Finding the correct wedge is a process. Much like choosing the right tool for the job, you must look at all the variables before making a decision. Turf conditions, angle of attack, your natural swing produces and how you plan to utilize the club will help you determine the amount of necessary bounce, sole camber, sole radius, sole width, and sole grind your wedge needs.
Some wedge terminologies
1) Turf Conditions
Turf conditions can affect how your wedges react at impact. The conditions of the turf where you play affect your decision on the amount of effective bounce. If you happen to play on different types of surface, then your club needs to be multifaceted; able to hit shots off of every conceivable lie, turf condition, and allow you to create your desired shots.
How much bounce do you need on your various wedges? Bounce is simply the angle of the sole from the leading edge, to the trail edge of the club in conjunction with the sole camber, the sole radius, the sole width, and the grind on the sole. Bounce is basically the clubs resistance to digging.
Bounce is built into the sole of the wedge to prevent the club from digging into the sand or turf. It helps to prevent fat shots by neutralising the downward angle of the wedge by lifting the club back out of the ground like the flap an airplane gives the plane lift. The greater the angle from the leading edge to the trailing edge, the more the bounce, and the more the club will resist digging.
3) Sole Camber
Camber is the amount of curvature from the leading edge of the club to the trailing edge of the clubs’ sole. Camber does two things: it increases the bounce angle of the club (moving the bounce more towards the middle of the sole), and decrease the sole surface. Basically it offsets the increase of bounce angle with the decrease in sole surface.
The less camber the sole has, the wider the soles’ playing surface and the more effective bounce the club has. The less camber the wedge has, the more conducive the club is for soft turf and bunker play. Medium camber is versatile for all turf and sand conditions. If the club has enhanced camber on the sole, the effective sole width is reduced and bounce angle is increased. The enhanced camber is better for firm turf and sand conditions.
4) Sole Width
Sole width is the distance from the leading edge to the trailing edge). It affects the effective bounce. The wider the sole, the more effective bounce on the wedge. A wider soled wedge will play better from soft turf and loose sand. The narrower the sole, the less effective bounce on the wedge. The width of the sole also affects the playability of the wedge. If you prefer to open the clubface to play soft, delicate shots around the green, a wider soled wedge with less bounce will fulfill your needs.
If you like to play the shots around the green with a square clubface you will need a wedge with a narrower sole and more bounce.
5) Sole Radius
Sole radius (when the leading edge of the club is rounded from toe to heel) is some thing that can make hitting shots much easier. It is the curvature of the sole from heel to toe of the club and allows you to lower or raise your hands to strike every type of shot.
6) Angle of Attack
The angle of attack (how steeply you swing the club into the ball) determines both the proper amount of bounce and grind of the wedge. The steeper the angle of attack, the more bounce is required to keep from excessively digging into the turf.
Grind is the added adjustments made bythe expert grinder to adjust or alter the playability of the wedge to fit the individual player.
When grinding a wedge; the craftsman grinds parts of the sole, trail, tail, leading edge, creates sole camber, sole radius, and bounce to allow the club to hit all kinds of shots, creating the best possible turf/club contact for the golfer.
The grind on the wedge will also assist you in hitting shots from any lie. The wedge needs to be versatile. You are going to encounter every imaginable lie and the club needs to perform in every situation. It must function from heavy rough, tight lies, from various sand types and lies, and still be a precision instrument from the fairway on full and partial shots. The versatility of the club is determined by the proper combination of sole grind, bounce angle, and sole width.
Here’s a video showing how a grind (in this case an Edel Digger Grind) can be versatile enough to get the ball out of all type of lie.
Why Fit Wedges?
There are 5 different golf swings in your game.
- Driver – Sweeping motion hitting off tee
- Fairway Wood – Sweeping motion but hitting down through the ball
- Iron – Compressing the ball and taking a larger divot
- Wedge – Steeper angle of attack, largest divots
- Putt – sweeping motion small swings
So why do you want to have a steeper angle of attack? When the angle of attack is steep, together with a high dynamic loft, you are going to get more spin. And if you can get more spin on the ball, you have a better distance and accuracy control near the pin.
What is the best way to get more spin? You need to hit more down (steeper angle of attack) and always hit the ball first.
Now. take a moment to think about how you hit your high loft (58*-61*) lob wedge.
To hit the lob wedge well, it takes a lot of skills. Most high loft lob wedges are designed with very low bounce. Low bounce lob wedges require a long, flat bottom on your swing. A long, flat bottom on your swing means you are sliding the club under the ball. And it does not encourage you to hit down. What happen if you do hit down? More than likely, you are going to dig into the ground and get stuck there. That’s no way to increase spin and get a good launch.
That is a lot easier to do with a high bounce wedge design.
How we fit you for wedges
Outdoor grass range: We will hand over a progression of wedges. Each with slightly more bounce and a slightly different sole grind. The progression was designed to go from “less bounce” to “more bounce”. In an outdoor grass range, is all about the grass, the roots and the dirt. We want to see a player disturb the grass – pull the roots – but leave the dirt alone. In about half an hour, we will be able to find the grind that matched the player’s natural swing. Usually the play will find a wedge that sounds and feels different by a surprisingly wide margin. The impact sounds clean, the divot exists but is more like a “bacon strip than a pork chop” (to steal from Moe Norman), and the feel is just different. It’s tough to describe, but you know it instantly when you hit it.
Indoor range: We put tapes on the sole of the wedges. Like outdoor range, we will hand over a progression of wedges for you to hit off a lie board. Each with slightly more bounce and a slightly different sole grind. This will allow us to determine the interaction of the grind with the ground. The right grind is determined by the impact on the sole. We want to see the impact as thin and as near the grind as possible.
When the right grind/sole/bounce is determined. We will proceed indoor and the player hits off a lie board to help determine lie angle and length. The player is then given a 52 or 56° head in the same grind family and asked to hit a variety of shots in front of our Trackman. We will change out 20+ shafts until the best shot dispersion, spin and launch angle are found for the player.
Find more about Edel wedge here.