Why are Bridgestone's Golf Clubs not more popular?

BKKALLDAYBKKALLDAY BKKALLDAYMembers  100WRX Points: 36Posts: 100 Fairways
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I've always loved the look of Bridgestone's golf clubs, specifically their irons and wedges and they have always performed incredibly well. As a matter of fact, I just bought a set of the J36 Cavity backs because my iron game was significantly better years ago when I gamed a set and I haven't been the same since. I find myself wondering, why do you think their clubs aren't nearly as successful as their golf balls?

I like to think it's because their designs have always been geared toward the better players and they never marketed much outside of throwing their clubs in the bags of guys like Kuch and Freddie Couples.

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  • titleist26titleist26 Members  331WRX Points: 79Posts: 331 Greens
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    If they werent called "bridgestone" I think they would get more interest because branding plays a big part in the allure of golf clubs. Being virtually non existent in golf shops doesnt help either. Ive owned quite a few bridgestone clubs over the years and its certainly quality stuff

  • Christen_The_SloopChristen_The_Sloop Members  1433WRX Points: 342Posts: 1,433 Platinum Tees
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    I remember back when I was playing college golf 15 years ago I saw my first Bridgestone club - A J's forged cavity back. I heard of the driver back when Jumbo gave them out to Nicklaus and Floyd too. And I didn't see another Bridgestone club until I got to Japan. They are bigger over here for sure. There just aren't a lot of options in the west, I guess.

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  • dmbrill719dmbrill719 North CarolinaMembers  329WRX Points: 74Posts: 329 Greens
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    Has their marketshare declined (either Bridgestone and/or Tourstage) in Japan? I'm not very familiar with the who actually has what market share in Japan, but my overall feeling is they're not nearly as visible as they were 10 years ago.

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  • mljones99mljones99 Members  1900WRX Points: 127Posts: 1,900 Platinum Tees
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    limited distribution doesn't help

  • WristySwingWristySwing Members  883WRX Points: 504Posts: 883 Golden Tee
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    They have zero distribution channels and don't seem to really care about expanding it. They make all of their money in golf balls and tires, they aren't exactly hurting. The big box store I worked at a few years ago reached out to see if we could start carrying them again and the Canadian distributor declined. That was the story I was told. I now work at a smaller fitting studio and reached out on Instagram about carrying them or at least getting them on a trial basis, and never even so much as got a message inquiring about what I was interested in.



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  • CelebrosCelebros Vandalia, OHMembers  379WRX Points: 263Handicap: 0.1Posts: 379 Greens
    Joined:  edited May 21, 2020 12:55pm #8

    I've heard several people make comments along the lines that they aren't interested in clubs made by a "tire company".

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  • CAT GOLFERCAT GOLFER Members  1035WRX Points: 142Posts: 1,035 Platinum Tees
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    Exposure, marketing, and tour play might all contribute. I’ve played Bridgestone for the last 4-5 years and I have been the only person in my area that has, I have never seen them in anyone’s bag. A local, top 100 golf shop, carried them for about 1yr about five years ago then dropped them. I think if people could actually see the clubs and swing them they would do better.

  • wam78wam78 Members  758WRX Points: 242Handicap: NAPosts: 758 Golden Tee
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    I’m currently playing the tour b cb and they are incredible irons! As soft and solid as anything I’ve ever hit. The quality of their product is second to none. Their equipment release cycles are weird as well. The tour b irons were out in 16/17 I believe with no update of what is next and when.

    It’s a shame really that they don’t care about marketing their equipment. I’ve reached out to them multiple times as well to ask questions about equipment with no response. It’s all about the golf ball market share.

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  • dmeeksDCdmeeksDC ClubWRX  2985WRX Points: 480Handicap: 7.6Posts: 2,985 ClubWRX
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    Well, the clubs are fantastic, as good as their golf balls. I picked up a J40 DPC 6 iron a month ago as a test club and I am amazed at how good it is. No wonder Couples played it for so long. Sweet feeling irons, powerful flight. J38DPC, J40DPC, the CBs, the J15CB (I used to play that one) — very well-designed, many Tour wins. The J715 and JGR drivers are very underrated. Both have Tour wins. The Tour B X-CB released a few years ago is outstanding.

    They appear to care more about ball sales. Probably better profit margins. Maybe they take the view that sending clubs as inventory to a lot of golf stores does not pay off and will not be the main way clubs are sold in the future. Could be true already. Certainly the pandemic is driving more business to online only.

    They offer a direct to consumer demo program on their site and you can buy clubs directly from Bridgestone as well. But that only works for new models. For older ones, you can get them for affordable prices if you look around for well-kept sets — or beat-up sets. I look at beat-up Bridgestone irons as excellent candidates for refinishing because you can get them for very little. However, certain models in pristine condition will hold their value better than some might expect because better golfers know about Bridgestone. The J15CB is always sought after but so are the J40 CB and DPC, which are very similar to the J38 versions. I kind of like that I don’t see them in bags everywhere.

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    Cobra F9 Speedback, 14.5 degree, Fujikura Atmos Blue 7S
    Callaway Epic Flash, 17 degree, HzRDUS Smoke 70 stiff
    Callaway Rogue, 21 degree, Diamana BF 80 stiff
    TaylorMade GAPR Hi 24, KBS TGI 80 stiff

    Srixon z765 (5-7(, z965 (8-P) Fujikura 95i TS stiff
    Callaway MD4 50 S grind, 54 W grind
    Ben Hogan Ft. Worth TK 58
    Odyssey Stroke Lab V-Line putter w/Pure grip
  • rainkingjrrainkingjr Members  2770WRX Points: 239Posts: 2,770 Titanium Tees
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    Yet people love Srixon irons which are made by a company that makes tires.

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  • RogerinNewZealandRogerinNewZealand Maungakeikei Auckland New ZealandMembers  2855WRX Points: 286Posts: 2,855 Titanium Tees
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    The Prime Time for Bridgestone was J33.I had J33cb irons,J33 5,3 and Driver set.The driver was famous and the Cbs are classics. The J36 ok J38 better and J40 was where they Peaked again for a while.I had Tourstage MR23 non US,cool!!

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  • ChadwickogChadwickog Members  393WRX Points: 108Posts: 393 Greens
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    Most people have never heard of Sumitomo tires much less know that Srixon is owned by them... it's a lot easier to equate Bridgestone with Bridgestone and come to that generic conclusion..

  • QuigleyDUQuigleyDU Members, ClubWRX  10367WRX Points: 3,560Handicap: 8Posts: 10,367 ClubWRX
    Joined:  edited May 21, 2020 6:50pm #15

    I think it depends on who you ask. I see them as being very popular. I think the 2020 BX ball is amazing and will be my ball this year. I see a lot of the RX, RXS, and E12 balls being sold.

    Whats not to like? They are one of 4 companies the control their production from beginning to end. The other being Titleist, Srixon, and just recently Callaway. But I think callaway is only doing the Chrome softs completely in house..

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  • Mike_CMike_C Members  1593WRX Points: 204Posts: 1,593 Platinum Tees
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    Agreed, I played the J33 combos for several years, great irons. Also the J33 460 driver (still to my one of the best looking 460 heads) , J33 3 wood, J33 Hybrid, and the Airmuscle utility iron. I also had a Bridgestone 52 wedge. I played Bridgestone balls for over 10 years also.

    I think it could be one of those things where a Japanese company has people in charge of marketing who just don't get a foreign market. They seem to do marketing well with balls, but their equipment strategy seems to be abysmal.

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  • dmeeksDCdmeeksDC ClubWRX  2985WRX Points: 480Handicap: 7.6Posts: 2,985 ClubWRX
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    Agree with all of this especially the J40 line though I would say the newer stuff has not missed a beat. Irons are still as strong as ever and the drivers are better — more forgiving and long. The newest JGR driver gets no hype but has multiple wins on pro tours.

    Ping G30 SFT driver, 10 degree, Oban Kiyoshi HB 75 stiff
    Cobra F9 Speedback, 14.5 degree, Fujikura Atmos Blue 7S
    Callaway Epic Flash, 17 degree, HzRDUS Smoke 70 stiff
    Callaway Rogue, 21 degree, Diamana BF 80 stiff
    TaylorMade GAPR Hi 24, KBS TGI 80 stiff

    Srixon z765 (5-7(, z965 (8-P) Fujikura 95i TS stiff
    Callaway MD4 50 S grind, 54 W grind
    Ben Hogan Ft. Worth TK 58
    Odyssey Stroke Lab V-Line putter w/Pure grip
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  • ChipNRunChipNRun Members  2303WRX Points: 539Posts: 2,303 Platinum Tees
    Joined:  edited May 21, 2020 7:37pm #18

    The company has emphasized golf balls (and auto tires).

    A couple of problems I see:

    • Not that many off-course chain golf retailers offer them. Most of the shops I have seen with Bridgestone are independent shops, maybe three or stores in a region.
    • Less than aggressive marketing. In past they have been one of those company that will ship you some test clubs, but it's hard to realize this unless you go to their web site.

    A few years back I got a test kit of J40 Dual Pocket Cavity irons. It was a 5i and 9i shafted in the old DG R300 SL, and a second 5i and 9i shafted in NS Pro 950 R-flex. I got to try out the clubs, and really liked them, but decided to get my Callaway X20 Tours reshafted in the NS Pros.

    The nearest Bridgestone fitter was 25 miles away, and I had a tight schedule that spring and just didn't want the hassle.

    What's In The Bag *...

    Driver: Calla XR16 Pro 10.5° (set open) / Fuji Evolution II TS Speeder 665 R-flex 63 gr.
    FWs: Tour Edge XRail 4W + 7W / GraphiteDesign G60 R-flex 60 gr.
    or Calla Alpha 815, set 16° + 20° / Fuji Motore Speeder 665 R-flex 62 gr.
    Hybrid: Cobra FlyZ 3H 19° + 4H 22° / Matrix VLCT Altus Lite flex 73 gr.
    Irons: Tour Edge CB Pro Tungsten 4i - PW** / KBS Tour 90 R-flex 101 gr.
           4i refitted with SteelFiber 780 HLS Hybrid shaft R Flex 75 gr.
    Wedge: Calla MD3 48°/8.SS + 54°/12.WS + MD.PM 60°/10  | KBS Tour R-flex 110 gr.  | Note: MD4 58°/8.C-grind may replace MD/PM
    Putter: Ping Sigma G Tyne (face-balanced) / 34" w. Ping Pistol PP60 grip (stock)
    Bag: Sun Mountain Three 5 stand bag
    Ball: Calla SuperHot - orange
    * Either 7W or 3H left out, depending on course and season.
    ** Wedges: 46°and 48°are competing for bag space.
  • achappyachappy Bowie, MDMembers  1215WRX Points: 164Posts: 1,215 Platinum Tees
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    Some of my best golf was with Bridgestone J33s. The J33R is still my best driver. Nothing can touch it in terms of feel and raw distance when you hit it well. I'm actually still actually using a J33 3W and it's still a beast. Maybe not the longest but I have a bunch of confidence in it.

    I've always wondered if they would've been better off creating another brand specifically for golf to eliminate the "tire" company stigma.

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  • Stinger83Stinger83 Members  256WRX Points: 173Handicap: 2Posts: 256 Greens
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    1. People associate the brand with tires more than golf. So newbies don't want to play it
    2. Their clubs are usually very classic in design and usually only "purists" are attracted to them. But Mizuno and titleist will always be picked before them in the "classic" category
    3. They aren't easily found in standard golf stores
    4. not many big names playing them on tour. Kuchar yea - but he's not exactly an attention getter

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    Hybrid: PING g410 19* Tensei blue 85x

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    Wedges: PING glide forged 50/54/58 Project x lz 6.0

    Putter: Odyssey stroke lab

    Ball: PROV1

  • PingistheanserPingistheanser Columbus, OHMembers  341WRX Points: 223Handicap: 10Posts: 341 Greens
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    In a word: marketing. Bridgestone doesnt market their clubs and they arent really available in golf shops, so they dont sell. If you look at Bridgestone's marketing, its all about golf balls and nothing about clubs.

  • MyherobobhopeMyherobobhope hey there, blimpy boy. Flying through the sky so fancy free. Members  2975WRX Points: 708Handicap: 6Posts: 2,975 Titanium Tees
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    I was ready to build a complete Bridgestone bag when the j40s came out... Driver, woods, hybrids, irons, wedges... I liked them all and wanted new clubs... I spent 2 months chasing down a Bridgestone rep to actually DEMO the clubs, he didn't bring much and this was before my local store had a GOOD hitting bay... I didn't want stock clubs (I need at least 1/2 long)... ended up with just a hybrid. It was great while it had a spot in my bag... but it got replaced (though mostly because I played games with the shaft, and didn't like the new feel).

    They make some great irons, but so do alot of people... I don't know! I wish they were more readily available... might have to look at the driver again.


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  • WoodersonWooderson Members  2100WRX Points: 221Handicap: 13Posts: 2,100 Platinum Tees
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    I see it differently. I feel that they have geared their club aesthetics to the Asian market since the j40/j15 line. Not as appealing to me personally. The j40 dpc and cb irons may have been the best irons ever for all levels of golfers. Nothing that they make now compares. They drop an updated j40 dpc and they are in my bag immediately.

    The j33, j36, j40, and j15 are highly thought of. Everything else...eh.

    Let me tell you what Wooderson is packin'
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    Ping G410 LST 14.5° EF White 75s
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  • MuskieCyMuskieCy Center CutMembers  412WRX Points: 159Posts: 412 Greens
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    The J33 460 changed driver design. Instead of making the clubhead shell as stiff as possible while trampolining the face, the firmed the face and thinned the clubhead top section. That allowed face flex without violating testing criteria. Soon, that concept was in every driver made.

    That is today still an integral part of driver design. Paper thin top.

  • Hattie PantsHattie Pants Members  244WRX Points: 56Posts: 244 Fairways
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    Who goes to the golf course and says, man, I wanna play what Kuch and Snedeker play.

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  • Nixhex524Nixhex524 ClubWRX  4764WRX Points: 522Handicap: 3.4Posts: 4,764 ClubWRX
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    It must not be that important to them, to get their clubs in peoples hands. I almost feel like they are backing away from club manufacturing in a way. Would be a real shame, their irons are some of the softest feeling irons I have played yet. Loved the J38 DPC, had the J40 CB, and now gaming the J15 cb. I have not found an iron that can beat them. But, if they can survive on ball sales alone, that's pretty good.... I can see why, they make an excellent golf ball.

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  • kess13kess13 So I just put the ball in the hole... Members  1377WRX Points: 149Posts: 1,377 Platinum Tees
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    Used to play the j38cb for a while and loved them with my West Coast wedges. But moved on as we do. I just picked up a Tour B JGR head off the bay for nothing along with a XD3 head. Stuck a kuro kage in the JGR and it is the straightest driver I've ever played. Sold my EF with a smoke shaft because I hit the JGR better. I now have some hf2 irons on the way. Guess I'm a bstone fan.

    F6 baffler
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  • grm24grm24 Western PAMembers  4494WRX Points: 1,523Posts: 4,494 Titanium Tees
    Joined:  edited May 22, 2020 5:25am #28

    I hope none of those people play Srixon equipment as they will be in for a rude awakening. Bridgestone has a varied portfolio of businesses like SRI (Sumitomo). Many here and outside of WRX would be surprised that Ping is not just a golf club manufacturer.

    FTR Fortune Brands did okay with their product diversification while selling Titleist/Vokey/Cameron/Footjoy and Cobra product at one time while simultaneously selling well known alcohol, tobacco, insurance, office supplies and hardware products. Bridgestones marketing for golf gear outside of golf balls is awful in spite of making excellent clubs.

    Mitsubishi/Aldila shafts also do quite well as being part of a huge conglomerate known as Mitsubishi Chemical Holdings. As do other "golf" brands.

    Post edited by grm24 on
  • dmeeksDCdmeeksDC ClubWRX  2985WRX Points: 480Handicap: 7.6Posts: 2,985 ClubWRX
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    Would like to hear how you like the HF2s. If I were looking at clubs like Ping G410s, Titleist T200 or Mizuno Hot Metals, I’d definitely take a look at the HF2s. Only a few reviews out there on them but those are very positive.

    Ping G30 SFT driver, 10 degree, Oban Kiyoshi HB 75 stiff
    Cobra F9 Speedback, 14.5 degree, Fujikura Atmos Blue 7S
    Callaway Epic Flash, 17 degree, HzRDUS Smoke 70 stiff
    Callaway Rogue, 21 degree, Diamana BF 80 stiff
    TaylorMade GAPR Hi 24, KBS TGI 80 stiff

    Srixon z765 (5-7(, z965 (8-P) Fujikura 95i TS stiff
    Callaway MD4 50 S grind, 54 W grind
    Ben Hogan Ft. Worth TK 58
    Odyssey Stroke Lab V-Line putter w/Pure grip
  • kess13kess13 So I just put the ball in the hole... Members  1377WRX Points: 149Posts: 1,377 Platinum Tees
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    They come in Tuesday. I should play them next weekend. I'll chime back in and post some pics.

    F6 baffler
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    Classic #3
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  • tdelamtdelam Club Junkie Members  3573WRX Points: 166Handicap: 7.2Posts: 3,573 Titanium Tees
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    Marketing and distribution probably.

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