First Look – Bridgestone J38 460 Driver

Bridgestone J38 460 DriverBridgestone is a relative newcomer to the world of golf for many people, but did you know that Bridgestone started making golf balls back in 1935? Yeah, I thought that was pretty amazing myself. Bridgestone started making golf clubs as early as 1972 and even though the company may not be as well known in the US market as Callaway, TaylorMade and Titleist, they have become the number one producer of golf balls in Japan. If you haven’t looked at Bridgestone Golf before, it’s probably time that you do, because their 2010 line-up of balls and clubs are going to take the US market by storm.

Bridgestone’s golf ball spots on television have become pretty well known. You know the ones? Fred Couples sitting with a beautiful woman reading fan mail about the B330RX golf ball, only to find out Lee Trevino is the one who’s letter they are reading? They also have had some success with their Ball Fitting campaign for amateurs. Indeed, the B330 line is a good golf ball and we should give it it’s due, but this post is about the new clubs for 2010. More specifically, the new J38 460 driver and Fairway woods.

Leading up to the PGA Show in Orlando I stopped by the PGA Demo Day at Orange County National and hit so many golf balls with so many different clubs that my hands, arms and back hurt for days! Of all the beautiful and technologically advanced drivers I got to hit, the Bridgestone J38 460 was one of the hottest, best feeling clubs there. What’s so special about the J38? Read on!

The J38 driver is all new for 2010. Followers of Bridgestone Golf will note that this is the first new driver they’ve introduced in some time. It’s easy to get caught up in the 12 month new product lifecycle of TaylorMade and Callaway, but Bridgestone and a few others don’t seem to follow that strategy.  Along with a totaly new look, the J38 driver features an extended crown profile from the shallow face that promotes a low and deep center of gravity, for high launch and low spin. That, according to Bridgestone, allows for longer carry and maximum distance. There isn’t any fancy weight plugs, or an adjustable hosel, or spiffy multi-material construction in this club. Bridgestone sticks to the KISS principle and I admire that.

Bridgestone J38 460 DriverThe biggest selling point for me is the high-quality Fujikura Motore F1 shaft that comes standard. It weighs in at 65 grams and comes in R/S/X flexes. This shaft is an upgrade for most other drivers, but comes standard in the J38. What’s also impressive is the list of custom shaft options from Bridgestone. It’s simply too long to show here, but the full list is available on their website. I counted almost 50 different shafts and a dozen grips that can be custom ordered with your J38.

The J38 460 comes in 8.5, 9.5 and 10.5 degree lofts and all models are 45″ long and sit square at address. There isn’t much trickery going on here to help you hit it further, like making the shaft an inch longer as some companies do these days. The facts are, the longer the shaft, the harder it is to make solid contact. The primary factor affecting distance is solid contact, so a longer club doesn’t necessarily mean more distance for most players. The Driver will retail around $399 and will be available in stores in March of 2010.

Stay tuned soon for a first look at the hot new J38 Cavity Back and J38 Dual-Pocket Cavity irons!

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