Monday, February 9, 2009

Bridgestone B330 RX - Product Review

In late 2008, Bridgestone introduced a new ball - the B330RX. According to the media hype, this marks the first attempt by a golf ball manufacturer to create a "Tour" caliber ball that is specifically made for amateur swing speeds (85 - 105 mph). Up to this point, the only way for the average duffer to get the distance, spin, and feel of a "Tour" ball was to play one which was manufactured for swing speeds of 105 mph+ (Pro V1, Pro V1x, TM Red & Black, Callaway Tour, etc)

Bridgestone says the DNA of the B330 Rx has the following genetic traits:

* Driver Distance - LONGEST (6 on a 6 point scale)
* Drive Spin - LOW (1.5 on a 6 point scale)
* Short Iron Spin - HIGH (5 on a 6 point scale)
* Feel - SOFTEST (6 on a 6 point scale)

The 330 RX is a urethane, multilayer ball with a soft gradational core. The softer core is the reason for this ball is better suited to "amateur" swing speeeds - as it allows for the right amount (read "more") compression. This is also engineered to allow for a higher launch AND less spin off the driver. The soft urethane cover provides both the high short iron spin, and (obviously) the soft overall feel of the ball .

Having played the Pro V1x, TM Red and Black, and the Bridgestone B330 S in the recent past, I was quite interested in giving this ball a try. I like Bridgetone products, but always drifted back to the Pro V1x as my preferred ball. All of this sounded too good to be true for me, which is a sure fire way to get me to try it out. Here are the results after playing the ball for the last 3 months:

Off the Tee: I compared the B330 Rx to a Pro V1x, and a Taylor Made Red for 6 rounds of golf - my swing speed fluctuates between 90 and 100 mph, so I figured to be a good test subject. In terms of distance off the tee, the Bridgestone was equal to or slightly longer than the Pro V1x, and generally longer than the TaylorMade Red. The ball flight of the Bridgestone tended to be more penetrating than either the Titleist or TM. The lower driver spin is where the Bridgestone really distinguished itself, as I found the 330 RX to be significantly straighter and less likely go astray than either of the other two balls. Another measure, albeit relatively crude, but nonetheless accurate - the B330 Rx was much harder to lose than either the Titleist or the TM. I play on a tight, tree and woods lined course with plenty of opportunities to hit one 10 feet off the fairway and lose it in the leaves - and I found that the B330 RX was much less likely to offline than either of the other balls. Oddly, I did not initially think to "measure" this - I just noticed repeatedly that I would be on the 15th or 16th hole and still be playing with the same ball that I started with...and it would be in good shape. Overall score off the tee: A +

Mid Iron & Hybrid Play: The B330 RX performed comparably with both the Pro V1x and the TM Red on Mid Iron and Hybrid shots (3H thru 7I). Distance, trajectory, and feel were virtually the same, with the B330 RX feeling a wee bit softer than the Pro V1x. Overall Score on Mid Irons: A

Short Irons ,Wedges, and Spin: The B330 RX performed admirably on Short Irons and Wedbe Shots (8I thru LW). Trajectory seemed a bit flatter than the TaylorMade, and comparable to the Titleist. I was able to spin the B330 RX with all of my scoring irons, and I found the performance to be predictable. On "full" shots with my gap wedge through lob wedge (50 degrees to 58 degrees), the Pro V1x did a spin a wee bit more than the B330 RX - so if you value spin over all other things, the Pro V1x has a slight advantage here - otherwise, the Bridgestone is a great performer. Overall Score on Short Irons : A

Feel off the Putter : The B330 RX was comparable to both the Pro V1x and TM Red on the green, providing a great feel off the putter head. It has a nice alignment "line" , and felt nice on both long and short putts. I did not notice the cover to be susceptible to unusual wear - which is nice for a "Softer" ball. Overall Score on Green Performance : A+

Overall Analysis: I can't be anymore direct than this - I switched to the Bridgestone B330 RX as my preferred ball. I found that I gave up no performance, and gained greater accuracy (and perhaps some distance) off the tee due to lower driver spin. If you are a someone who is willing to pay for a "Tour" caliber ball ($38-$45 per dozen), and have a "normal" swing speed (85-105), I highly recommend these balls. Give 'em a try - I do not think you will be disappointed. Overall Score: A+

For more info on selecting the right ball, check out Bridgestone's online tool here.


Hooked On Golf Blog said...

I've played a few holes (when there wasn't snow on the ground) with an RX and really liked it.

Anonymous said...

This was a great review. I will buy a sleeve for a try. Thanks.

Acemakr said...

Cash, great review. I'm on my way to to give the RX a try.

Mad Hatter said...

I play the bridgestone b330 tour have not played with the rx brand

Anonymous said...

I just switched over to the RX as my preferred ball as well. Came from the ProV1 which is still a great ball. I just get better performance for ME from the RX. Spin diff gets a lot of attention when discussing the RX vs. the ProV1. Didn't see a big enough difference in the two. Liked the soft, compressed feel I get off the irons.

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Anonymous said...

I have been playing for about a month and used to play the Callaway Ix now the Iz. I use to use the pro v1x but that ball flight was always too high for me. I love the Ix/Iz but even that ball can go off line compared to the b330 rx. I love this ball off the tee. I have to adjust my chipping around the green as it does not work as well as the iz or pro v1x, but this is a trade off I am willing to work on compared to losing it off the tee. I love this ball off the tee and it feels very soft to me on the putter.