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Bridgestone J36 Lineup Preview

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New for 2008, Bridgestone Golf has just announced the new J36 lineup of irons, hybrids, and wedges.

Ever since Bridgestone announced they would begin making golf clubs in the U.S. under the Bridgestone brand, they have maintained better players as the primary focus. The J33 Blade, Combo, and Cavity were all solid products that became favorites among better players for their performance and clean looks. Rather than attempt the "all things to all golfers" mentality of its Tour Stage sister brand in Japan, Bridgestone has embraced it’s niche category in the U.S. and the J36 line will seek to compete in the industry in a new way, while still paying homage to their 36 years of innovation as a company. The new line includes three sets of irons, the J36 Blade, J36 Cavity, J36 Pocket Cavity, a new J36 Hybrid, and new West Coast Designs Wedges.

Irons

Bridgestone has continued their commitment to forged irons and the J36 irons will be forged by the Endo Golf Manufacturing facility. The unique forging process utilizes a warm forging and then presses the irons four times at 1600 tons producing a precise initial forging which requires less grinding and finishing along with a more uniform grain structure in the metal. Designed with input from tour players like Fred Couples and Stuart Appleby, all the irons feature a sole that progressively widens from heel to toe making it easier to work the ball. Also, trailing edge relief on all the irons allows the club to drag less through the turf making it easier to play in a variety of conditions. The standard shaft for the line up will be Rifle Project X Flighted. The big change with the J36 line will be complete customization available from Bridgestone. Whatever combination of clubs, shafts, and grips a golfer wants will be possible. Also, since the the club heads were designed in tandem, the specifications were all designed to work in concert with each other. As a result, a golfer wanting a custom set of J36 Blade in PW-8, J36 Cavity in 7-5 J36, and Pocket Cavity in the 4-3 will have no problems doing so.

J36 Blade

The J33 Blade was a direct import from the Tour with input and approval from PGA Tour players like Stuart Appleby. The J33 Blade’s long hosel and heel biased center of mass gave better players the control they desire, but also required a tour caliber swing to achieve results. The new J36 blade will still provide players all the control they want, but in a much more playable package. Gone is the long hosel, replaced with a standard sized one making it much more playable.

However, traditional blade players will be glad to know that the muscle is still placed high on the club without cutouts other companies use to make their clubs more forgiving. This club will still be a great option for players looking to control ball flight and maintain accuracy. The topline of the J36 blade is still very thin and frame the ball very will for better players thanks to minimal offset. The thin sole has a slightly blunted leading edge to prevent digging accommodating players who like to hit down on the ball. With a center of gravity located more towards the center of the face, golfers will find a more playable J36 Blade that still provides them all the control they need.

J36 Cavity

A silver medal winner in Golf Digest’s 2008 Hot List, the J36 Cavity has recieved some updating. It also has the same trailing edge relief and tapered sole design as the rest of the line. With a slightly wider sole and slightly thicker topline than the blade, it is more forgiving, flies higher, but still provides control for better players and allows the golfer to work the ball in either direction.

 J36 Pocket Cavity

The new addition to the J36 line is the Pocket Cavity, so called because of the cavity cut into the back of the club. The cavity moves the center of gravity lower and deeper than any of the other clubs in the line. While this provides the most forgiveness of the entire lineup, it still retains the looks even the most ardent traditionalists will like. Even in the longest irons, the cavity is not visible from address and provides quite a bit of forgiveness while still retaining the feel people have come to trust in other one piece forgings.


The Pocket Cavity is the highest launching club in the line. Although it has a slightly thicker topline than its brothers, it still flows well for those who might be interested in including it as part of a combo set.

J36 Hybrids

The J36 Hybrid is an extension of last year’s Gravity Chamber hybrid. The J36 shares the same channel in the sole which increases MOI by moving weight to the perimiter. However, it improves upon the previous version with an updated CAD designed sole, a completely neutral weighting and face angle. The hybrid’s deep face and short length make it very playable off the tee and rough as well as from the fairway. The hybrid comes standard with the eighty gram Aldila VS Proto shaft standard. The top line of the club has been fully painted, a look most better players prefer.

West Coast Liquid Copper Wedges

The Satin West Coast Wedges were a big hit for Bridgestone, and the newly updated version capitalizes on the basic design but adds a fully milled face and a raw oil can finish. The milled face allows for a perfectly flat hitting surface for accuracy and the addition of milling marks allows for increased spin on short shots.

Variable Bounce Technology is used on the sole to allow the club the play with full bounce when square and less when the blade is opened or closed. The wedge also has the same long hosel as previous versions giving the club a high center of gravity to help control ball flight height on full swings.

 

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4 Comments

4 Comments

  1. PWW

    Apr 18, 2009 at 11:28 am

    My son is a junior golfer and recently selected the J36 Blades over the Titleist ZM1’s. He was impressed with the ability to work the ball better and felt that he ended up having more confidence. Terrific feel also.

  2. Brent Gerreyn

    Oct 5, 2008 at 3:47 pm

    The new J36 pocket cavity irons are fantastic!
    Its like hitting a ball of butter and I think I will be aiming toward getting a set of these in my bag.
    They feel tough and solid at address, while at impact the feel is a sence of pure balance.
    Congratulations to Bridgestone on releasing a club that is a pleasure to use.

  3. Atlas0_6

    Dec 29, 2007 at 12:44 am

    I am glad that Bridgestone is making a niche style push in the U.S. market. There are a great many choices for game improvement irons and only a handful of the more accomplished player equipment manufactors. I like the look of the new wedges as well as the Blade and pocket cavity designs.

    I guess finally we will see some of the more innovative and creative items coming from Asia to the U.S.

    Bravo Brigdestone.

  4. Rich Hetzel

    Dec 26, 2007 at 9:11 pm

    I think Bridgestone should make a major push into the US market. I was at Golf Galaxy to today and all they had 1 one set of J33cb irons. The new hybrid and wedges are really sparking my interest. Great review Kiran, and thanks to Bridgestone!

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Honma T World 747 Rose Proto MB irons are coming to retail

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When Justin Rose signed with Honma in at the beginning of January, speculation ensued as to which irons the Englishman would play. Quickly, we learned Rose would game T World 747 Rose Proto MB irons — and he took to the clubs quickly, winning the Famers Insurance Open later that month.

So, clearly, the S20C mild steel irons work for Rose, as they’ve been in his bag since that point, but will they work for the general consumer? Up until this point, we’ve been unable to answer that question, as the irons were tour only. With today’s news, however, we now know Rose Proto irons are coming to retail.

According to the company, the irons, which are forged at Honma HQ in Sakata, Japan, are the result of several months of testing and modification in conjunction with Rose.

The world No. 2 had this say: “The idea of having a hand in the collaborative design process for my set of clubs was extremely exciting. Working with the Honma master craftsmen to create an iron that felt and looked great for me was one of the biggest thrills of my career.”

The irons feature varying CG throughout the set to achieve Rose’s preferred trajectories and a combination satin front and mirror back finish, as well as blended muscleback design.

Full specs below.

Rose Proto MB irons will sell for $175 USD per club and will come in a 4-10 iron set configuration. The company will also offer a 3-iron separately.

 

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Spotted: Dustin Johnson with new Fujikura Ventus prototype at the Masters, RBC Heritage

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Beyond the obvious big news of some guy named Mr. Woods winning his fifth green jacket this past weekend, there were some pretty interesting developments with another player that runs on a first name basis or at least initials: DJ switched drivers MID tournament and had a new Fujikura Ventus prototype shaft to go along with his new TaylorMade M6 as he took on Augusta National Saturday and Sunday.

We don’t have all the details yet, but from what we have heard so far this new Prototype Black Ventus is an even lower launching version of the blue Ventus currently available. If history is correct, and we are looking at a line extension, then the colors tell a lot of the story. The Atmos line features both a blue and black version with a final higher-launching red version to round out the series in what Fuji calls their color-coded launch system to make fitting and product recognition just that much easier.

Photos of the “black” prototype via Fujikura.

It’s not unusual for shaft companies like Fujikura to bring out prototype profiles utilizing technologies from their newest lines to try and get them into the bags of more players. Fuji’s newest technology is VeloCore, and we have already seen it adopted at a high rate. Here is some more info from Fujikura to explain the technology

“VeloCore is a multi-material core comprised of ultra-high modulus Pitch 70 Ton Carbon Fiber (about 150% stronger and more stable than T1100g) and 40 Ton bias layers that are the full length of the shaft for incredible stability. VeloCore Technology promotes consistent center-face impact and provides ultimate stability, tightening dispersion and increasing control. The result is a shaft that maximizes the MOI (moment of inertia) and ball speed of your clubhead through the reduction of twist during the swing and at impact, especially on off-center hits.”

This makes sense, considering any contact made beyond an absolutely perfect (almost impossible from a physics standpoint) strike in line with the COG of a driver head traveling at 120 mph will result in twisting at impact — MOI is maximized in driver heads to increase stability along with spin with Ventus and VelocCore, Fujikura thanks to their Enzo system, is better understanding how that relationship works with the shaft to produce new and better products.

Anyway, since we know DJ deviated from his traditional Fujikura Speeder Evolution II Tour Spec driver shaft for his weekend rounds this past weekend, we can expect to see it again this week at the RBC Heritage this week at Hilton Head, and we’ll have our eyes peeled to see where else this shaft pops up on tour.

Johnson teeing off during Wednesday’s RBC Heritage Pro-Am.

 

 

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WRX Spotlight: Bridgestone e12 Speed and e12 Soft golf balls

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Product: Bridgestone e12 Speed and e12 Soft golf balls

The Pitch

Per Bridgestone: “Speed: 3-piece surlyn golf ball that delivers sidespin reducing performance, with explosive distance off the tee with a solid feel. 105 MPH and up swing speeds. Soft: 3-piece surlyn golf ball that delivers sidespin reducing performance, with added distance off the tee with a softer feel. 105MPH and lower swing speeds.”

Who is it for?

The pitch seems simple enough…. Bridgestone, who has emerged as a competitor year in and year out in the golf ball market, gives us the “e class” product that will suit the golfers from 10-handicap and up.

What’s in it?

The key words here are Active Acceleration Mantle…both the Soft and the Speed have it, but AAM will deliver in different ways on each. In the Speed ball, the AAM allows Bridgestone to firm up the core giving your higher speed player optimal launch conditions, tight dispersions, and enough feel around the greens to satisfy.

For the Soft ball, the AAM allows Bridgestone to soften the core up a bit giving your lower speed players a helping hand off the driver and ultimate touch around the greens where that player profile needs it the most.

Director of Content Johnny Wunder on the Bridgestone e12 Speed and Soft

As a player who has been in the same ball for almost 20 years (Pro V1X), my open-mindedness to trying something outside of that category has been nil. But after having a great convo with Elliot Mellow (Bridgestone Golf Ball Sales Manger), I became curious about their take on a ball for players like my buddy Dave (high speed/high handicap) or even my father (low spin/low speed/mid handicap).

Bridgestone e12 Soft

My big take away is…this is a FUN golfball. Fun in the fact that both models do and feel as they are advertised. The Soft is spinny off the driver and forgiving around the greens. How that translates to your higher handicapper is around the greens when you don’t clip it just right off of a wedge, the ball doesn’t take off on you. The first hop is straight up not straight forward. You can see where I’m going there. Off the big stick, it translates into being able to carry a hazard, bunker, etc without sacrificing control due to lack of spin. Your distance gains come from elevation and height, not necessarily raw yardage distance.

The Speed is well…fast. It’s hot, holds its line in the wind and rolls out when it hits the ground. Around the greens, it’s serviceable for a higher handicap. It’s not a players ball around the greens, in my opinion. The feel off the face doesn’t match up. However, I’m guessing if you took blind feel out of it and put all these on a Trackman, the Speed ball would still hold water around the greens.

Bridgestone e12 Speed

At $29.99/dozen, if you like experimenting with a new nugget here and there, try this one. It’s fun and the company fulfills the promises made on the box. Can you really ask for much more?

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