After a three-year absence Dan Murphy is back at Bridgestone Golf taking over as president and CEO and he needs to not only bring Bridgestone back from its slide in ball sales but also effectively market the new TOUR B JGR line of clubs. Before leaving in 2015 Murphy helped create the plan promoting ball-fitting for recreational golfers that produced a 250% increase in sales. This gave Bridgestone an almost 20% market share and a comfortable number two spot behind Acushnet.
Since then Bridgestone’s ball sales have dropped to fourth place while Callaway Golf through the third quarter of 2018 has captured second with a strong 16.5% share thanks in large part to the popularity of the Chrome Soft model. It seems Bridgestone’s only bright spot was the signing of Tiger Woods in December 2016 to an endorsement contract. Properly used this may give Murphy and his team the recognition with golfers to get ball sales trending upward. Though Bridgestone is primarily a ball company their club offerings have also lacked competitive performance ever since the J15 irons were introduced almost four years ago.
“Our JGR lines have built up a loyal following since the original launch in 2015. The new TOUR B JGR builds on that success by providing golfers with the combination of style and forgiveness.” says Zack Kupperbusch, Golf Club Marketing. “While our brand is commonly associated with the best golf balls in the world, JGR is an excellent example of how we’re bringing innovation to all corners of the industry.”
Already some good results have been seen on the PGA Tour with the new line. Staffer Brandt Snedeker won the Wyndham Championship last August and Matt Kuchar triumphed at the Mayakoba Golf Classic in November with the new TOUR B JGR driver.
BRAND & MODEL: Bridgestone TOUR B JGR Driver KEY FEATURES: Power Mill Face and draw biased. Power Rib Sole helps ball speed. Crown is Bridgestone’s Boost Wave design. Choice of three lofts: 9.5°, 10.5° and 11.5° NEED TO KNOW: Designed for mid to high handicappers TOUR B JGR drivers have Bridgestone’s Power Mill Face for more stability to the ball at impact and lower spin to get more distance. They also use the Boost Wave Crown design with internal and external channels that allow flexing at impact and in the driver when coupled with the Power Rib Sole ball velocity increases. Draw biased with 8g external weight and 25g internal weight to promote right to left ball flight. RETAIL COST & AVAILABILITY: $400 with UST Mamiya Recoil 460 ES shaft at BridgestoneGolf.com
BRAND & MODEL: Bridgestone TOUR B JGR Fairway Woods KEY FEATURES: Boost Wave crown, Power Mill Face, variable thickness face, two lofts available: 15° 3-wood, 18° 5-wood NEED TO KNOW: Variable thickness face to retain more distance when impact is off-center. Crown has Power Slit towards face and Wave Power Slit towards rear to allow more flexing at impact for better launch. RETAIL COST & AVAILABILITY: $230 with UST Mamiya Recoil 460 ES FWY at BridgestoneGolf.com
BRAND & MODEL: Bridgestone TOUR B JGR Hybrids KEY FEATURES: Boost Wave crown, Power Mill Face, variable thickness face, three lofts available: H3 19°, H4 22°, H5 25° NEED TO KNOW: Similar design as fairway woods with Boost Wave Crown and Power Mill pattern across face to reduce ball curvature and produce higher launch RETAIL COST & AVAILABILITY: $220 with KBS Graphite Hybrid shaft at BridgestoneGolf.com
BRAND & MODEL: Bridgestone TOUR B JGR HF1 Irons KEY FEATURES: Forged heads with Power Slit Face design and variable thickness face NEED TO KNOW: For higher handicap players with thick, hollow cavity design for distance with easy launch. Extremely low COG forged head. Variable face thickness for responsive feedback. RETAIL COST & AVAILABILITY: $850 for 6-iron through pitching wedge with UST Mamiya Recoil Shaft available in 2019. 5-iron and attack wedge sold singly at BridgestoneGolf.com
BRAND & MODEL: Bridgestone TOUR B JGR HF2 Irons KEY FEATURES: Forged cavity back design with variable face thickness, Power Slit Face NEED TO KNOW: The game-improvement category HF2s have a forged head with a cavity back and are targeted for mid-handicappers. The thin face flexes at impact and a Power Slit at the bottom to add to distance. The face is backed by a rubber polymer insert which absorbs vibration and improves feel. RETAIL COST & AVAILABILITY: 5-iron through attack wedge $900 with True Temper XP 95 shaft, at BridgestoneGolf.com. 4-iron sold singly.