After the resignation of president and CEO Angel Ilagan in May Bridgestone Golf filled the position by rehiring Dan Murphy after an absence of three years. Murphy in his previous 11-year tenure at Bridgestone had been part of the management team that created the super successful ball-fitting program. Sales grew by 250% and pushed Bridgestone to number two in the market behind Acushnet.
Under Ilagan ball sales had decreased sharply with Bridgestone falling all the way to number four behind Callaway in second and TaylorMade in third. Plus, except for the J15 irons introduced in the Jan. 2015, Bridgestone has not really had a dog in the equipment market fight. Expectations are that’s about to change and though Murphy was not with Bridgestone when the new TOUR B JGR family of clubs was designed he certainly will be in control for their introduction and marketing.
Aimed to be played by mid to high handicappers, TOUR B JGR clubs have some interesting features. Drivers, fairway woods and hybrids have Bridgestone’s Power Mill Face to give added stability to the ball at impact and for lower spin to get more distance. They also employ 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.
“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.”
The JGR irons come in two models. For higher handicap players the Tour B HF1 irons are also forged and designed for distance plus forgiveness with a large cavity in the back to produce high launch aided by a low center of gravity. The variable thickness face is responsive and gives feedback over the entire area.
The game-improvement category HF2s have a forged head with a cavity back and are targeted for play by mid-handicap players. The face is thin and flexes at impact to add distance and it is backed by a polymer insert which absorbs vibration and improves feel.
TOUR B JGR Family Key Features:
-Draw Biased: 8g external weight and 25g internal weight promotes draw bias
-Power Rib Sole: Helps keep driver sole rigid at impact to increase ball velocity
-Lofts: 9.5°, 10.5° and 11.5°
-Stock shaft: UST Mamiya Recoil 460 ES
Variable Thickness Face: Better distance when impact is off-center
Lofts: 15° 3-wood, 18° 5-wood
Stock shaft: UST Mamiya Recoil 460 ES FWY
-Lofts: 19°, 22°, 25°
-Stock shaft: UST Mamiya Recoil 780 ES Hybrid
-Forged: 1030 Stainless steel
-Stock shaft: UST Mamiya Recoil
-Price: 6-iron through pitching wedge $850, 5-iron and attack wedge sold singly
-Forged: 1025 Stainless steel
-Stock shafts: True Temper XP 95
-Price: 5-iron through attack wedge $900, 4-iron sold singly