When I first heard about the Bridgestone B330-RX golf ball, I shook my head. As a fitter and an instructor, people lie to my face every single day and tell me they drive the ball “250…275 on a good hit.” I didn’t think there was any way in hell that golfers were going to admit that they didn’t have tour-level club head speed. But I was wrong: the B330-RX line was a hit. Somehow, golfers have found a way to accept that they don’t have tour level club head speed while still thinking that they hit the ball tour distances. Amazing.
Golfers’ leaps of logics aside, Bridegstone has put together a family of tour level balls that is unlike anything else out there: they offer a higher spinning and lower spinning model to both high swing speed players and low swing speed players.
The big question I wanted answered is: does it make a difference? Is this the same ball in four different colored boxes or would golfers really benefit from being fit for the best ball? Read on to see what I found.
It didn’t take long to determine that, at least with regard to feel, there is a difference between the different balls. As you would expect, the B330 is the firmest ball in the group and the B330-RXS is the softest. The other two, the B330-S and the B330-RX, are very similar to one another, in my opinion. Overall, these balls are pretty much in the middle of the “feel” continuum: not the softest, not the firmest.
The test group was pretty much in accord with me on feel. The testers rated the balls anywhere from “Average” to “Soft” with most people not differentiating too much between the different models. The couple who did rated the RX and RXS to be a notch or two softer than the B330 and the B330S.
I feel like I’ve been a bit redundant in this space, but I’ll go ahead and say it again: the durability of these golf balls is quite good across the board. Through all of the launch monitor testing, as well as some on-course work, there were very few noticeable marks on any of the balls and nothing that would have forced me to take a ball out of play. While it’s probably the least sexy category (though very important for the budget-conscious), it seems that all the major golf ball manufacturers have really stepped up their game when it comes to durability.
Again, the test group came to the same conclusions I did. There were no strong remarks for or against the durability of the ball, and the scores came out slightly above average.
I will state up front that I might not be the perfect judge of how different these balls are simply because I am right on the cut off line between the B330 and the RX – 105MPH swing speed with the driver. That said, I did find some noticeable differences with driver spin. The B330 spun the least by a considerable margin, and the B330-RXS spun the most. My averages with the B330-S and the B330-RX were nearly identical.
In our test group, we had two players who felt that there was a noticeable difference between the 330 and the RX. One felt that he was longer with the 330, the other (a slower swing), got more from the RX and felt that the B330 was meant for a higher swing speed player. The overall “perceived distance” scores from the group show the B330 series to be about average for distance, which I would agree with: nothing in the data tells me that these balls should be longer or shorter than any other premium ball.
4I & 7I Performance
As we have seen time and again, there is not a lot of difference in the spin numbers in the middle of the set. The biggest difference that I found was between the B330 and the B330-RX with a 7I: it was a 2% gap.
Our testers seemed to agree, noting that all the balls were roughly average in terms of iron distance.
PW & 60* Half-Swing Performance
When we move closer to the green, the differences between these balls becomes noticeable again. The B330 and the B330-RX performed identically off a wedge (full swing PW or half swing 60*). The B330-S and the B330-RXS were also identical for me, both having about 500 RPMs more spin than their lower-spinning counterparts. As compared to other balls that we have tested this year, the Bridgestone is slightly above average when it comes to wedge spin.
Our testers had a very mixed bag of feelings about the greenside spin that these balls offered. We had everything from “Each ball performed flawlessly” to one tester rating the B330-RXS a 4/10 for spin. Without any data, it’s hard to speak to the validity of these impressions, but it does indicate, once again, that everyone is different and should try a couple different models before they buy a case.
All of the Bridgestone balls in the B330 family retail for about $45/dozen, which is the standard price for any tour level ball that doesn’t say “Titleist.” We saw that the performance of these balls is right up there with any other tour ball, so the value is average.
The thing that really separates the Bridgestone line from others is the chance to pick exactly the ball that you want. As I mentioned before, whether you have low or high swing speed, you can pick a low or high spin ball. Also, Bridgestone puts a major emphasis on ball fitting and offers them for free all over the country, so you can easily have a Bridgestone rep fit you into the longest ball for your swing.
If nothing else, you have to admire the stones (haha, a pun) required to market a golf ball to “people with less than tour-level club head speed.” I never thought it would work, but it did, and I think that golfers are better for it. Check out the Bridgestone website to see when there will be a free ball fitting near you. At worst, you leave with a free sleeve of quality golf balls. At best, you might gain some insight into your swing and find some more yardage off the tee.
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