Bridgestone’s new Tour B line is the company’s latest collection of woods and irons focused on better players, and the company is taking the same approach with this line of clubs as it does with its high-end line of Tour B330 golf balls.
That thinking? Better players need more choices.
That’s why the new Tour B line will include three driver heads, each with an eight-way adjustable hosel and two movable weights. There’s also two styles of forged players irons in the line. The three distinctly shaped models in the driver line include the XD-3, XD-5 and XD-7, while the forged iron offerings feature the cavity back X-CB and the traditional muscleback X-Blade.
“We’ve learned a lot from our tour-level balls where we have four different balls for players to fit themselves to,” said Bridgestone’s Zack Kupperbusch. “While we might have a majority of players fit into the XD-5 driver, we’re not going to overlook players that are going to be more comfortable with the shape of XD-3 or XD-7. We’re reaching three very different players.”
The Tour B’s XD line of drivers will share several technology elements. The first is a variable thickness face design whose outer sections in the heel and toe get as thin as 1.9 millimeters. That flexibility is enhanced by a thinner section near the front of the crown. That section is deigned to give at impact while a slightly thicker, more firm rear section of the crown controls the face flexing to create more efficient ball repulsion.
All three drivers also utilize a face milling pattern. By milling thin lines in the face closer together at the bottom of the face and farther apart at the top of the face, Bridgestone engineers believe the ball is less likely to skid on the face. That more stable contact is designed to produce a more efficient energy transfer.
Finally, the three drivers feature two diagonal rib structures in the sole to add further stability and improve sound and feel.
The XD-5 will be the workhorse of the line. It features a 460 cubic centimeter head with a more flat shape, a deeper front to back measurement and a shallower face. It’s designed for higher launch with a natural slight draw bias. The XD-3 is slightly rounder shape with a deep face and a mid-launch, and the pear-shaped XD-7 shifts internal weighting toward the toe for a fade bias and a lower ballflight.
The two weight ports (one centered in the front of the sole and one further back and toward the heel) can accommodate 2-, 4-, 6-, 8-, 10- and 12-gram weights to create varying degrees of either a more forward, lower-spinning, fade-biased profile or a draw-biased, higher launching ballflight.
The Tour B XD-F fairway woods (15- and 18-degree lofts) and XD-H hybrids (18-, 21- and 24-degree lofts) each borrow the flexible crown, sole rib structure and milled face technologies from the XD drivers. Both feature high-strength HT1770 maraging steel face inserts.
Both of the two irons utilize a centralized weight pad behind the face to enhance feel and are forged from 1020 carbon steel. Geared to players who prefer to work the ball, the X-Blades feature minimal offset, a narrow sole and slightly weaker lofts (47-degree pitching wedge, 35-degree 7-iron). The cavity back X-CB irons offer more aggressive lofts (as much as three degrees stronger in the 6-, 7- and 8-irons) and a comparatively wider sole for a lower center of gravity and more forgiveness through the turf.
A similar version of the Tour B line of woods and irons debuted in Japan last fall, although the drivers did not feature adjustable hosels.
The Tour B woods and irons will be offered in limited quantities with only about 50 certified fitting hubs scattered across the U.S. The clubs will be available in mid-spring ($700 for the driver, $400 for the fairway wood, $250 for the hybrid and $1,200 for eight irons).