The importance of being custom fit for a golf ball

Andy Roberts's picture
Andy Roberts
Thu, 21 Mar 2013
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Bridgestone expert Danny (right) gives our man the run down " hrefurl="/uploads/images/Large/21711.jpg" title="" width="635" height="435">


Quite literally freezing my dimples off as I walked over to meet Bridgestone’s Technical Representative Danny Osborne, who had kindly set up his laptop and Bridgestone Science Eye Field Machine over by the practice area for me, I warmed up with a cup of tea, a few swings and then stood attentively.

Danny commenced proceedings by learning more about my game and finding out which ball I currently favoured. With almost every ball on the market sitting on his desk, I plucked off the sleeve I was most familiar with and handed them to Danny - feeling like I’d been selected by a member of the audience and was awaiting some sort of magic trick; I soon got my wish.

He then encouraged me to use my driver - as this flags up inconsistencies with ball flight - and strike five shots into the net with my chosen ball. Following that, Danny then sat me down and evalauted my results, which presented clubhead speed, ball velocity, launch angle, back and side spin rate, dispersion and distance. I then repeated the process but this time around with my new sleeve of Bridgestone balls as chosen by my expert.

Here’s an assessment of my results from Danny, who took all areas of my game into consideration when fitting my new ball.

Andy was hitting a couple of balls low left and as a result had high levels of side spin which was hindering his distance. His hook spin was taking the ball out of the air too quick and making it hard for him to gain full control.

Andy plays off a low handicap and needs the stopping power of a Tour golf ball to increase his short game control. His current ball has a soft urethane cover and he was happy with the spin it was providing him.

I fitted him with the Tour B330-S as Andy favours short game control over distance. In this instance, Andy would have benefited more from the B330 (spins less from the tee) but knew that from the wedges it would not spin the same as his current golf ball. I therefore favoured the B330-S.

The Softer Gradational compression core of the B330-S allowed him to get the ball to compress more on the club face and therefore start the ball down his target line more efficiently, with less side spin. Andy also gained a faster ball speed as he was getting more energy into the golf ball’s core.

The overall result saw Andy hitting the ball higher, straighter and further, as the table below demonstrates (red lines - previous golf ball; purple lines - B330-S).


Verdict

While the sub-zero conditions no doubt lessened my driving distance average somewhat - which I would normally expect around the 240-yard mark - the test was fair in the sense I hit five solid shots with my normal ball and five with my new ball.

A dramatic 14-yard gain on average between my normal ball and the B330-S as well as a much higher and straighter ball flight, highlighted the importance of playing the correct ball to maximise performance. Although back spin increased slightly, side spin had reduced and that aided much straighter drives.

I feel like my performance both from the tee and around the greens is improving week by week because the B330-S - as used by WGC-Matchplay champion Matt Kuchar - is lower compression and stays on the clubface much longer. The core of the ball is also creating more velocity because energy is travelling quicker into the core. Launch angle might be a little higher than before, but I like it and it by no means detracts distance. 

I am also experiencing vastly improved traction with the new ball, most notably with full wedge shots from inside 100 yards and greenside bunker shots. And during these tricky windy rounds right now, the Dual Dimple design is helping me hold the ball on my desired trajectory through the breeze.


For more information about Bridgestone Golf custom ball-fitting as well as the online golf ball selection B-FIT guide, visit www.bridgestonegolf.com

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