Toe And Heel Bounce | Swing Surgeon - Don Trahan Peak Performance Golf Swing

Toe And Heel Bounce

Thu, 03/01/2012 - 01:00 -- Don Trahan

Today we are going to talk a bit about a subject that many golfers have never heard of, let alone understand. The subject is called "Bounce" and it applies primarily to your wedges. It came up recently in a question that Isaac Simmons sent me.

"There is a lot of instruction on using the heel bounce on pitches and sand shots. When should you use the toe bounce? How do you pitch off hard pan?"

If you look at the bottom of a sand wedge, for example, you will see the front edge, or leading edge, at the very bottom of the face. But then as you look back toward the back of the club, to where the head thickens, this is the area club designers call the bounce. Most modern wedges have some degree of bounce and some even have the degrees of bounce stamped on the head.

If a club has been made with bounce, then it is likely to have two distinct bounce areas, i.e. the toe bounce and the heel bounce. You still with me? I know this can sound confusing so be sure to watch the video where we actually focus in on these parts of the club.

Now let's get to Isaac's question. The key here is that the lie and how far you need to carry the ball will determine whether you use toe bounce or heel bounce. I cover this in more detail in the video, but I can summarize the various situations here:

  • Toe Bounce is generally used on a downhill lie or side-hill lie around the green where you do not have a lot of distance from the edge of the green to the hole. This is because when you hit the ball off the toe (and not the sweet spot), it will come off the club dead
  • Heel Bounce is normally used when you have a regular lie or an uphill lie where you have ample room to land the ball on the green and let it run out.
  • Off of hardpan around the green, I would tend to favor using Heel Bounce in almost every situation. However, if you are tight to the hole, you may need to use Toe Bounce and, let me tell you, this is one of the hardest shots in golf to make on a consistent basis. So practice this one a lot!

If you want to go beyond what I can cover in 8-9 minutes during a daily video, I recommend that you get my comprehensive video on this subject called Situational Shots: On The Course. In it, I show you how to hit 14 of the most common and difficult shots you can face during a round. If you master these shots, I can almost guarantee that you'll knock 4,5, maybe even 6 shots a round off your scores. Having these skills can keep a bad shot from turning your hole into a double or triple bogey nightmare because you'll be able to get the ball back into play on the very next shot.

Keep it vertical!

The Surge

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Comments

Steve Smith's picture

Submitted by Steve Smith on

All I know about Tiger Paws is that in the National Championship game the only "Tiger Paws" out there didn't have any claws.

Dick Lee's picture

Submitted by Dick Lee (not verified) on

A husband and wife are on the 9th green when suddenly she collapses from a heart attack! "Help me dear," she groans to her husband.
The husband calls 911 on his cell phone, talks for a few minutes, picks up his putter and lines up his putt. His wife raises her head off the green and stares at him.
"I'm dying here and you're putting?" "Don't worry dear," says the husband calmly, "they found a doctor on the second hole and he's coming to help you.
"Well, how long will it take for him to get here?" she asks feebly.
"No time at all," says her husband. "Everybody's already agreed to let him play through."

T Medley's picture

Submitted by T Medley (not verified) on

That Tiger guy sure is getting killed on the greens again today. If he ever gets his putting on track again he might have a chance.

Robert F's picture

Submitted by Robert F (not verified) on

An interesting element of that to ask Doc about would be the effect on the other playing characteristics of the wedge, since you are, in effect, removing weight from the heel and toe of the club by grinding off some of the flange. Would you then need to add weight back? And where would you put it? Add lead tape on the back just above the newly ground off heel and toe flanges?

I've seen mention of grinding down the heel and toe bounce from a few of the pros on Tour as ways to improve their pitching and chipping. It's an interesting subject.

stevec7278's picture

Submitted by stevec7278 (not verified) on

Doc Griffin's series on Club fitting is very informative & interesting.  I have a question for his Daily Video a couple of weeks ago on "Shaft Length".  The measurement is from the Left Wrist to the ground - I am right at 32 inches.  Does that translate to standard length Clubs?

Robert F's picture

Submitted by Robert F (not verified) on

Also check over at Harbor Freight for the tools, Robert. Down on Decatur near Trop. They often have better prices.

Steve Smith's picture

Submitted by Steve Smith on

 Thanks. I just post some ideas that might let other people avoid the mistakes I've made.

BTW I don't know if you've done it or not but some video of your swing from down the line and face on, along with a copy of the manual and training videos can show you exactly where you are and where you need to go.

Many of us butted our head against the wall for a while before we did either and could have saved ourselves a lot of trouble.

P.S. There is a search bar in the right column. You can type in just about any golf subject you can think of, such as "shaft length" and all of the articles on that subject can be seen.

T Medley's picture

Submitted by T Medley (not verified) on

I here you. The Tiger I'm thinking of didn't have any claws on the greens yesterday either.

All this claw talk makes me want a big Bear Claw with my coffee. Yum, wish I had some pastry in the house. I'll have to settle for toast and jelly. Less calories anyway.

Steve Smith's picture

Submitted by Steve Smith on

 It's a weird thing to me. It is so obvious to me that his posture and mechanics are totally different from when he was a great putter. With the resources he has I can't understand why he wouldn't go back to what worked so well (he has to know) unless it is just a case of being so stubborn that he wants to show everybody that his "new" putting stroke was the "right" move.

Being stubborn can be one of the greatest attributes for an athlete and also one of the biggest detriments.

Robert F's picture

Submitted by Robert F (not verified) on

I'd say it's definitely an advanced play consideration, and not something most of us would care to worry about if we're not even getting the simple chips and pitches into gimme range most of the time. It is an interesting subject, though. I have two different sand wedges, depending on the state of the bunkers on whatever course I'm playing. One has a LOT of bounce (it's an old club, so the actual bounce is not listed, but it has a boat keel for a flange) and the other just moderate bounce (10*). For now, for the state of my short game, that's as much variation as I need. Of course, I will chip or pitch with pretty much any club in my bag. I have no fascination with the high flop shot. I much prefer to use the terrain where possible. 

Amos 's picture

Submitted by Amos (not verified) on

Steve:

    RIGHT ON again!   My tnedecy is to very conservative with boht golf and dards -- make the best percentage play.
    re the "flop shot" -- we have small hard greens with large bunkers on either side (wtih hard packed sand in them, most of the time). If you miss the green and the bunker, you can easily find yourself facing a situation where you have to pitch over the bunker onto the green, and only have about 25 feet total green, side to side to avoid the far side bunker.  Then the flop of a very close cousin id the ONLY choice - unles you you prefer to play to the fat part of the green and face a 30 or 40 foot downhill putt.
    I have seen people lose at least 3 or 4 strokes by going over the front bunker,  into the back bunker, then play "Annie over" into the other bunker - and about 3 shots later finally on the green and in the hole !
    I am blessed (or maybe cursed ?) with a swing that produces a "natural" high flight with the wedges. If I play the ball in the center of my stance and make a full swing, 30 to 35 yds is about my maximum distance with a 60* LW -- but it will go about 20 to 25 ysds vertically at the same time.  But if I hit it a littel thin, that same swing will produce a low flier that goes about 80 yds - so some care and caution is required.
   The 48* PW produces a similar shot -- but goes for about 70 to 75 yds horizonatlly and about 50 yds vertically

     Keep hitting them STRAIGHT and LONG
 
   Amos

T Medley's picture

Submitted by T Medley (not verified) on

 I was looking at the same loft/lie machine. I have a Golfsmith swing-weight scale and a spin finder already from past years of tinkering. I have a grinder in the basement and another in the garage, along with air compressors in each location. I also have a Golfsmith shaft extractor, which is pretty much just a small vise mounted screw jack.

I have built/assembled numerous clubs for myself and friends in past years, but it was basic. Just shaft flex and tip specs, cut to length, assemble with epoxy, swingweight to specs and install grips. I did not even have a spine finder at those times yet.

Being in the mechanical maint field for 30+yrs, I have an inbreed love to tinker and know how things work.

I recall at 8yrs old wanting a pocket watch in the worst way. Got one for my birthday and had the back off and parts out within 24hrs. It never worked again.

PMG 

Boogm's picture

Submitted by Boogm (not verified) on

 Steve, that's what we call in the trade a "tiger-paw". We use the 4" grinder variety since we're always in tight places or just a nice 80 grit flapper wheel in an end-grinder/burr-motor

Keith Kent's picture

Submitted by Keith Kent (not verified) on

I can also spend lots of time looking at these videos on you tube! It is surprising how many PPGS videos there are on there and easy to see them all as there are rows upon rows of thumbnails shots to wet your whistle!

Boogm's picture

Submitted by Boogm (not verified) on

 The clubs you built me don't have near the bounce of my old ones,Doc. Maybe because I'm not tossing them back at my bag or cart after a hit another errant shot ;)

MikefromKy Go Bama. Go Irish's picture

Submitted by MikefromKy Go B... (not verified) on

The lob wedge I carry for missing short siding elevated greens were it would be 4-5 ft elevation difference. Its defiantly a club you have to be committed to hitting are you will leave the ball sitting were it is at and I have done that on occasion.  
 

Steve Smith's picture

Submitted by Steve Smith on

Playing the odds doesn't usually (or at least necessarily) mean conservative for me. It usually means pushing the limits of what I am capable of doing most of the time.

What has to be calculated into the odds is what I think I need to win, along with my chances of success for each shot. Turns out to be a fairly complicated formula to give the best chance to win.

If we are playing against people that routinely shoot 5 or 6 strokes better than we are (which is normal for me) it would do no good to play it safe. The trick is to get right on that fine line between safe, and stupid. Too safe and I automatically lose. Too stupid and it takes a miracle to win.

The middle is to take the chances when they are more likely than not to pay off and play it safe the other times and to be smart enough to know the difference.

I could play much more consistent if I played it more safe. I would also lose each and every week with a really "nice but not enough" score. Ha ha!

Raising the risk meter gives me the chance to win or the chance to go down in flames.

Doesn't do a lot of good to get a single in the bottom of the ninth with 2 outs and the two guys behind you are 0 for their career against that pitcher. You could pad your batting average and get a single and lose the game or you could take a chance and take a whack at it, maybe be the hero, maybe be the goat, but go out at least trying to be a winner. Those are the moments I play for and I ain't swinging for a single. ;-)

On the other hand If I happen to be the better player I'm not taking any chances.

Steve Smith's picture

Submitted by Steve Smith on

 For what it's worth:
When I first started grinding clubs I used a regular grinding disc and when I got it about like I wanted it I would use a disc shaped sandpaper flapper wheel.
http://www.csunitec.com/sandin...

In time I realized I could move metal almost as fast and save a step in the process by just doing the whole job with the sand paper flapper disc, without having to worry about smoothing out the grinding marks.

Boogm's picture

Submitted by Boogm (not verified) on

 The boys & I enjoyed Silver Lakes when we played there and I also played it solo. Super course, I'm glad they were able to save it after all the tornado damage. I saw the spread the B'ham News had on it a couple of months back and was surprised that the "Retirement" group had thought about just closing it after the storm.Looking forward to playing it again some time this summer.

Grembacki's picture

Submitted by Grembacki (not verified) on

Surge,
I faithfully watch your daily blog and see you hitting balls into your net. What type of golf net is it, because it appears to have a good target and is built from sturdy material. If you can would you let us know the manufacture of the golf net and who sells them.
Thank you,
Gary Rembacki

Steve Smith's picture

Submitted by Steve Smith on

 You should see the bounce on my wife's driver and 3 wood when she hits a bad shot. ;-)

Either my son or I always tell her she hasn't practiced enough to earn the right to be mad about a shot.

She actually has pretty good swing speed when she slams the club head on the ground.

Kevin's picture

Submitted by Kevin (not verified) on

Don,
Totally off the subject - what hitting net are you using and how far from the mat do you have it set up?

Steve Smith's picture

Submitted by Steve Smith on

 I much prefer to have a ground down sand wedge whenever  I am not carrying a lob wedge. When I am carrying a lob wedge it's of almost no benefit to have either the LW or the SW ground down.

Never even thought about grinding down my current wedges because since last year I have always had a LW in the bag.

Before then it depended on the course whether I carried a LW or not, and at that time the first thing I did when I got a new SW was to grind it down.

Steve Smith's picture

Submitted by Steve Smith on

Good to know. Now if I ever work with a Boilermaker I will know what to tell him I need and not go get it myself.
I guess that name is as good as any. ;-)
We always just went over to the locker and got one of them instead of explaining what we wanted.

The only problem with any of them is that the main place you always need to get to remove welding splatter and polish metal is inside of corners and nothing is very good for the job.

The bad thing is that the more pieces of metal there are coming into the same corner, the harder it is to clean up after welding, but there is more to clean up because of the tight space and multiple magnetic fields. The perfect storm for a pain in the butt.

Usually customers would never notice imperfections in the finish look in corners on joists or structural beams but handrails and gates were another story.

Speaking of what we call things: A "scraper" in Alabama is a "pull" in Illinois and a "pan" in Missouri.
A "scarfing tip" in Missouri is a "gouging tip" in Illinois, and in Alabama they just look at you like they don't know what in the heck you are talking about because they've never seen one and always used an "air arc", which is a "carbon arc" in some circles. ;-)

 Lots of confusion since the bosses at the mines were likely to be from any of those states. The guys would look at me to be an interpreter since I had lived in all three states. Ha ha!

Robert F's picture

Submitted by Robert F (not verified) on

Yeah, there are definitely times when it's necessary. I just see so many weekend warriors trying to hit a Phil Mickelson flop shot when they have an up hill chip to an open green and lots of room to the pin. Then they wonder why they have a downhill chip from somewhere off the back for their next shot.

Steve Smith's picture

Submitted by Steve Smith on

 Amen.

I worked with a lot of guys from Harrisburg Illinois at the mine back in the early 80s but don't know if any of them still live there or not.

Robert Meade's picture

Submitted by Robert Meade (not verified) on

Sounds like you got into it fairly good. fun stuff Terry. I was looking at that type of shaft extractor. It seems much less expensive than a professional quality extractor. I want quality but am not able to spend thousands on tools. It is a fullfilling hobbie for sure. Fun:)

Robert Meade's picture

Submitted by Robert Meade (not verified) on

I'd be willing to bet that many of todays golf fitters started out in their garage and or just fooling around with repairing their own clubs. My fitter in Cali didn't get into it until he was simi retired around 15 years ago. Now close to 70 he is a top fitter and a certified Surge fitter too.

Because of having 4 sets of clubs. One inherited from Dad and two others from the last 30+ years of golf (and my current new set) I have several wedges I can mess around with grinding. I also am the type to do things super gradual and only after studying and practicing technique on a club or two I don't care about before destroying a club.I also have partial sets from my Dad's older sets going back 50 years. Yes much of it is trial and error, however we only learn and grow if we "go for it" and not fear mistakes. I can't wait until my next trip through this life.I don't expect to have one. As they say 'this is not a dress rehearsal'. Too, I still have the idea of gradually becoming a fitter myself. Everyone started somewhere learning somehow. Each were unknowledgeable and not so good until they honed their skills over time. One has to start somewhere, sometime if they want to do something new. We can't all be Robert Thompson, but Bob's advertures at golf school at his age has been inspiring. Within the next few weeks I want to get a grinder and a loft/lie machine. It'll be fun regardless of how far I get.

Surges long time student Harold has inspired me too and we have become e mail buddies. He does most of his own work on his clubs and has encouraged me to give it a go. It's only a part time hobbie for now but fascinates me.

stevec7278's picture

Submitted by stevec7278 (not verified) on

Sorry about the duplication... I just started the Disqus account & didn't know how to get on board. Thank you for the responses.

Steve Smith's picture

Submitted by Steve Smith on

I had a coupon to play a free round for two there a few years ago but something came up and I couldn't go and the coupon expired. I wouldn't know which course to play if I went there.
There's another course near there,Twin Bridges, that everybody around here likes to go play.
The Twilight rates are so cheap that it would almost be worth the drive to Gadsden every time to play, and twilight starts at 1:00.
http://twinbridgesgolf.com/twi...

 Thomas Wilson's picture

Submitted by Thomas Wilson (not verified) on

morning surge   tom from va Im playing to   a weak 5hndcp.   im having a mental block about your left hand grip and how to get it. Ive looked at the tapes and am curious that if you have your left thumb symetrically going up your arm. Doesnt  that make the v to be  pointing at your left shoulder. I always thought the v should be pointing at right shoulder. I  know this seems simple but Im alittle confused.  please clarify.  thanks tom in va

Robert Meade's picture

Submitted by Robert Meade (not verified) on

We don't need the 'flopadopolis' very often at muni but at several of the other courses I play it is often a must if you want to get up and down. That's becoming my best way to lower scores and an important part of mastering the short game. That's another reason I am eager to mess around with the ideas from Kenny knox and now Surge and doing some home grinding of the wedges. I'll start cautiously for sure.

T Medley's picture

Submitted by T Medley (not verified) on

It is an Air Arc in N.E. Ohio also. The rods can go by both carbon rods and air arc rods. A scraper is a scraper. For the tight structural corners and plumbing pipes, railing, etc, I always preferred a needle gun. We also used an anti splatter spray which doesn't prevent splatter, but is more like a non stick which make the splatter removal much easier.

PMG

Steve Smith's picture

Submitted by Steve Smith on

Yeah, as far as I'm concerned golf is no different from a game of cards. You may get away with bucking the odds sometimes but you probably won't make a living that way.

Each shot presents a new set of odds.

Robert Meade's picture

Submitted by Robert Meade (not verified) on

I'm still a Tiger fan and will be regardless however it is tough to watch him putt sooo badly. Putting is what seperated him most from the also rans. now he is just a "good" player. 148th in putting today?!! Today he not only missed 'em right but left too. Having said that, today is over and tomorrow morning will offer a new opportunity and don't be surprised if he shoots a 65. How about that poor kid who shot the 79  playing insteed of Ian Poulter. Tough day over all in that group.
On another note, let's pul for DJ to get back into it Friday. His double out of the blocks shock his day up. Came back a little on his back nine and finished with a decent stretch. better day tomorrow. How bout that 64 by Davis Love!? Sweet!

MikefromKy Go Bama. Go Irish's picture

Submitted by MikefromKy Go B... (not verified) on

Robert

I don't have a issue with grinding clubs if someone wants to go that route. I know you want to become a fitter / builder as I wish you all the best at it and am happy for you pursuing your interest.

I do not disagree with the lesson.

I just think for most of us it would add another variable  to worry about with a sport that is hard enough to become good at to begin with.

It seems most on this site including me are having a hard enough time getting this basic swing down.Although I was half way there to begin with and will get it in a matter of spending more time practicing some may never fully get it. 

Doc Griffin's picture

Submitted by Doc Griffin (not verified) on

I did that to DJs wedges as well as added a camber to the soles.  I did not have to add weight back as I make his clubs a touch longer than standard so the MOI was fine.  Under normal circumstances, you would need to replace the weight to keep the same MOI.  I put it in the hosel as this is where you are taking out most of the weight.

Steve Smith's picture

Submitted by Steve Smith on

Yeah that anti splatter spray is pretty good stuff. We used it a lot on fancy gates. Has some limitations in tight corners with multiple pieces coming into the corners though. Especially if the fitter did a bad job and there are big gaps to fill. Usually I would peel the copper off of an air arc rod and use it as a backup strip to keep the splatter from messing everything up on the other side while the multiple passes to fill the gap are applied. Of course then it's a little bit of a hassle to remove the carbon rod stuck to the weld in a tight place. Not bad if there is a jitterbug handy but a real pain in the butt with a hand chipper in a tight spot.

P.S. I assume a "needle gun" is a "jitterbug" (in some places) or an "air chipper" (in other places).
The little ID grinders that we call pencil grinders are the only way to get everything smooth in those small cornered spaces.

Doc Griffin's picture

Submitted by Doc Griffin (not verified) on

Ok, before the comments start coming in, most all the clubs (irons) have some degree of bounce.  Wedges have more bounce.  Bounce is the angle difference between the leading edge and the back edge of the bottom of the sole of the club.  As for heel bounce and toe bounce I'm not even going to touch that one.  Have fun guys!

Robert Meade's picture

Submitted by Robert Meade (not verified) on

Here's the wedges that Surge switched to via Kenny Knox.

http://www.golfwrx.com/forums/...

I am in the process of buying a grider to be able to adjust the heal/toe bounce on some of my wedges. The idea is it makes the wdge more versitle in a variety of conditions.

Robert Meade's picture

Submitted by Robert Meade (not verified) on

Nice Harold. It will take me a few months to build up my tools but I'll get there.
Thanks for your inspiration and suggestions pal:)

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