A novel approach to “bounce” makes it easier to escape the sand.
The press release says the RAKE Sand Wedge has 56 degrees of loft, 26 degrees of “entry rail bounce” and ten degrees of “sole bounce.” It’s unlikely the average or casual golfer can say with any degree of certainty what that all means, but rest assured it makes getting a ball out of sand a good deal easier (pictured above).
The “56 degrees of loft” bit you certainly understand. But where do you find this entry rail bounce?
Actually, what is bounce?
Lay the very bottom edge of your sand wedge flat on the ground and you notice the club’s leading edge is raised very slightly above it. In order to put the leading edge on the turf, you would need to forward-press quite a bit. The angle between the bottom edge that’s in contact with the turf/sand and the leading edge, when the shaft is perpendicular to the ground, is known as bounce.
We’ve come a long way since Gene Sarazen soldered a flange onto a nine-iron to create a club that entered the sand and effectively bounced off it (rather than dug down into it) and exited with the ball flying out in a small explosion without ever making contact with the clubface.
Different ground conditions obviously call for different amounts of bounce. When chipping or pitching with a sand wedge on firm ground, you need relatively little bounce or the clubhead will rebound off the surface causing a horribly thin shot that whistles across the green.
Likewise in dense, compact sand such as you get on British links courses, the less bounce the better. On fluffy grass lies, however, or in soft, fluffy sand, a club with a lot of bounce, say 12-14 degrees, will probably work best.
Imagine then, if you have trouble getting a ball out of a bunker, what a club with 26 degrees of bounce might do for you. The sole of the RAKE Wedge, made by an Australian company called PNP (its first product was the Point ‘n’ Putt putter), possesses two bounces—26 degrees toward the front of the slightly on-set clubhead, 10 degrees behind.
“The 26-degree Entry Bounce is the larger section which enters the turf or sand before the actual bounce hits the surface,” says Eddie Heinen, PNP’s spokesman and U.S. marketing man. “The benefits are many. The club moves in and out of the sand easily, and the rail design gives the sand or grass a place to go which helps prevent the clubhead from snagging or twisting.”
Another who will testify to the RAKE’s efficacy is Kathy Gildersleeve-Jensen, the 2014 PGA National Teacher of the Year who is based at Indian Canyon GC in Spokane. In January, Gildersleeve-Jensen was at the PGA Merchandise Show in Orlando where the RAKE Wedge proved a big hit. “I am seriously impressed with how easy it is to execute what would normally be a tricky shot out of the rough,” she says, “and how effortlessly you can lift the ball out of a bunker. My students absolutely love it.”
Golfers loyal to brands such as Vokey, Cleveland, Scratch, SCOR, Fourteen, or Hopkins get hives at the very thought of switching and may well be proficient enough from sand not to require the extra assistance. But those who fear the sand and have trouble extricating their ball from any bunker no matter what type of sand it has or how high the lip, would do well to have a look at the RAKE.
The 56° sand wedge retails for $169 and is available in standard or light versions – the standard clubhead weighs 310g, the light version 10g less. The company also makes a 60° lob wedge ($169) with 15 degrees of entry rail bounce and zero degrees of sole bounce (pictured above).
For more information, visit pnpgolf.com.