Golf ball companies have upped the ante every year in the elusive race to produce a better ball than the Titleist Pro V1. So far, TaylorMade has come closest with the Penta TP5. Engineers from companies as diverse as Callaway, Bridgestone, and Nike have taken a crack at beating the Pro V1. Perhaps 2013 is the year of the golf ball breakthrough. The following is a preview of what to expect next year:
Titleist – Titleist lost Rory McIlroy to Nike this offseason. But no matter – the Pro V1 remains the most popular ball on tour. There are rumors that Titleist is testing a new prototype ball. Titleist has big shoes to fill and they should never be expected to replicate the impact of the Pro V1. But if any company can do it again, it’s them.
Nike – Nike has some big challenges ahead in trying to incorporate McIlroy into its golf family. They look to make improvements to the 20XI with the addition of a new RZN core. In addition, sources are reporting that the RZN technology will be added to its ONE line. We covered how Tiger Woods plays with an older ball not available to the public. Will this new RZN core addition persuade him to play with the 20XI? Also, it will be interesting to see what ball McIlroy uses.
TaylorMade – TaylorMade has internet messageboards abuzz with a secret ball dubbed “Project 5”. Justin Rose won the Turkish Airlines World Golf Final last October with the ball. Very little is known about the ball but many speculate that “Project 5”, or whatever it ends up being named, will replace the Penta TP5 as TaylorMade’s flagship ball. Early reviews have been outstanding. Could this be the next great ball?
Bridgestone/Callaway – There isn’t enough information out there, but it would be reasonable to assume that each of these companies will make an improvement to their top of the line balls (Callaway with the HEX Black Tour and Bridgestone with the B330). We’ll post reviews once details become known.
There is a lot at stake on and off the course for golf balls in 2013. Check back to this blog for regular updates and reviews.
While Bridgestone tires overshadows their golf ball division, it shouldn’t come as any surprise that the company creates an advanced sporting product. Bridgestone began manufacturing golf balls in 1935. The company introduced the first urethane covered ball in 2001. The B330, introduced in 2004, is one of the most popular balls on the tour, with endorsements from Fred Couples, Davis Love III, and GBU short game hero Brandt Snedeker. This blog has previously covered the significance of the Titleist Pro V1 and Nike golf ball technology. Now we will look at the history behind the Bridgestone B330.
Bridgestone made various technological advancements starting in 1999 that culminated into the creation of the B330. The B330 symbolized a complete revamp of their golf ball strategy, introducing a new core, new covers, and new dimples. As always,the equation all golf ball manufacturers must solve is the relationship between control and distance. The B330 was built with distance in mind, and added spin to the foundation. The goal of the ball was two-fold: first, to provide distance off drivers (less spin) but feel (more spin) around greens. Secondly, to give the ball a flatter trajectory and smaller landing angle for bounces. The B330 achieved this balance through a combination of the core technology and dimples. The solid core, made from polybutadiene rubber, is less dependent on temperatures and proves a more consistent flight. The ball has a “speed elastic core”, which varies the hardness of the core to provide less spin and increased initial velocity. The company also introduced their “seamless cover technology” in 1999 which consists of a urethane cover with no seamline to provide a consistent rotation. The ball has 330, precisely placed dimples. Less dimples would create too high a trajectory while more dimples would mean a low apex (Note – go here for a rigorous deconstruction of the ball).
There are two models of the B330 for different players. The B330 S is designed for advanced players with a swing higher than 105 MPH. The B330 RX is designed for amateurs with swings below 105 MPH.
The B330 represented Bridgestone’s innovation prowess. It is, in a way, a once in a generation ball for any company. A company will change one area of the ball – usually the composition of the core. But Bridgestone developed at every layer, and it all came together. The B330 is Bridgestone’s answer to the Titleist Pro V1. And for many pros and amateurs, it is a superior alternative. Check it out in our shop.