Bridgestone Golf’s 2014 B330 line of balls reportedly fly farther, with a little help from this incredible liquid.
If you’ve followed my journey through the maze that is the golf industry and its various technology claims, you already know that I am, generally speaking, a fan of Bridgestone Golf.
Followers of LinkedGolfers on LinkedIn will likely recall the lengthy exchange that followed a sort of confession that I had scrapped a new adjustable driver from another company that was all glam and glitter in favor of a relatively bland and undoubtedly aged Bridgestone Golf J33 I purchased at a garage sale (chipped paint and all). For me, the choice was easy. That old J33 (and early Fujikura 757 Speeder shaft) dominated. The next year I moved “forward” to the two-year-old Bridgestone J40 and managed to squeeze out more distance and accuracy.
All that is a roundabout way of saying two things: 1) Newest isn’t necessarily best and 2) in Bridgestone’s case, the J40 was the newest of the company’s drivers and for my game, its compact head produced the best results even when compared to just-released clubs with more splash. One of the traits I especially like about Bridgestone Golf, is they don’t release new equipment just to stand up against competitors’ serial releases. They build a solid product and stand by it until R&D scientists make a substantial new find.
A Rolling Bridgestone Gathers No Moss
What does this have to do with Bridgestone’s balls? Well, my ball of choice has been the company’s 330RX for years, too. So late last year, when I caught wind that Bridgestone Golf would unveil an update to its 330 family at the 2014 PGA Show, I expected upcoming news of real significance. Perhaps a Cryptonite core. Auto-extending airfoil wings. The stuff Bond, James Bond, would tee up.
Waiting was a drag, but in January, up the stairs toward the back of a bustling Bridgestone Golf conference palace, I met with executives who finally revealed the new formula. While the science is beyond me–and beyond the scope of this space–the essence of their reported discovery is astonishingly simple. Bridgestone Golf’s new secret to better golf ball feel and performance is…
I’m not ready for the reveal, so stay with me a touch longer. A lot of elements in a ball’s construction contribute to performance. The natural chemical properties of those elements (hardness, springiness) and where they are deployed for action (as in which layer) are two of the most well-known factors on a lengthy list of variables central to ball development. Of course, most golf ball manufacturers’ R&D divisions are looking for new ways to improve performance or otherwise stand out from the crowd (while some just pay more tour players), so along with “what” and “where,” when a particular substance is introduced to a ball or altered during its creation also gets considerable attention.
An enormous amount of time and money has been spent on research into the affects on ball performance of various additives introduced during various phases relevant to the formulation of rubber compounds. The composition of these additives and other materials are often highly complex, patented, and well-protected secrets.
While researching its own formulas, Bridgestone Golf stumbled on a substance that, when introduced during the formulation of B330 rubber compounds–the “curing” process–led to an extremely consistent gradation from the ball’s soft interior to the harder layers just underneath the cover. The resulting performance, as the company claims to have verified through a variety of human, digital, and robotic testing, is a ball that has ideal spin characteristics for producing extra distance–especially for golfers with swing speeds of 105mph or less. (That’s most of us.)
The magic material?
Yep, H2O. Upon learning this, I too initially felt enormous disappointment. Soon after, though, any disappointment turned to renewed excitement. If true, Bridgestone Golf’s “Hydro Core Technology” reminds us of a basic rule of life–and golf–that sometimes the best solutions are the simplest. It’s also perhaps the only known scenario in which “golf ball” and “water” are combined with potentially positive results.
We look forward to hearing more about the new B330 series, watching the reaction of other ball makers, and learning over time whether this technique is the real deal for golfers seeking distance or simply all wet.