Great news Bridgestone fans TSG is now offering factory customizations on the the Tour-B's from Bridgestone Golf. This includes a large variety of paint colors for the woods as well as seven different plating options for the irons. The prices are pretty reasonable woods cost 80 bucks for a new coat of paint and the irons are 35 per head to change the finish. You also have the option to match grips, ferrules, and paint fill. Please inquire with [email protected]
The Bridgestone Tour-B Series Golf Clubs have officially been announced. While TSG has been posting news of this including in hand photos (here) this new pro line goes straight for the athlete low handicap player. The first thing to notice is it reminds us a lot of TourStage and for those of you who are new to the Japanese golf scene TourStage is what Bridgestone used to be in Japan and at one time the #1 equipment company in Japan. Overall the TourStage product was better designed with more features than the Bridgestone gear they would later rebrand to. Not anymore as these new Tour-B's start off exactly where TourStage left off. Impressive to say the least.
Another thing to take note of is that there are no adjustable hosels on these clubs, If you look on Tour most of the players opt for a non adjustable version of a club and this is the case here. Already all the younger athlete Bridgesteone staffers have switched over to the new line of equipment and as you can see below the bags look stealth too. I have a quick break down of all the new clubs after the jump...
The Bridgestone Tour B Pro Series is Coming! The entire series looks fantastic very reminiscent of TourStage. Three drivers will be in the Tour-B line up the XD-3, XD-5, and XD-7 all three are for the better or professional level player. If your part of the TourSpecGolf Forum we posted real photos of all three of the drivers along with the new fairway woods, blades, and cavity backs. The entire new line up will be in the TSG Pro Shop Soon!
A couple weeks back TourSpecGolf announced the Bridgestone J015 series which is a specialty line only sold within golf stores for personal fittings in Japan. Bridgestone has also just announced yesterday the new Project JGR, which continues the TourStage GR theme and is targeted to the same type of golfer. These should be released in both Japan & U.S starting with an Early October release in Japan. Look for these in the TSG Pro Shop as the sales date gets closer!
Coming September to TourSpecGolf.com the all new Bridgestone Golf J015 Series - The new J015 line up consists of a Driver, Fairway, Utility, Iron, and Wedge and will be marketed as a custom fit series where though adjustability, interchangeable shafts, and some pretty cool finish options these can be made to the players preferences.
Just have a look at the custom finishes offered in the irons and wedges then under that the paint fill configuration. Stay tuned for more info as it gets closer to release, next week TSG will have the Pre-Order listing for those who just have to have it. Official release date is 9/4/2015.
Here in Japan, Tourstage is as synonymous with golf as wasabi is with sushi. But as many of you who follow the Japanese golf scene know, Tourstage is no more after a global branding unification done by Bridgestone. What kind of impact this unification will have is yet to be fully realized except for perhaps the obvious marketing and brand image benefits of having one name globally. It has been common practice here for larger brands to keep their golf "wing" separate from their main business. It allowed the golf brands to develop their own unique identities, separate from the parent company. In other words, there was no mistaking Tourstage as a tire company, instead it stood out on its own as one of Japan's premier golf brands. The same went for Srixon and XXIO who are wings of Dunlop and PRGR who are the golf wing of Yokohama Rubber. Tourstage has always been among the top JDM brands if not the top. With the most advanced designs and hugest product line offerings as well as what once was the largest Japanese tour staff which also boasted the likes of Ai Miyazato and Shigeki Maruyama in America, Tourstage excelled while Bridgestone Golf struggled outside of Japan "without" the Tourstage moniker.
Over the years this separation of brands at Bridgestone continued and there was reasoning for it as Japan is a very different market from the rest of the world. Some may say it's the most demanding and most "enthusiast" based hence the extra effort and capital brands put into clubs released here (and this goes for US brands here as well like Taylormade, Callaway, Titleist etc who all create JDM specific lines). Tourstage's use of the latest and greatest materials and technologies drew in Japanese golfers but at a price point that would never be fathomed out West. I've discussed this several times on the blog, 800.00 to 1200.00 for a driver is not out of the ordinary here (nor is 1500.00 and up it seems!) while in the U.S. it would be unthinkable as an average price, even for a top brand driver. Because of this Bridgestone was left with watered down designs and "older hand me downs" when it came to their club lineup. I don't know for sure but it's possible Bridgestone balls were more well known than its clubs.
However, markets can evolve and change for both the better and worse, and in the case of Japan, the golf market has turned towards the latter. High prices plus an influx of too many brands have flooded the market with excess stock and product. One would think that choice is a good thing and for the consumer it is, but from a brand's market standpoint, it creates too much competition. Larger Japanese brands like Tourstage have struggled over recent years and much of it could also be attributed to Tourstage's product line strategy which saw no less, than 5 distinctively different lines in previous years (X-Drive, GR, ViQ, PHYZ, Premium, EXE just to name some off the top of my head), sometimes competing amongst themselves. Last summer Tourstage's tour staff suddenly dwindled to mere minimal numbers and left many a Japanese pro trying to hitch rides with new brands and sponsors. This was a prelude of what was to come as it was announced shortly after that next release of Tourstage clubs, specifically the X-Drive line would fall under the Bridgestone name. This also saw the end of the GR and VIQ lines, two designs that focused on the more mid range golfer and two designs to more often than not, overlapped one another. The only original cast member who seems to have survived this brand realignment is PHYZ which interestingly enough didn't even exist 3 years ago. The reason for PHYZ's survival is that it has actually done quite well for the average golfer and can easily fill the shoes of VIQ as well and to some extent GR (as can the new Bridgestone J715 line). As the smoke clears what this gives us is a more focused Bridgestone brand in my opinion, one that can create two strong lines of clubs that cover golfers of all ranges.
That's probably enough chatter about Tourstage's transition to a unified global brand and while this post was supposed to talk about it's new flagship driver, I felt it was a good opportunity to address the change and to give a little insight. So without further delay let's take a look at the J715 driver which was released this summer. I received a B5 demo in 9.5* with the stock Tour AD shaft. The B5 is the 445cc model which is of course slightly more compact than the 460cc B5. The main differences between the two are the volume and a slight difference in head shape as well as the ball flight. The more forgiving B3 provides a higher launch and a bit more forgiveness while the B5 provides a more powerful trajectory and more stability and control. Both heads feature adjustable sleeves and new adjustable weight cartridges as Bridgestone calls them. The faces use pressed/forged 6AL-4V Ti and a precision cast Ti811 body. The J715 inherits Tourstage's Turbo Rubber technology which aids in the spring effect of the head and contributes to feel.
New features include a power slit design which are flowing ribs spanning across the crown from heel to toe in 3 locations. These slits stabalize the head at impact and direct the energy forward by moving the deflection point towards the front of the crown at the face. I think this is a good idea as when I have looked at other driver designs over the past couple of years, many brands have tried to tweak the crown using variable thickness in order to maximize energy transfer (and this head does have variable thickness as one of the aspects of the crown). However, when you think of it, the amount of time a ball stays on the face is just mere milli-seconds meaning there isn't exactly a lot of time for the crown to deflect and return the balls energy back to the ball at launch. Because of this the point of deflection is focused at the front so that it can instantaneously return the energy of the ball for increased ball speeds. If an entire crown has to flex, there most likely would be a loss of energy due to the amount of time it would take for it to return to it's original shape. Continue Reading
While New Bridgestone Gear is scheduled to release in February Globally TourSpecGolf has access to the early release and premium shafted versions from Japan. Currently TourSpecGolf is now shipping the new J15 Series drivers, fairway woods, and utility clubs and next month we begin shipping the new forged cavity back irons and wedges. "Click Here" for availability.
TourSpecGolf is also currently pre selling the limited edition Muscle Back Blades as well as the J15F+ and J15HY+ which are the smaller professional versions of the standard series. With limited supplies it's smart to pre order before they are all sold.
Bridgestone J15MB Iron - New for 2015 Bridgestone Golf has been unified under one global name combining TourStage + Bridgestone to create Bridgestone Global! Entirely new design and technology has been implemented across a new full line up.
Introducing the Limited Edition Bridgestone J15MB Iron. Only 2000 sets are produced world wide! Forged of S25C with a very compact appearance the J15MB features a compact size, razor thin top line and narrow sole with a nice curve to it. TSG is able to offer custom finishes, specs, and shafts. Ready for more Pics? Follow the Jump...
Katsumasa Miyamoto was one of the main players under TourStage sponsorship and it appears he is getting along well with the new Bridgestone gear. While Miyamoto-san doesn't have any victories on the U.S Tour he is in double digit territory with his wins on the JPGA.
Note the X-Wedges are still in his bag dispite Bridgestone releasing new wedges, expect more JPGA pics here at TourSpecGolf shortly. For more images follow the jump!
RIP TourStage... Bridgestone has taken over as the global brand unifying all labels and regions as one.
While I can understand the logic and business reasoning in this move I am really wondering will the focus become more marketing based rather than material, manufacturing, and technology based?