If you asked anybody to name tire manufacturers, chances are very good that you would hear Bridgestone somewhere in the first few companies named. If you asked a golfer to name golf ball manufacturers, chances are very good that you would also hear Bridgestone somewhere in the first few companies named. It’s not a coincidence. Founded almost 90 years ago to produce tires, it wasn’t long before they started making golf balls, too.
As odd as it might sound at first, tires and golf balls make fantastic manufacturing companions. If you stop and think about it, though, the oddity changes quickly into an “of course” moment once you consider the history of rubber and the golf ball. Bridgestone Golf takes full advantage of its parent company’s material technologies, pushing the envelope on what a golf ball can (and is allowed) to do. Yes, they also make golf clubs and other accessories, but this year the focus was on two things: golf balls and getting fitted correctly for the right one.
Bridgestone Golf has an impressive tour team consisting of Fred Couples, Bryson DeChambeau, Matt Kuchar, Lexi Thompson and the player everybody knows: Tiger Woods. Having players of this caliber sponsored by Bridgestone and using their golf balls is as good of an advertisement as any print or video media could be. But that’s not where the relationship between player and company ends. Woods consulted with Bridgestone throughout the R&D phase to guide them toward his goals for what a ball should do. With Woods’ specifications and Bridgestones newly developed material, called REACTIV Urethane, the latest iteration of the TOUR B family of golf balls was born.
Woods wanted a ball that would provide enough spin on short-game shots to have good control, while still being firm enough to leave the clubface quickly for longer distance shots on faster swings. The REACTIV urethane cover does just that. Here’s a breakdown of what exactly REACTIV is and what it does from Bridgestone’s press release:
REACTIV is the golf world’s first SMART Urethane – using an “impact modifier” to deliver a shock absorbing soft cover on slow impact shots for more spin and control – and high resilience on high impact shots for more power and distance. The material reacts differently depending on the force of the impact. In essence, on the violent impact of a driver, REACTIV rebounds quicker than other urethane covers, generating more ball speed and longer distance. On the softer touch and feel of wedge shots, REACTIV keeps the ball on the face longer, allowing golfers to impart more spin and have better control in the short game.
If you’re still having trouble getting an idea of what the REACTIV material offers, their promo video for it has a nice visual explanation:
There are four versions of the TOUR B. The X and XS are for players with swing speeds above 105 mph. The RX and RXS are designed for speeds below 105 mph. The RX and RXS will also be available in Optic Yellow. The X and RX are geared more towards distance as a slightly firmer ball, while the XS and RXS have a softer feel and are meant to have more greenside control.
Launch: February 14, 2020
MSRP: $44.99 per dozen
The other thing Bridgestone Golf is adamant about is getting fit for the correct golf ball. Previously, the company had launched a virtual fitting system that you could enter in some info and get a golf ball suggestion, but it was missing the personal touch that their in-person fitting sessions offered. Using new, proprietary technology, VFIT is a simple and accurate way of getting fit for a ball. We got to talk with Bridgestone’s golf ball fitting coordinator, James Anderson III, about the VFIT process. Instead of reiterating what he had to say, I’ll let him explain the process.
Launch: Available now
My full-time job has always been in the IT world, but I’ve also spent the better part of a decade writing product reviews and helping cover large industry-only trade shows. It was only in the latter part of 2019 that I put two and two together and realized I should be doing the same thing for something I’ve loved my whole life — golf. This is the culmination of a hobby that started as a child, a hobby that turned into a passion as an adult, and finally a passion that turned into The Golden Ferret.