Our short game series continues this week with a look at a specific type of shot which I know gives many players real problems. I once worked at a Golf Club in Cheshire which featured large, wide bunkers with deep soft sand. It was a source of constant complaint that “There’s too much sand in these bunkers, I can’t get out” and it’s something I’ve heard a lot from golfers in the years since.
I have to be honest, it’s never been a complaint I have had much sympathy with. My view was always that bunkers are hazards, governed by the same rules as water hazards and I’ve never heard a player complain that the water is too deep in a pond!
We watch golf on TV and see how easy the Pro’s make these shots look, often preferring a bunker shot to a pitch from the rough and it’s easy to assume these shots should be easy for us too. The reality is that if your course has wide shallow bunkers with lots of sand then understanding the correct technique combine with the right tools for the job you CAN make these tough shots easier for yourself.
The video shows how having an appropriate wedge is just as important as technique. If you struggle with bunker shots then the correct combination of bounce and loft is critical. If I played a course with small pot like bunkers with steep sides I would use a completely different wedge than one I talk about in this video.
For those of you who don’t understand bounce on the wedge it is simply the difference between the trailing edge and leading edge of the wedge. If you hold up the club, positioning the shaft vertically you will notice that the leading edge of your SW is noticeably higher than the trailing edge, the leading edge sits up off the ground. The further the leading edge is from the ground the higher the bounce of the wedge.
Here is a general guide to how you should select your wedge.
- Large, wide bunkers with longer distance to escape use mid loft (54-56 deg) with mid-high bounce.
- Deep sand demands higher bounce and a wider sole
- Poor technique/low confidence can be helped with higher bounce and a wider sole
- Deep bunkers with steep sides demand higher loft (58-60 deg)
- Little or compacted sand use lower bounce and narrower sole.
Every wedge manufacturer now shows the bounce and the loft on each wedge. It is measured in degrees and is the smaller number indicated next to the loft. For example if your wedge reads 56-11, that is 56 deg of loft with 11 deg of bounce.
To give you some perspective bounce can vary from very low, around 4 degrees on some Lob wedges up to 16 degrees being very high bounce.
I would never recommend less than 8 degrees of bounce (with the possible exception of VERY highly skilled players) and for consistent bunker shots a minimum of 10 degrees of bounce. I have seen many poor bunker players instantly improve just by using a wedge with a better bounce angle.
To understand more about bounce angles and selecting your ideal wedge visit www.golf.mizunoeurope.com and see how loft and bounce combine for different players in the T-5 wedge range.