The new Bridgestone Tour B JGR line of woods and irons that a thin, flexible face is one key to distance, it’s making the areas surrounding the face flexible, too, that can take distance literally a notch higher.
The JGR line, first introduced in 2015, features driver, fairway wood, hybrid and two iron models. While selectively aimed at middle and high handicappers, the Tour B JGR driver already has been put in play by Bridgestone staff tour pros Matt Kuchar and Brandt Snedeker, the latter using it in his record-setting win at the Wyndham Championship in August that included an opening round 59.
Uniquely, both the metalwoods and irons utilize what the company calls a distance-enhancing notch-like feature called a “power slit,” part of Bridgestone’s past JGR and Tour B lines. Slightly different in design with the metalwoods and the irons, the slit is a thin area on the crown of the metalwoods and around the leading edge of the irons. That area is designed to give at impact, allowing the face to bend more to propel the ball farther.
On the Tour B JGR driver (9.5, 10.5, 11.5 degrees; fixed hosel), the “power slit” is a narrow channel in the front part of the crown. The rear portion of the crown is thinned out as well to complete what the company calls a “boost wave crown,” where the crown flexes during impact to provide more energy transfer to the ball.
That flexibility is made more effective with a rib structure that runs across the front of the sole with arms extending back toward the rear heel and toe.
“What we’re most excited about in the driver is the power rib sole,” said Bridgestone’s Zack Kupperbusch. “The power rib keeps the sole very stable and allows the crown to flex more, creating higher initial ball speeds and launch angles.”
The Tour B JGR driver also features the next installment of the milled face design seen in the original JGR driver. “The original JGR had a milling across the entire face to increase quality compression time to keep the ball on the face a little bit longer,” Kupperbusch said. “We’ve actually doubled the depth this year.”
The driver also is average golfer friendly with a built in draw bias that includes 25 grams of internal weighting in the heel and an additional external screw weight of 10 grams in the heel. That makes for more than one-sixth the weight of the head focused in the heel.
The Tour B JGR fairway woods (15, 18 degrees) and hybrids (19, 22, 25 degrees) feature the same thinned out “boost wave” crown feature designed to flex at impact. Contributing also to improved face flexibility on shots low on the face is a “power slit” internal channel in the front part of the sole.
That same idea of thinned out structures is seen in both of the new Tour B JGR irons, the HF1 and HF2. Both are forged entries (1030 carbon steel on the HF1 and 1025 carbon steel on the HF2). On each iron, the junction of the face and sole is thinner than the surrounding areas. Called the “power slit,” it’s designed to act as a hinge at impact for high launch and more initial ball speed.
The HF1 features longer shaft lengths, wider soles and stronger lofts. For example, the 7-iron loft is 26-degrees, or six degrees stronger than the company’s better-player focused Tour B X-CB forged irons. The HF2 irons, forged from 1025 carbon steel, features a two-piece construction where a polymer rubber fills the internal back cavity to dampen vibration and improve feel.
The driver will retail for $400 (with a UST Mamiya Recoil 460 ES stock shaft); fairway woods for $230 each and hybrids for $220 each. The five-club HF1 iron set (6-iron through pitching wedge, with 5-iron and A-wedge as options) will retail for $850, while the seven-club HF2 irons (5-iron through A-wedge with 4-iron available as an option) will retail for $900.
The new Tour B JGR line will be available in stores Oct. 12.