A superb all-round performer that balances distance and a strong flight in the long game with excellent control and feel into and around the greens.
Good distance and strong ball flight in the long game
Surprisingly good spin control on approach shots
Lovely soft feel off the putter
Low spin long game performance may hurt slower swingers
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For those golfers with driver swing speeds in excess of 105 mph, Bridgestone has two premium golf balls vying for your attention. Whilst the Bridgestone Tour B XS, is designed to aid control with additional spin on approach shots, the B X version is the brand’s premium ‘distance’ offering.
We wanted to see how these distance claims played out in reality so we tested the Bridgestone B X ball using a SkyTrak launch monitor up against the B XS version and the TaylorMade TP5x golf ball. We also tested it on the golf course to see whether it could be considered among the best golf balls of 2022.
Whilst it is hard for us to truly validate the effectiveness of the REACTiV iQ smart cover technology (which Bridgestone says should rebound more quickly on tee shots), I was impressed by the performance off the tee. There was a slight jump in ball speed versus the B XS version (1mph) and with just over 200rpm less backspin, the Tour B X carried 8 yards further. The carry distance was identical to what I was able to achieve during the same testing session with TaylorMade TP5x. Interestingly, the TaylorMade spun a fraction less (2013rpm), the ball flight was a little lower and the overall distance was 2 yards longer.
Both on the course and on the launch monitor there wasn’t much to choose between the TP5x and the Tour B X off the tee. The most noticeable difference being the slightly higher flight from the Bridgestone. Both golf balls are long.
The added distance of the Tour B X over the B XS version was again evident during my 7-iron testing. The former carried 7 yards further and flew 5 yards higher. Spinning at 6186 rpm, the control when hitting into the green was still good. I was pleased to see that whilst this ball is geared more towards distance, it still offered good control from 170-yards and in.
The most surprising aspect to the performance of the Bridgestone Tour B X was in the short game. Firstly, the spin control from 50 yards was excellent. Given the focus on distance, I was expecting less control from this yardage than I got. At 6704rpm it did spin less than the TaylorMade and the Bridgestone B XS but only just.
Secondly, the Tour B X has a softer feel than many of the best premium golf balls in this category. It has a muted feel off the putter face that I really liked. If you often play on quick greens, this soft feel could help with your distance control.
The last thing to mention here is about how Bridgestone categorise their premium golf balls. For many amateurs, knowing exactly which golf ball to play is confusing but Bridgestone has done a good job of simplifying and clarifying things. The range is split in two depending on your swing speed (under or over 105 mph with the driver). From there you have a ‘spin’ or a ‘distance’ option to choose from. I was pleased to see that there was a clear difference between the performance of these two options.
My driver head speed averages around 112mph and the Tour B X was the best Bridgestone golf ball for my game. Simplifying the selection process and helping players more readily identify the right ball for their game can only be a good thing.
In his current role, Neil is responsible for testing drivers and golf balls. Having been a part of the Golf Monthly team for over 15 years and playing off a handicap of 3, he has the experience to compare performance between models, brands and generations. For 2022 he thinks the main trend in drivers is: "In a word, consistency. Whilst all the brands are talking about ball speed (and the new drivers are certainly long), my biggest finding has been how much more consistent the ball flights are. Mishits don't seem to be causing the same level of drop-off or increase in the spin numbers. This means that more shots seem to be flying the way you want them to!" As far as golf balls are concerned the biggest development is in the, "three piece, non-Tour, urethane-covered section. For regular golfers, these models offer superb performance at both ends of the bag without denting your wallet quite as much as the premium Tour-played options."
Originally working with the best coaches in the UK to produce instruction content, he is now the brand's Digital Editor and covers everything from Tour player interviews to gear reviews. In his time at Golf Monthly, he has covered equipment launches that date back well over a decade. He clearly remembers the launch of the Callaway and Nike square drivers as well as the white TaylorMade driver families, such as the RocketBallz! If you take a look at the Golf Monthly YouTube channel, you'll see his equipment videos dating back over a decade! He has also conducted 'What's In The Bag' interviews with many of the game's best players like Rory McIlroy, Dustin Johnson and Jon Rahm. Over the years, Neil has tested a vast array of products in each category and at drastically different price-points.
Neil is currently playing: Driver: TaylorMade Stealth Plus Fairway Wood: Titleist TSi2 Hybrid: Titleist TS3 Irons (4-9): Mizuno JPX 919 Forged Wedges: Titleist Vokey SM7 46˚, 50˚, 54˚, 60˚ Putter: Odyssey Triple Track Ten Ball: Titleist Pro V1X
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