GolfWRX Editor Review by joesgonegolfing
Tested-Bridgestone J40 Fairway
Project X 6.0 shaft
I had hoped to post this review last Fall but the club came late to me and we lost the chance before the weather turned in Maryland. However, we have had a mild winter and I have had the chance to get the club on the range and course a ½ dozen times. For those of you that don’t know me I play to scratch and if I can avoid it I don’t normally play a fairway wood. This past season I “gamed” a Ping G15 and I15 Ping 3 wood at 15.5 degrees when I had one in the bag.
Pros: The club is simply beautiful to look at. The black finish is deep with a clean classic design that will appeal to anyone tired of the “show” other manufactures’ are putting on. The black finish hides the size of the head which is appears large to me, but large in a confidence inspiring fashion.
Cons: I am a grip “snob” and nothing ruins the feel of a club more to me than the standard “cheap” Golf Pride Tour Velvet. Mizuno and Ping have been putting on really nice upgraded grips on their clubs as stock offerings, the ID8 and M21, both are far better than the GPTV.
Bottom Line: The club begs to be hit at set-up and the deepish face offers serious playability off the tee. It has a confident position at address and the number of higher handicap golfers I had hit the club had zero issues getting it airborne and on line. The club will fit a wide range of handicaps with the proper shaft in it. Some claimed the club felt heavy or hit heavy, but all of them liked that feel and the results.
Look: As I mentioned the club is confidence inspiring. Even as a low handicap player the worse swing in my bag is a 3 or 4 wood off the deck. This head makes me feel confident when it sets behind the ball. If you look at the pictures you can see that even at .5 degree weaker the J40 is larger than my I15 and similar in size to the G15. The face on the J40 is deeper and off the tee on a short par four the club really shines. The hosel and shaft combination has the classy look of a players club, again without all the over the top bells and whistles we see today.
Performance/Playability: I really prefer this club off the tee. It is almost a “can’t miss” shot for me off the tee that has me re-thinking my MP Fli-Hi 2 iron. The club is long off the tee and every bit as long as either Ping offering off the deck. This is despite its .5 degree weaker loft and slightly shorter shaft length. The Project X 6.0 plays stiff and some of the players I had swing it liked the head but could not handle the shaft. My Driver Swing Speed is 115-118 max and normally around 109-112 when I am playing. The Project X plays stiffer in this head than my Whiteboard plays in the I15 head. I never get a balloon ball with the J40.
At the end of the day we buy fairway woods to play off the deck and the J40 is an easy swing here, fitting more players than just low handicaps (shaft aside). However, this is still the worst swing in my bag and I make mistakes here that I don’t playing a Fli-Hi iron. The reward is the J40 can get me home on a par 5 that I can’t get to with my other clubs. In every instance I prefer this fairway wood to the ones I have been playing.
Feel: My big issue is the grip, followed closely by the sound. This club makes a louder tinnier sound that runs in contrast to the woods I am used to. That sound is harsher than I would prefer, but the results override the sound. My experience in the past with Bridgestone was I always felt the drivers had a muted sound and I expected that in this club, perhaps, the surprise of the louder than expected sound makes me notice it more. With a grip change the feedback would be better for me overall and the sound less of an issue.
Bottom Line: If this club had not been sent to me to test I would never had tried Bridgestone and that would have been a mistake. As a stock offering with the Project X 6.0 shaft in it, this club performs with my I15 15.5 Degree (with a $250.00 Diamana Whiteboard) in every area of play and outdoes it off the deck. It is very long off the tee and playable from the deck like a 4 Wood should be for a variety of people I had test it. The J40 presents a quandary for me in that I have to consider that my swing will let me down occasionally with a fairway wood in a way the MP Fli-Hi 2 Iron never does, but the reward of getting home on a long par five and the ease of this club off the tee on a short par make it worth spending more time with this club this summer. The first thing I need to do is slide on an Iomic.
Click here to see more photos and read the discussion in the forums… http://www.golfwrx.com/forums/topic/594789-bridgestone-j40-16-degree-fairway-wood-review/