The great Gene Sarazen invented the sand wedge by adding “bounce” to the bottom of a standard wedge.
The thickened sole is designed to displace more sand from a bunker and prevent the blade from sliding too cleanly underneath the ball. Bounce also makes the sand wedge a valuable tool when playing from greenside rough, especially when the ball is nestled down.
In these cases, the thinner, lighter blade of a lob wedge, gap or pitching wedge can get snagged and slowed down by the grass, killing clubhead speed and causing weak contact. The sand wedge is also a better option when the ball is sitting up in tall, fluffy grass, when a club with a thinner sole might slide completely underneath it.
When using the sand wedge from the rough, let the club’s heft work for you. Think of dropping the clubhead down and under the ball, rotating your body more than you would on a normal pitch shot, while holding the clubface open through impact.
It’s important to place your hands slightly ahead of the ball at address, but not so far forward that you de-loft the club and minimize the effect of its bounce.