Wedge fitting for bounce and grind goes beyond the more common fitting for loft and lie. Wedges, especially any wedge over 46 degrees of loft, are used for shots that require touch and execution. There are a couple of new design options from Callaway and Cleveland that can add to your creativity and shot making around the green and from heavy rough. Specifically, the Callaway MD5 and TaylorMade Hi-Toe are ones to try.
The type of ground you are playing from (rough, hard pan, sand, fairway, deep rough) and the type of swing plane you have (shallow/sweeper, neutral, steep/digger) will determine what bounce you should ideally have on your wedges. In general, the tighter the lie, the lower the bounce you want on your wedge to avoid “bouncing” off the ground or sand, especially with a shallow to neutral swing plane. The deeper the rough or softer the sand, the more bounce you need to avoid having the club “stick” and not slide through the shot. For example, my home course recently renovated all of the sand bunkers and put in new sand. Because it was so fluffy, I have to go to a high bounce sand wedge so the wedge could bounce off the fluffy new sand. For normal municipal courses, the sand is usually pretty course and hard packed. Those conditions will require a lower bounce (10 degrees).
The next consideration is the available grind options on the wedges. The grind options represent how the back of the wedge is “ground” so that you can manipulate the loft and effective bounce. Callaway, Titleist, Cleveland and Mizuno have several grind options for different lofts that are designed to help your playing style. Even companies like Miura, Epon, and PXG offer several grind options. The styles of swings are either a shallow/sweeper, neutral , or steep/digger. Some wedge lofts only come in one style of grind, particularly the lofts less than 53 degrees. If you only use a three wedge system, i.e. PW, 53/54 and 58/60 then you will need to find the right kind of grind that allows you to lay the wedges open or close them down in a variety of turf/sand conditions. That’s where a good fitter comes in.
There are a couple of interesting new designs with a larger flange from sole to top that have been introduced by Callaway, Cleveland and TaylorMade. The Callaway Mack Daddy 5 (2019) grind has been designed in 2019 for a slightly smaller look. Designed to be used in fluffy sand or deeper rough, the longer flange keeps you from popping up or sliding under those particular shots. TaylorMade Hi-Toe wedges feature the higher toe and grooves across the entire face. Some of these wedges come only in higher bounce due to the turf conditions they are designed for.
So if you are about to get some new wedges, be sure to make sure they fit your playing style and the courses you play. You will enjoy your short game SO much more with the proper bounce and grind!!