reason why it is not a good idea to have much bounce on the Lob wedge which is often used in an open position creating more loft than the 60 degrees stamped on the sole.
Hope this helps ..sorry about not explaining bounce before.
I have many unopened boxes of golf balls given to me 5-6 years ago. A golfing buddy has told me not to use these balls, saying they 'go off with age'. I have a very high handicap and don't think it matters. My question to you is - What happens to the flight characteristics golf balls as they age?

Dear Joan,
Because of the construction of golf balls today and over the last five years you really should not have any problem with deterioration from a performance point of view if they have been stored in relatively dry and non extreme temperature conditions. Using these golf balls will certainly not affect your performance measurably however when your handicap is in the single digits you may be able to notice a small difference.
I would suggest, however, that you take advantage of some of the latest ball designs which have been specifically customized for lower swing speeds and better suit a budget where losing golf balls is of some concern.
I personally tested (on the USGA testing devices) balls which I had in my garage, in NJ, for more than 10 years and found that even these wound balls (not as stable as the new multi-layered balls) only lost 1% of their resilience which (as a 5 handicap) I was unable to detect on the course.
Are there certain manufacturers that make irons for the mid-handicap golfers? There is so much advertising and information that it becomes totally confusing.

There certainly are manufacturers that make iron clubs for the average golfer (click here to get a listing of over 300 different clubs for different skill levels)
The average handicap for males in the US is about 16 and the average for females is about 28.
Most manufacturers have clubs designed for the average golfer as their primary line. These are cavity back clubs designed to be forgiving of miss-hits i.e. not on the sweet spot. Except for the professional golfer most of us do not make consistent contact on the sweet spot which is generally on the face in line with the center of gravity (c.g.) . Because of our inconsistencies, iron clubs and in fact all clubs are designed with the weight distributed to the perimeter of the club to increase the MOI (Moment of Inertia) of the head for the average player. For a simple explanation of MOI click here.
Many professionals play with clubs that we categorize as classic. These are not forgiving, but when you hit the sweet spot each time, forgiveness is not what you need. They (the top pros) seem to like the feel, feedback and ability to work the ball that the classic clubs (blades) provide. For the rest of us mortals there are plenty of choices on the list.
I hope this has helped sort things out a little and hit your sweet spot.
Click to purchase the Frog PutterFrank Thomas, inventor of the graphite shaft, is founder of Frankly Golf, a company dedicated to Helping Golfers. Frank is Chief Technical Advisor to The Golf Channel and Golf Digest. He served as Technical Director of the USGA for 26 years and directed the development of the GHIN System and introduced the Stimpmeter to the world of golf. To email a question for possible use in an upcoming Let's Be Frank column, please email
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What's in the bag: CareerBuilder winner Rahm

By Golf Channel DigitalJanuary 22, 2018, 10:37 pm

Jon Rahm defeated Andrew Landry in a playoff to earn his second PGA Tour title at the CareerBuilder Challenge. Here's what's in his bag:

Driver: TaylorMade M4 (9.5 degrees), with Aldila Tour Green 75 TX shaft

Fairway wood: TaylorMade M3 (19 degrees), with Aldila Tour Green 75 TX shaft

Irons: TaylorMade P790 (3), P750 (4-PW), with Project X 6.5 shafts

Wedges: TaylorMade Milled Grind (52, 56 degrees), Milled Grind Hi-Toe (60 degrees), with Project X 6.5 shafts

Putter: TaylorMade Spider Tour Red

Ball: TaylorMade TP5x

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Strange irked by Rahm-Landry friendly playoff

By Jason CrookJanuary 22, 2018, 9:45 pm

Curtis Strange knows a thing or two about winning golf tournaments, and based on his reaction to the CareerBuilder Challenge playoff on Sunday, it’s safe to say he did things a little differently while picking up 17 PGA Tour victories in his Hall-of-Fame career.

While Jon Rahm and Andrew Landry were “battling” through four extra holes, Strange, 62, tweeted his issues with the duo’s constant chit-chat and friendly banter down the stretch at La Quinta Country Club, where Rahm eventually came out on top.

The two-time U.S. Open champ then engaged with some followers to explain his point a little more in depth.

So, yeah ... don't think he's changing his perspective on this topic anytime soon ever.

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Randall's Rant: The Euros won't just roll over

By Randall MellJanuary 22, 2018, 9:36 pm

The Ryder Cup may not be the King Kong of golf events yet, but you can hear the biennial international team event thumping its chest a full eight months out.

As anticipation for this year’s big events goes, there is more buzz about Europe’s bid to hold off a rejuvenated American effort in Paris in September than there is about the Masters coming up in April.

Thank Europe’s phenomenal success last weekend for that.

And Rory McIlroy’s impassioned remarks in Abu Dhabi.

And the provocative bulletin board material a certain Sports Illustrated writer provided the Europeans a couple months ago, with a stinging assault on the Euro chances that read like an obituary.

McIlroy was asked in a news conference before his 2018 debut last week what he was most excited about this year.

The Ryder Cup topped his list.

Though McIlroy will be trying to complete the career Grand Slam at Augusta National come April, he talked more about the Ryder Cup than he did any of the game’s major championships.

When asked a follow-up about the American team’s resurgence after a task-force overhaul and the injection of young, new star power, McIlroy nearly started breaking down the matchup. He talked about the young Americans and how good they are.

“Yeah, the Americans have been, obviously, very buoyant about their chances and whatever, but it’s never as easy as that. ... The Ryder Cup’s always close,” McIlroy said. “I think we’ll have a great team, and it definitely won’t be as easy as they think it’s going to be.”

McIlroy may have been talking about Alan Shipnuck’s bold prediction after the American Presidents Cup rout last fall.

Or similar assertions from TV analysts.

“The Ryder Cup is dead – you just don’t know it yet,” Shipnuck wrote. “One of the greatest events in sport is on the verge of irrelevancy. The young, talented, hungry golfers from the United States, benefitting from the cohesive leadership of the Task Force era, are going to roll to victory in 2018 in Paris.”

European Ryder Cup captain Thomas Bjorn won’t find words that will motivate the Euros more than that as he watches his prospective players jockey to make the team.

And, boy, did they jockey last weekend.

The Euros dominated across the planet, not that they did it with the Ryder Cup as some rallying cry, because they didn’t. But it was a heck of an encouraging start to the year for Bjorn to witness.

Spain’s Jon Rahm won the CareerBuilder Challenge on the PGA Tour, England’s Tommy Fleetwood started the week at Abu Dhabi paired with American and world No. 1 Dustin Johnson and won the European Tour event, and Spain’s Sergio Garcia won the Singapore Open in a rout on the Asian Tour.

And McIlroy looked close to being in midseason form, tying for third in his first start in three months.

Yes, it’s only January, and the Ryder Cup is still a long way off, with so much still to unfold, but you got an early sense from McIlroy how much defending European turf will mean to him and the Euros in Paris in September.

The Masters is great theater, the U.S. Open a rigorous test, The Open and the PGA Championship historically important, too, but the Ryder Cup touches a nerve none of those do.

The Ryder Cup stokes more fervor, provokes more passion and incites more vitriol than any other event in golf.

More bulletin board material, too.

Yeah, it’s a long way off, but you can already hear the Ryder Cup’s King Kong like footsteps in its distant approach. Watching how the American and European teams come together will be an ongoing drama through spring and summer.

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Quail Hollow officials promise players easier conditions

By Rex HoggardJanuary 22, 2018, 9:14 pm

Quail Hollow Club - a staple on the PGA Tour since 2003 - debuted as a longer, tougher version of itself at last year’s PGA Championship, receiving mixed reviews from players.

The course played to a lengthened 7,600 yards at last year’s PGA and a 73.46 stroke average, the toughest course in relation to par on Tour in 2017. As a result, it left some players less than excited to return to the Charlotte, N.C.-area layout later this spring for the Wells Fargo Championship.

It’s that lack of enthusiasm that led officials at Quail Hollow to send a video to players saying, essentially, that the course players have lauded for years will be back in May.

The video, which includes Quail Hollow president Johnny Harris and runs nearly five minutes, begins with an explanation of how the first hole, which played as a 524-yard par 4 at the PGA, will play much shorter at the Wells Fargo Championship.

“I had a number of my friends who were playing in the tournament tell me that tee was better suited as a lemonade stand,” Harris joked of the new tee box on the fourth hole. “I doubt we’ll ever see that tee used again in competition.”

Harris also explained that the greens, which became too fast for some, will be “softer” for this year’s Wells Fargo Championship.