Bridgestone Tour BAugust 21, 2017

Bridgestone Tour B line of balls retooled, renamed, reenergized—but keeps four options available

Tour B will replace B330 line of balls with new performance characteristics in cover, mantle, dimple pattern

Bridgestone’s new Tour B line of premium, multilayer urethane covered balls—like its previous B330 line—again will offer four options, more than any other major brand.

The Tour B line will feature the Tour B X, the Tour B XS, the Tour B RX and the Tour B RXS. The logic behind these designs, says Adam Rehberg, director of Bridgestone’s ball fitting, is a result of the company’s research into average golfers that included more than three million in-person and online ball fittings.

Rehberg says those findings reveal that there are two primary groups of golfers who play these elite construction golf balls. The low handicap players fit into the X and XS balls, while mid-handicap players fit into the RX and RXS versions.

“The X and XS players hit the ball on the face solidly control their trajectory, they control their spin,” Rehberg said. “These are balls that offer a little larger standard deviation of conditions that can be applied on the golf ball so they work well for a better golfer. The RX and RXS are going to have a little bit more accuracy because the core is a little bit softer and works a little bit better with that swing speed that goes down a little bit.”

The four balls each represent substantive changes from the B330 entries they replace. First, the Tour B X and Tour B XS continue Bridgestone’s proven 330-dimple pattern, but a change in the manufacturing process refined the company’s dual dimple so that it is present in all 330 dimples. In the dual dimple design, the outer edge improves initial launch and speed while the inner shaping promotes a shallower landing angle for more roll on tee shots. This overall increase in dual dimple technology is designed to enhance aerodynamics for greater distance, says Bridgestone’s Elliot Mellow.

According to Mellow, the X and XS focus on control. “The Tour B X and XS both have more control around the greens than the ball they’re replacing,” he said. “The X is designed for the low handicap player looking for feel and accuracy, the XS is designed for that low handicap player looking for feel and distance.”

The Tour B RX and RXS balls are for some low and most mid-handicap players playing premium balls, but this group of players is primarily focused on “being closer to the hole, having less club on the approach shot,” Mellow said. The Tour B RX and RXS balls feature a new chemical formulation in the mantle layer and firmer cover that is resulting in greater repulsion and lower spin. The upshot, Mellow said, is greater distance not just with the driver but into the long irons, as well.

The Tour B RX and RXS balls break from the other two balls through a 338-dimple pattern. The dual dimple design’s curves were softened to produce a more penetrating flight for improved distance.

The Tour B balls represent a subtle departure from the company’s strategy of marketing their premium balls based on swing speed. The simple answer, Mellow says, is “Most golfers know what they shoot, but most golfers don’t know their clubhead speed.”

For comparison on shorter greenside shots, Mellow said the XS will likely have the highest spin rate, while the X and RXS will be similar and the RX will be the lowest of the four.

All the balls in the series will feature versions of Bridgestone’s gradational core design that gets firmer as it moves to out toward the cover to produce better energy transfer and less spin. As well, each will feature a cover coating (SlipRes) designed to increase friction for additional control on iron and wedge shots.

Bridgestone staff players Matt Kuchar, Bryson DeChambeau and Hudson Swafford already have put prototype versions of the new Tour B balls in play on the PGA Tour, starting the week of the WGC-Bridgestone earlier this month.

The Tour B series of balls will be available at retail Oct. 2 ($45 per dozen).