Their equipment is great. You just can't find them to try them. It's almost like they try to keep them away from people. Weird sales plan.
Yes completely agree. You can't hit them in big box stores here (canada) , they aren't stocked or promoted in any pro shops i know of nor do they have Demo Days at country clubs. They never have commercials for clubs.
Their strategy seems to mostly be to sell to people who know they exist and want to buy their clubs without ever trying them
This. I don't think I ever walked into a Golfsmith (in the past), Golf Galaxy, or PGA Tour Superstore and saw Bridgestone on the wall. If they aren't readily available to test, people aren't going to buy them.
True. In general, there's a much bigger profit margin in balls than clubs which is why they always put their club business on their back burner. I live in Surrey, BC myself and I've been playing this game for almost 20 years and never held let alone seen a Bridgestone club in person. That is how limited their distribution is.
It's completely marketing and dedication (or lack there of) to this market. In terms of irons, look at Srixon and Bridgestone, both have very similar clubs both in the forged blades and forged cavity backs, yet one (Srixon) has a far greater presence right now despite not being around for that long. The reason is that Srixon made the effort to market and get their clubs into the hands of those who would play them. I've been playing Bridgestone J15MBs for the last year or so, and they're amazing. Amazing feel, amazing performance, and a look that cannot be beat. I've played with so many people that look at them and say they had no idea Bridgestone made clubs, just balls. Yet Bridgestone seemingly refuses to do anything to push their product or even make it available. It's so odd to see a company making such high quality equipment, but almost be reluctant to sell it.
I've always wondered if they would've been better off creating another brand specifically for golf to eliminate the "tire" company stigma.
@achappy they have done previously with Precept and Tourstage and then have killed them both off to use just Bridgestone. Anyway it never hurt Dunlop, until they got turned into the bottom of the budget brands.
Go to most golf retail shops and you'll have your answer. No marketing leads to no demand which leads to shops not carrying your product. So they don't have any market share in clubs because they aren't trying to.
I don't know if that's true. Wilson, Tour Edge, Mizuno, and Honma all have limited marketing budgets but you will see them in pretty much every golf store you walk into. The big ones anyway. A lot of the times the companies pick who they match with. For instance, you can't just walk into any old pro shop and order a Taylormade driver. They have to have a Taylormade account. That is dictated by the powers at be at the OEMs and is often dictated by who the Head Pro is in bed with at that time. I tried to make a run of this at my own and the three brands who were 100% behind me were Callaway, Cobra, and PING. They were ready to go right off the bat, met with me, and sent out forms and wrote out terms almost immediately. Taylormade put me in touch with their local rep who never responded to a single email of mine and the Titleist distribution manager called me once and when I tried calling him back he said he was busy and would get back to me. I followed up with him 3x and he never called me back.
I don't know why a brand wouldn't want to be exposed as much as possible but I guess they have their own agendas. Cycling back to Bridgestone, you would think they would have wanted to get into Golf Town as I said before. 50+ stores across Canada. It truly is the "home" of golf for Canadians. Say what you will about big box service and knowledge, but they get a heck of a lot more foot traffic than any other golf retail location ever can. So to not want to be part of that and instead sell out of what, the guys garage or a select pro shop here and there seems asinine to me. Obviously not everyone is going to buy Bridgestone clubs but it is still money to them regardless if they at retail or not. The company has to buy them to put them on the shelves. Even if they sell 1% of the clubs that are tried, that's still 1% more x 50 stores that they never had before. That's an exponential revenue stream for the first year or so, and once word of mouth kicks in, maybe that moves to 2%, then 5%, etc. You'll never get to the Taylormade, Callaway, or PING levels, but if you can chip even a fraction of their sales that's a win. Take the Mizuno Hot Metal as an example. Most Mizuno cast irons broke even or lost money for the brand. The Hot Metal was the first iron to take marketshare away from Callaway, Taylormade, and PING, and now, the newer iteration 919 Hot Metal is at the forefront of everyone's must try list when someone asks what to try as a GI iron. Go back ten years and ask the same question and you'd be laughed off the board for suggesting a GI Mizuno.
Taylormade SIM 9* - HZRDUS Smoke Green 65 | Callaway Mavrik SZ 13.5* and 18* - Aldila Rogue White 130 MSI 75 | Ping G410 20.5* and 24.5* Hybrids - Project X Even Flow Black 85 | Mizuno MP-20 HMB 5-PW (2* weak) - KBS $-Taper 120 | Vokey SM8 Raw 54.12D & 60.06 Low Bounce K Raw - Project X LZ 6.5 | Bettinardi BB Zero Custom - Stability | Tour Velvet Midsize Cord | Srixon Z-Star Xv Yellow
Bridgestone made a lot of noise about expanding their club sales when the Tour B line came out a couple of years ago. They've made some great irons in the past and lots of members here have played them. Its always the same question, where can I look at them or demo them? So they never seemed to get any traction with the Tour B line and then they came up with some bizarre concept of selling their clubs as complete sets, driver through to wedges - a bad idea. Now the Tour B blade and CB irons are gone and all they have is the JGR HF1/2, neither one of which will appeal to the traditionalists who have played J15/33/40 etc.
At some point you just get frustrated and give up looking for their irons. A couple of years ago I sent them several emails to get info on the Tour B line, didn't even get a response.
One of my buddies works in the commercial tire business and gets a lot of Bridgestone stuff for free or heavily discounted. I've always liked how his clubs feel and look, but I never see their clubs, better yet, a demo in a store. That's probably the biggest problem.
They make great stuff, just a mystery how they can't get it out there.
Cobra Speedzone 9* - Matrix 7X3
Cobra SZ Big Tour 13.5*- Diamana D+ 72X
Cobra F6 Baffler 5W 16* - Diamana D+ 90X
Cobra F7 One Length 4 - Project X 7.0 Flighted
Cobra King Forged One Length 5-GW - Project X 7.0 Flighted
Cobra King One Length Wedge 56*, 60* - Project X 7.0 Flighted
Scotty Cameron Studio Select Newport
It's true. Also almost every decent size proshop has an account with Taylormade. Tour edge is not in most shops and if it is it's barely anything, Wilson has 4 drivers in a retail shop and that's about it, Honma has no shelf presence either(an i play honma), and Mizuno is a top seller in irons every year. So i'll leave you with 2 questions.
Companies invest in what makes them money and Bridgestone chooses the ball not clubs.
I bought a new Tour B driver, 3W and hybrids over the winter, for about $100/club (new), and they are excellent.
They seem to focus a lot more on the Japanese market, where all the Tour B clubs are still available, including Tour B irons..
I live by 2 major retailers/fitting centers that carry everything....except Bridgestone.
Agreed. Bridgestone is a bigger company than any of the major OEMs, so it’s not like they’re some boutique company struggling to find their way and get share. It’s intentional. They have the funding that if they really wanted to, they could outspend any OEM and have a stable of top tour players and major retail space in every store. However they choose not to. For them, the ball is their focus. They aren’t losing money on the clubs, so unless something changes internally, they see no point to allocate marketing budget to them.
How I got into bridgestone clubs was when I worked at a firestone service center. Bought my first set a couple years after.i left there. J36 pocket cavities. Played those until a couple of seasons ago. Played mp59s and 716 ap2s before going back to the j36s for a couple months before I found my current set. Tour b x-cb.
Loving them so far. A bit deader off the face compared to the pocket cavities. But the feel it something else. Also really enjoying the pre worn leading edge.
I agree with you, I said so in my original post on this. It seems like they don't want to expand. What I was saying is that I don't think the big shops deny companies access to them. They might draw the line at Pine Meadow for example, but New Level is in PGA Super Store and how big of a marketing budget do they have? They are solely Instagram. If you don't follow them you'd have no idea who they are. I know several large pro shops at prominent clubs that don't have a Taylormade account, and in the same vein, the ones that do, might not necessarily have a PING or Callaway account either.
Trust me, if Bridgestone wanted in the big box stores there would be zero pushback. Maybe it is different in Canada but Honma is in every Golf Town store with a full fitting bag. Same with Wilson. Tour Edge is a bit more limited but there are a couple of iron sets on the wall and a small rack of drivers and fairways and hybrids along with a dump truck of package sets. You also obviously don't work golf retail. Mizuno is far from a top iron seller every year. That crown always goes to PING, Callaway, and Taylormade. Titleist and Mizuno split the difference with the forged/better players market but that is something like maybe 10% or less of total iron sets sold each year. In terms of total dollars bought in irons, Callaway and TM are king right now and have been for almost a decade.
They DID have a separate brand for their best and excellent golf equipment - called ‘Tourstage’ and very popular, succesful and highly regarded in Asia. In a fit of bizarre Japanese marketing weirdness, they decided to ditch that well known name in Asia and go ‘ all in’ on the Bridgestone brand... now, their old Torustage models would get rebranded after a few years, with cheaper shafts, and the. sold outside Asia as a Bridgestone club... so they've given up all the brand prestige of Tourstage in Asia ( their drivers would regularly have an option of a real Fujikura Rombax shaft for instance) and yet last time I was in the States you still can’t see ANY of their irons or drivers for sale in any retail store i've seen.
They could have gradually introduced the Tourstage name into the USA ... but seem to have botched the job completely.
Srixon make great eqiuiment too, and obviously distribute their balls everywhere... yet, never saw their irons or drivers anywhere either.
Daiwa was a big name in golf..,and still is in fishing but they ditched the name for OnOff... still good stuff, but why the rebrand, who knows...
Imagine Mizuno deciding to change their brand name for their golf department... that's the knd of reaction in Asia to Bridgestone ditching the Tourstage name.
Adams 9015d +DiamanaZF, Mizuno MP-650 15deg FW+Diamana Thump, Epon 901 19deg, 301 4-PW, 210KGX 50deg, TM ATVforged 56 & 64deg, Cameron Futura 2003
Stumbled into the J40 DPC irons and have been a Bridgestone guy. I currently play the J15 DPC and they are fantastic. The Tour W wedges and the J15 wedges are better than most other wedges out there.
There’s only one pro shop in MD that sells Bridgestone and they usually discount heavily after a while. Picked up the JGR HF2 new for $349. Great heads but will have to change out the XP 95 shaft. Great stuff
When Kuchar and Sneds were playing very well around 2012-2013 the J40 line was hot and readily available. Not sure what happened exactly - company probably realized the margins on hard goods weren’t worth it.
they seem to be more popular in Asia like srixon and xxio.
I'm with ya and not arguing so apologize if it comes off that way. With that said golf retail shops, especially Dicks, absolutely deny companies like Bridgestone by not buying clubs from them for retail space. The buyers will not purchase clubs if they think they will sit on the shelf. I'm sure they have a good relationship with Bstone but they aren't going to strong arm one of the their largest retailers. Last thing Bstone wants to do is bite the hand that feeds them with ball sales which is more profitable than club sales. If Bstone decided to make a run at the US market and supports it with media and ad campaigns i'm sure they could get clubs in the shops. But that's Bstones choice.
I don’t see a lot of Bridgestone clubs in the big stores either, but I will say after playing the j40 dpcs, there’s not another club that comes close In looks, feel and forgiveness. I’ve played every brand of clubs and the j40s always win out. I was professionally fit for the 919 forged and hated them. They feel dead and don’t have near the forgiveness of the j40s. Everybody that hits the j40s are floored by how good they are.
Any manufacturer, that wants to instantly gain praise, should recreate the j40 dpc with their own badging.
They are my vote for the best iron ever made. Would love to stumble upon a new or near new set.
I came off overly harsh, no need to apologize, that was my fault and I apologize. I think we are saying the same thing. I just wish Bridgestone would do it, they might have a shaky first or second year but they would find their footing and be well adopted quickly. It took Srixon a couple of years too but now every person who comes through my shop wants to at least give the Srixon's a whirl to make sure they check that off the bucket list.
all good and i agree.. I think Bstone makes a great iron and wish it was in more shops.
Have never hit a Bridgestone wedge. They look good.
Since you actually have the HF2, how wide are the soles on those compared to the Dual Pocket heads? I like how they look but I do notice the sole looking a little wide-ish in photos, but you never can tell from pics alone. Am a big fan of the sole on the J40 DPC. It’s pretty close to perfect turf interaction for my game. Thanks.
The Bridgestone wedges both the J15 and the BX-W are ridiculously good for the price. The HF2 soles are wider and they are more forgiving than the DPC and the DPF. Also easier to hit with the XP 95 shaft. This thread made me bring out my DPC/CB combo set tomorrow. Their gloves are also very good for the price.
See below, HF2, J15DPF, J40 DPC in that order.
Thanks so much @aiyyer And good call on the gloves. They feel good and hold up.
Nice Bridgestone collection. The HF2 definitely tends toward wide, though the J40 DPC is quite narrow so it makes others look even wider. It does look like the HF2 sole has the usual Bstone sure contact sole grind, a bit of a rolled shape to it with a softened trailing edge, which makes it still offer the forgiveness and play a little narrower than it is.
Will be interesting to hear how they play since you have experience with the others.
The only issue Bstone has with irons is how long they are heel to toe or atleast that used to be their problem. They fix that issue yet?
I went to a David Ledbetter clinic many years ago, co-sponsored by Cadillac and Bridgestone. They had bags of clubs set up on the range before the clinic started that you could hit, then there were various stations along the way for the driver, irons, wedges and even putter. I forget the model of iron I fell in love with a particular shaft. Unfortunately, the clinic was in the fall and the clubs didn't get introduced until the following Spring and couldn't be found anywhere in stores to demo to confirm what I felt and saw at the clinic. Had they been available at the time of the clinic I would have bought them then and there.
Driver: Callaway Epic Flash 10.5 (-1/D)
3W: Callaway Epic Flash 15° (+2/N)
5W: Callaway Epic Flash 18° (+1/N)
Hybrid: Callaway Big Bertha 4H (-1/N)
Irons: Callaway Apex '19 5-AW
SW: Callaway Jaws 54°S
LW: Callaway Jaws 58°W
Putter: Odyssey Toulon Portland with Stroke Lab
Ball: Callaway 2020 Chrome Soft w/ Triple Track
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