bridgestone J40 445 driver review

We have reviewed a lot of equipment over the past few years but this one might be the "Most Shocking MyGolfSpy Review Ever!"  Why?  Well because the Adams 9064LS has ranked as the #1 Driver in our review system for the past 400 Days!...and it just got replaced.  Yes, you read that right...400 Days!  Quite an impressive run to say the least.  We knew one day its reign would come to an end...we just didn't think it would be today.  The Bridgestone J40 445 Driver now stands alone as the #1 Driver on MyGolfSpy!

Bridgestone J40 (445) Driver Review

(Written By: GolfSpy T) What the hell just happened? Seriously...what just happened?

Those were my exact thoughts as I finished crunching the numbers on our test of Bridgestone's new J40 driver.  Now I am most certainly not the smartest man in the world, but I'm a fairly observant guy. I've been testing, and watching other guys test golf clubs long enough that I'm confident that I know how well (or how poorly) our testers are hitting a given club, even when they don't have the foggiest idea themselves. But...if you had asked me a mere 20 minutes before I started importing test data into our spreadsheets how the Bridgestone J40 driver performed, I might have said "probably pretty good". To me probably pretty good means a slightly above average score, but certainly nothing that's going to get anyone but a brand loyalist fired up. There's not a chance in the world I would have told you that Bridgestone's J40 would finish as the single best performing driver, and would have the highest total score of any driver we've ever tested.

Nope...I wouldn't have said that, but now that the numbers have been crunched, that's EXACTLY what I'm saying.  Seriously, that's what just happened.

We've Picked the Winner of a Bridgestone J40 445 Driver!

Congratulations to Brad K. Your 9.5 degree, 6.0 J40 is on the Way!

  • Tell us your experience with Bridgestone clubs or balls to be entered to win a Bridgestone J40 445 Driver!
  • Or tell us why you should be the winner and get the chance to drive the new #1 Driver reviewed on MyGolfSpy.

The Marketing Angle

Before we get into the meat of this thing, here's a few quick little things Bridgestone would like you know about the J40:

  • 445cc round shape with tour stability (A smaller 430 cc model is also available).
  • Improved Face Thickness design for additional stability and higher MOI
  • 6-4 titanium construction with thin crown wall section, which, as it almost always does, allows for additional mass to be placed at the perimeter for more forgiveness.
  • Stainless steel weight at heel and short hosel to optimize CG for mid to high launch with low spin.

Yeah, yeah...we've all heard the discretionary weight thing before, and there's certainly a chapter or two here stolen out of a dreadful book titled "How to Market Golf Clubs", but it is at a minimum refreshing to be totally free of propriety acronyms and buzzwords for a change. Kudos to Bridgestone for keeping it simple.

What is actually interesting (to me anyway) is the 445cc head. While Bridgestone is hardly alone is offering a sub-460 head, what's somewhat unique is that at 445cc, the driver we tested is the largest in the current lineup. I asked Bridgestone why they chose to move away from the 460cc standard, and here's what they told me:

"Bridgestone's research indicates that better players still prefer a head profile that looks smaller than what can be achieved w 460cc. The J40 driver design cues were directly from input we received from our Tour team and some highly skilled ams. Better players (0-15) are the target for the J40 drivers".

The Specs

Here's the worst thing I'm going to say about the Bridgestone J40 445 Driver today; It's available in Right-Handed only. Lefties...I'm sorry. It' s not that you're limited to a couple of lofts, or a single flex. You are totally, completely, and absolutely out of luck. Not cool, Bridgestone. Not cool.

Beyond that, the stock shaft is Project X Graphite, which plenty of guys (other than myself) absolutely love.  The J40 Driver can be ordered in 5.0, 5.5, 6.0, and 6.5 flex. And while maybe it's not the fanciest, high-end grip on the market, given how bad some OEM grips can be, we're more than happy with a stock offering of GolfPride's Tour Velvet.

How We Tested

The 6 golfers for whom we collected detailed performance data were asked to hit a series of shots on our 3Track Equipped simulators from aboutGolf.  As usual, testing was done at Tark's Indoor Golf, a state of the art indoor golf facility located in Saratoga Springs, NY.  Detailed data for each and every shot for which we collected data is now viewable in the interactive portion of this review, which immediately follows the performance. This data serves as the foundation for our final performance score.  Our testers were also asked to provide feedback in each of our subjective categories (looks, sound and feel, forgiveness, and likelihood of purchase).  This information is used as the foundation for our total subjective score.  Testing was done using a mix of 9.5° and 10.5° drivers in 5.0, 5.5 and 6.0 flex.

PERFORMANCE SCORING

Like the Nike VR Limited driver, this test was conducted under our new testing protocols. Full details of our testing and scoring procedures can be found here. The short version is that scores are calculated based on a point system. Points are determined per shot using a formula of distance minus accuracy. Based on previous test results, we've assigned each of our six testers a theoretical maximum point value. The percentage of that maximum theoretical score that is achieved by each individual tester represents the individual score for the VR Limited. The total performance score is determined by the average score of the top 5 testers.

Distance & Launch

With the Bridgestone J40 Driver, our testers averaged 247.82 yards of total distance. That's somewhere in the neighborhood of 3 feet less than the first driver we reviewed under the new system. Of course, when we drop our shortest hitter from the equation, that average distance increases to a staggering 263.74 yards, which is nearly 4 yards longer than the previously reviewed club. Of that 263 yards, 250.54 is pure carry.

Looking at launch conditions we find that our testers posted an average vertical launch angle of 9.17 degrees (9.65 with the lowest hitter removed). Shots climbed to an average height of 33.65 yards, which is remarkably similar to the previously reviewed driver.

"I was kind of shocked by the consistent distance" - Tim S.

Accuracy & Spin

While it's hard not to be impressed with the distance numbers, for me, it's the accuracy numbers that truly set the Bridgestone J40 445 Driver apart from many of the other drivers we've tested over the last couple of years.

When we look at the numbers we see that our testers missed the center line by an average of 14.32 yards. Based on the averages we've seen from previous tests results, I'm inclined to suggest to you that the results are exceptional. More impressive still, when we remove our least accurate tester (average miss of  20.70 yards), the group averages drop by another 1.3 yards (13.04).

Now to be sure, we did witness some shots that strayed way off their mark, but, those were more than offset by an unusually high number of shots that finished within single digits of center.

Bridgestone has billed the J40 Driver as an excellent option for those looking to cut back on spin. We all want high launch with low spin right? Looking at the numbers, it turns out that the J40 does indeed prove to generate less spin than many other drivers. Almost certainly the Project X shaft has something to do with that, but we can't discount the head design either.

On average our testers generated 2868.75 RPM of backspin (that's a whopping 2.23 RPMs more than the previously reviewed low spin driver). What's most impressive are the side spin numbers. With an average of 383.85 RPM (368.98 Adjusted), the Bridgestone J40 quite possibly generates less side spin than any driver we've ever tested.

Overall Performance

I don't want to mislead you and suggest that each and everyone of our testers loved the Bridgestone J40. That's not the case at all. Our senior tester wasn't a fan for a couple of reasons (smaller head chief among them, and our lowest handicap golfer felt he just didn't hit it well). That said, our other 4 testers all managed individual scores of between 94.52 and a whopping 97.34. While we've had guys in the ~95 range before, we've never had 4 of them for the same review, and that perhaps tells most of the story here.

MGS OVERALL PERFORMANCE SCORE: 94.74

The Interactive Data

The charts below show the individual and group averages (black dotted line) for each shot our golfers took during our test of the the Bridgestone J40 445 Driver. If you click on the "J40 445 - Test Range tab, you can see where each shot came to rest on our virtual driving range. Hovering over any point will give you all the details of that particular shot. You can use the filters on the right-hand side to show and hide individual golfer based on handicap and clubhead speed. Clicking on the "J40 445 - Raw Data" tab will show you the individual numbers and group averages for our testers.

SUBJECTIVE SCORING

When it comes to subjective scoring, Bridgestone is basically starting with a clean slate. Yeah, we reviewed their wedges, but wedges are different from woods, and with the exception of those wedges, most, if not all of our testers have never seen, let alone hit, another Bridgestone club.

Looks

The Bridgestone J40 Driver is, from a looks perspective, as simple as they come. The sole is relatively smooth (just a couple of cut-outs - presumably for aerodynamic purposes). As they are on the J40 wedges, graphics are understated. All in all it makes for a very clean, very refined look.

"This driver looks like a sports car. And not the domestic variety. The kind that attracts good looking women to ugly men with bad Hygiene". - Tim S.

Initially I was inclined to describe the shape as "traditional pear", but after staring at the club for several minutes, I'm more inclined to label it quasi-traditional. It's pear, with just the slightest hint of some triangle at the extreme rear of the club head. It's only there if you stare long enough, and it's hardly distracting.

The J40 driver is a very basic, somewhat understated, but extremely nice looking golf club.

MGS Looks Score: 96.75

Sound & Feel

This is the most difficult aspect of the Bridgestone J40 to wrap my head around, let alone describe. Generally speaking, I really like the sound and feel of the club. About half of our testers agree with my assessment while the others largely rated it in the average range.

It's not simply that the club has a muted sound, at impact it makes it feel as if your golf ball is softer than it would otherwise be. It's definitely not a bad thing, and it's a feel that, the more I swing this club, the more I really start to enjoy.

While I suspect not everyone will love the way the J40 sounds and feels, I also think there are plenty who will. And even those who don't will be hard pressed to find enough negative in either to completely rule the club out.

MGS Sound & Feel Score: 86.00

Perceived Forgiveness

Smaller heads can make for interesting results here. Sometimes the enhanced gear effect can be a good thing, and for the most part that held up here. Looking at the range chart we can see that our testers were in fact relatively consistent from a distance perspective (no huge outliers for anyone save our senior tester). And of no surprise, considering the accuracy numbers, left to right dispersion was relatively consistent as well.

The results are impressive enough for two testers to rate the club a 9 in this category, while most others scored it above average for forgiveness.

Tester Perceived Forgiveness Score: 86.00

Likelihood of Purchase

I hate to say our testers completely missed the boat, but clearly some of them did. You would think that when 4 of 6 testers hit the ball better than they have with nearly any other driver we've ever tested (certainly the J40 was at least top 3 for most of these guys), LOP would be off the charts. Of course, when you consider that even I was surprised by the final numbers, I guess it's reasonable to assume that our testers might come away from this not loving the club quite as much as they should.

Truthfully, the 4 who hit the club exceptionally well, scored it very well. Averages were brought down because the guys who didn't hit it well, generally scored it well below average in the category.

Tester Likelihood of Purchase: 81.97

Looking over the final subjective numbers, I'm in almost total agreement with our testers. The J40 is a great looking driver which, unless you like a lot of flash and flair, should appeal to a majority of golfers. Sound and Feel are excellent, but a bit unusual as well. Forgiveness is very, very good, and although I would suggest the LOP score should be higher than it is, if we were to remove the malcontents from the equation, that particular score would jump over 92.

TOTAL SUBJECTIVE SCORE: 88.82


CONCLUSION

Prior to this review, I could have given you a list of 3 drivers that I think are the best we've ever tested. The strange thing is, with each of those other 3, I could see the results coming. Either the numbers were in my face, or the reaction of our testers made it impossible to miss the fact that they were hitting a club, hitting it well, and enjoying every minute of it. In the case of the Bridgestone J40, that didn't happen. Our testers were certainly curious, and I'd suggest they remain curious about this club even after completing their tests, but there was nothing overt to suggest this club is anything other than pretty good.

And yet here we are. We've tested the J40, I've pulled the data, I've crunched the numbers, and although I never...I mean never saw it coming, the Bridgestone J40 445 now stands alone at the top as the highest scoring driver we've ever tested. I am completely shocked.

What's truly a shame is that Bridgestone clubs aren't nearly as widely available as at least half a dozen other brands I could name. There's a very good chance your local big box store, or even your local pro shop (if you're lucky enough to still have one) actually stocks Bridgestone. Having said that, if you have the opportunity to try the J40, you absolutely must make the most of it.  Hell, you may need to come back and hit it again...and again and again.

You may not believe the results the first time, but when all is said and done you might find yourself saying "The Bridgestone J40 445 is the best performing driver I've ever hit". Yeah...that's what just happened.

MGS TOTAL SCORE:  94.08

 

We've Picked the Winner of a Bridgestone J40 445 Driver!

Congratulations to Brad K. Your 9.5 degree, 6.0 J40 is on the Way!

  • Tell us your experience with Bridgestone clubs or balls to be entered to win a Bridgestone J40 445 Driver!
  • Or tell us why you should be the winner and get the chance to drive the new #1 Driver reviewed on MyGolfSpy.

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