One-size-fits-all has never been part of Bridgestone’s approach to creating any of its golf balls.
Take the latest edition of the tour caliber Tour B Series, for example. While most major golf ball manufacturers have one, maybe two, sometimes three flagship premium golf balls, Bridgestone offers a quartet: the Tour B X, XS, RX, and the RXS which includes a special edition version that mimics the exact ball Tiger uses. (They’re all number 1s and have a TIGER side stamp.)
What’s the reason behind having four different models? It’s simple. Bridgestone has a massive amount of consumer data that warrants the need for four separate golf balls, which according to the company, is the exact number of balls necessary to cover the full spectrum of player types who want a premium ball. In case you’re wondering, the company has been at fitting for more than 15 years now and has accumulated data from more than 3 million swings.
And while it’s the differences that make each of the four balls special, let’s look at the similarities that bind them together as a family.
First, all Tour B Series golf balls come with Bridgestone’s newly reformulated REACTIV IQ urethane cover material that’s designed for added velocity off the tee with a driver and added stickiness when hitting short iron and wedge shots. Bridgestone does this by employing what it calls “impact modifiers” to the urethane cover. The first modifier is to increase ball speed with a driver, and the second modifier is to increase the time the ball spends on the face when hitting a shorter iron/wedge.
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Each model also comes with a seamless 330-dimple cover that has Dual Dimple tech for improved wind control and reduced drag. Lastly, inside all B Series balls is a Gradation Core for faster speed and reduced spin off the driver.
Here’s where things get interesting. To cover the full spectrum of player types wanting a premium ball, each ball in the Tour B line placates a specific player demand. The first is the three-piece Tour B X, designed for players with swing speeds at 105-plus MPH who want maximum distance off the tee as his/her primary motivator. This means the ball spins less off the tee with a flatter launch. But since this remains a tour-caliber ball, it still satisfies the control demands that picky golfers have around the greens, too.
The next ball is the three-piece Tour B XS, which is also a ball suited for golfers with 105-plus MPH swing speeds. The difference here is this is the ball for players who place a greater premium on spin and distance control around the greens. It’s still long and still designed for a flatter launch with the driver, but it’s specially formulated to spin more and stick longer on the face for more bite and a softer feel with shorter clubs. As mentioned already, this is the ball that comes in a special Tiger Woods edition, which isn’t just a ball that looks like one he plays. The GOAT actually collaborated to make the RXS what it is from the inside out.
Third in line is the three-piece Tour B RX, and this is where Bridgestone really taps into that full spectrum of player types because this is a tour caliber distance golf ball for golfers with average swing speeds. The B RX is specially formulated to help golfers with sub 105 MPH swings tack on extra yards off the tee while still hanging onto the kind of softer feel and short shot performance one would expect from a premium golf ball.
By now you can probably tell where we’re going with the last ball, the three-piece Tour B RXS. It too is a golf ball designed for players with less than 105 MPH swing speeds, only instead of being formulated for added distance, is a high spinning ball for added control.
We’ve tried all four golf balls ourselves and while the skeptic may think all four will play somewhat the same, we found each ball to represent true-to-the-label differences in how they feel and perform. In fact, these latest iterations (the 2022 models) are even more distinctive from one to the other than were previous generations of the same balls. For our fast swingers, the Tour B X delivered massive hits off the tee and the Tour B XS made it a breeze to hit high-spinning short shots.
For our average swing speeds, the RX and RXS performed equally well, and we found surprising distance in both balls (even though the RXS spun more on short shots.) Finally, we’ve found that all four balls have added durability and improved feel off the driver, when compared to previous iterations.
Does the Tour B Series line mean every player ought to use a tour-caliber ball? Not necessarily. But if you do want to give a premium, urethane-covered ball a shot, it’s all but assured one of these four balls will fit your game.
The importance of ball fitting
We regularly stress the importance of golf ball fitting. Choosing a ball based on your swing parameters is important and dialing in the right ball can make a huge difference in how well the ball performs off the clubface.
Along with our staunch ball-fitting advocacy, we have to hand it to Bridgestone. The company has been touting the importance of golf ball fitting for more than 15 years now, helping golfers around the world find the right golf ball.
The company’s online fitting tool (that employs data from well over 320,000 launch monitor fittings) is simple and intuitive, and we especially like the two-pronged approach: you can either dial in your optimal ball recommendation based on your shot tendencies, scoring averages and your wants in terms of spin and distance with every club; or, you can base your fitting on specific launch conditions and enter things like your exact swing speed, launch angle and spin rates. There’s also Bridgestone’s VFIT, which enables golfers the option to upload a video of their swing (in slo-mo) that is then analyzed for a custom ball recommendation.
And that’s just the stuff online. The live-fitting experience from Bridgestone is top-notch too, with numerous live ball fitting events at various locations in the country. There’s even an autonomous robot called OTTO that has a built-in launch monitor that will watch you hit balls and audibly make recommendations based on your shot data.
Learn more online at bridgestonegolf.com