The Loop

Bridgestone launches the J715, its first new driver in four years

Unlike most companies, Bridgestone does not regularly introduce clubs in the United States, which makes the debut of its J715 driver -- its first new offering in four years -- noteworthy.

The club, played in a prototype stage by Matt Kuchar last fall starting at The McGladrey Classic, will be available Feb. 1 and comes in four lofts (8.5, 9.5, 10.5 and 12 degrees). It will sell for $399.

The team at Bridgestone says there are four key pieces of technology that make this driver effective.

The first is the crown. Bridgestone named the science behind its crown F.A.S.T. -- Flex Action Speed Technology. The crown is thickest at the back of the clubhead and thinnest by the clubface. The goal behind this design is to allow the crown to flex at impact and help launch the ball higher. There are also ridges in the crown near the face of the club, to help with the accordion-effect.

Secondly, the club features a milled face. This design element gives the ball something to hold onto at impact. Bridgestone's team believes increasing the amount of time the ball spends on the face allows for better compression. After doing some robot testing, R&D officials also found that the ball launched off the milled face reduces spin between 200 and 300 rpms.

The third piece of technology is the weights. There are movable weights in both the center of the clubhead as well as the heel. The weights vary between two and 12 grams. The more weight there is in the heel, the higher the ball will launch. Weight in the center of the club decreases spin.

Finally, there's the face and lie angle adjustment system. You can change the angle of the face closed or open one degree. The lie angle can be changed from standard to 1 degree upright, and then another notch up to 2 degrees upright.

As good as a driver can sound on paper -- or a blog -- everyone knows there's no way to know if you're going to like it unless you hit it. To help you out with the demo process, Bridgestone has started the Bridgestone Golf Test Drive program. Log in to to register to test clubs and demos of those clubs will be sent to you.