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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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Whats in the Bag

Peter Malnati WITB 2021 (May)

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Driver: Titleist TSi3 (9 degrees) (A1 hosel setting, SureFit weight H2)
Shaft: Fujikura Ventus Blue 6 X

3-wood: Titleist TSi3 (15 degrees)
Shaft: Graphite Design Tour AD IZ 7 X

Hybrid: Titleist 818 H2 (19 degrees)
Shaft: Graphite Design Tour AD DI 85 X

Utility: Titleist U500 (4, 23 degrees)
Shaft: True Temper AMT X100

Irons: Titleist T100 (5-9)
Shafts: True Temper AMT X100

Wedges: Titleist Vokey SM8 (45-10F, 52-12F, 56-12D, 62-08M)
Shafts: True Temper Tour AMT (45, 52), True Temper Tour Issue S400 (56, 62)

Putter: Scotty Cameron Studio Select Fastback 1.5

Ball: Titleist Pro V1x

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Whats in the Bag

Phil Mickelson WITB 2021 (May – Wells Fargo Championship)

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Driver: Callaway Mavrik Sub Zero (8 degrees)
Shaft: Fujikura Ventus Black 6 X (@47.5 inches)

2-wood: TaylorMade “Original One” Mini Driver
Shaft: Fujikura Ventus Black 7 X

4-wood: Callaway Mavrik Sub Zero (16.5 degrees)
Shaft: Fujikura Ventus Blue 8 X

Irons: Callaway X-Forged UT (16), Callaway X21 UT Proto (19 degrees @20.5, 25), Callaway Apex MB ‘21 (small groove) (6-PW)
Shafts: (16) MCA MMT 105 TX (4-PW) KBS Tour V 125 S+

**(Callaway X-Forged 16 degree driving iron also in the bag and could be rotated in)**

Wedges: Callaway PM Grind ’19 “Raw” ([email protected], [email protected], 60-12)
Shafts: KBS Tour-V 125 S+

Putter: Odyssey Milled Blade “Phil Mickelson”
Grip: SuperStroke Pistol GT Tour

Ball: Callaway Chrome Soft X w/Triple Track

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Equipment

A closer look at Bryson DeChambeau’s low-lofted fairway wood

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Editor’s note: We filed this piece for PGATour.com’s Equipment Report

This week’s Wells Fargo Championship is Bryson DeChambeau’s first start since the Masters. DeChambeau, who’s won twice this season, is always experimenting, so it should be no surprise that he was seen on the range this week with a unique club built specifically to handle the tremendous swing speed he creates.

The new club is a custom Cobra RadSpeed Big Tour Proto B fairway wood. The ‘B’ stands for Bryson. It only has 10.5 degrees of loft – the same amount as some players’ drivers — with a fixed long hosel. The standard RadSpeed features an adjustable hosel to change the lie and loft.

The original Cobra Baffler was built in the 1980s as one of golf’s first utility clubs. The rails were designed to help the head glide through the turf.

On Dechambeau’s club, the signature Cobra Baffler railed sole has been modified to have the rails towards the front of the head, closer to the face. The club also has an adjustable weight in the sole.

“We started with a custom head and I added small rails via welding after the fact,” said Cobra tour manager Ben Schomin. “(The club) worked OK before rails and much better after thanks to improved strike consistency with the rails.”

Read the full piece at PGATour.com.

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