This product review of the Bridgestone Golf J15 Driving Forged Irons came at a critical time in my golf game and my attitude. Anyone who follows this blog and/or my social networks knows of the frustrations I’ve had of late with this beautifully infuriating game of golf. More on the timing and attitude later. First let’s take a look at the J15 Driving Forged Irons.
Bridgestone Golf J15DF Irons – click to see more
The J15 Driving Forged Irons are designed for golfers from the professional level to mid-handicap players. I fall somewhere in that range as a player who varies from a 1-4 handicap, depending on the time of year. So they should be a good fit.
The J15DF features a two-piece premium forged carbon steel design. For those of you readers who don’t know what “forged” really means, it’s one of two primary manufacturing processes irons are typically made from. The other process is called casting, producing “cast” clubs. In my opinion forged clubs tend to have a softer feel and provide more “feedback” to the player than cast. Feedback would be the feel and sound translated to the player from the club. Feedback gives the player great information with regards to the quality of contact and where it occurs on the club face. Better players can translate this feedback into how they need to adjust for better contact. Cast irons on the other hand, don’t often produce this feel. Most shots, regardless of where they happen on the club face, feel about the same.
These irons feature a “hidden” cavity between the front and the rear of the club head. This design employs “FAST” technology, or Flex Action Speed Technology. The cavity and design allows the club’s weight to be moved out toward the perimeter. Perimeter weighting (another buzz term in the golf industry) provides more forgiveness.
The sole of the club is a little narrower than game improvement clubs (clubs which are meant for higher handicap players). “Mid Sure Contact Sole” design allows the club to be consistent in the way it interacts and bounces off of the ground.
Bridgestone Golf J15DF Irons
This club is available in right-hand only. Sorry lefties. You’re missing out. While the specs above show a 3-iron, the set I tested is a 4-PW.
A club fitting would help in the setup decision making process without a doubt. I recommend making sure your shafts, lofts, lengths, and lies are all set for your swing. If you already know your specs, you can actually order your exact setup online at the Bridgestone Golf J15 page.
There are well over 20 shaft options available. I ended up with the True Temper Dynamic Gold Pro S300, the stock shafts. They’re fantastic.
The J15DF online configurator offers a choice of 14 grips. The model I’m gaming is the Golf Pride Tour Velvet. While they seemed a bit hard at first, I’ve grown to really like them. I’ll be reviewing the grips in a separate article later.
On The Course
From the first club I hit on the range (still remember it was a 7-iron), to the last one I hit yesterday, I’ve been thrilled with these irons. I have the opportunity to play many of the world’s best irons from most of the major brands, many custom made. None of those other irons but the J15DF’s have come close to the feel and control I grew accustomed to with my hand forged set of Hogan irons from nearly 15 years ago. The feel is butter.
Unlike the old school irons though, these are easier to hit and much longer. I’ve enjoyed very solid iron length and accuracy since putting the J15DF in the bag. The control these irons offer is tremendous. Whether I want to hit a low driving punch 5-iron like I did a few days ago on the par-3 11th to eight feet, or hit a high fade with a 7-iron, these clubs respond.
That high fade with a 7-iron came yesterday, probably my shot of the month. It was my 2nd shot on the 510 yard par-5 7th. I was 184 out and needed to carry the shot over some front bunkers and have it release to a back-right pin. The shot was one of the most pure shots I’ve ever hit and the ball landed within inches of my intended landing spot over one of the bunkers. It released up a slope in the green and finished at 12 inches from the hole for a tap-in eagle. That came at a time when my partner and I had just been pressed on the front nine. #winner
There are many stories I could tell like the 7-iron above, and with the J15DF’s in the bag there will surely be many more.
I mentioned the critical timing in my opener. You see, I’ve been struggling so much with my game I was close to quitting. Not just for a week or two, or for the winter, but forever. I’d had it. Then the J15DF’s came in for review. I was very close to declining the review and quitting. Out of respect for Bridgestone and how great they’ve been to HOG over the years I decided to do the review. The J15DF irons gave my game a badly needed spark. They talked me off the proverbial golf cliff.
Now that I’ve become excited about hitting quality iron shots again, winter looms unfortunately. I’ll be trying to get in as many rounds with these irons as I can until the snow flies.
Bridgestone may be better known for their golf ball products, but you’d be making a mistake if you didn’t check them out before making an iron buying decision. The Bridgestone Golf J15DF irons provide ultimate distance, control, and feel for golfers of mid-level handicaps and better. I know exactly where I’m hitting it on the club face because of their fantastic feel and feedback. I know if I execute shots well with these clubs, the results will be tremendous.
Due to a horrible email mix-up I’m not on a plane to the Bahamas right now. Believe me, this is not the news I was looking for. So I’m home for the next four days when I thought I’d be soaking up the beach and some resort golf. Boo. I’ll make the best of it though, and play golf a couple of times here and take a small road trip with the wife and my little boy.
Today I’m going to sneak out and catch a round at Wingpointe, a course I thought I’d played for the last time a week ago. It’s closing in a few weeks. I also anticipate playing Sunday. After that it’s Tuesday the 27th for the annual Hell Night tournament at my club.
14th Hole – Wingpointe Golf Course
That’s probably it for the season. The weather may be okay for playing, but I’ve been struggling this year with my game and think I really need a mental break from it. For the first time in my golfing life, I’m looking forward to winter.
Today was likely the last round I’ll ever play at one of my all time favorite golf courses, Wingpointe. Wingpointe is at the Salt Lake City International Airport. The course is known as “Utah’s Links,” and is the design of well known golf architect Arthur Hills.
14th Hole – Wingpointe Golf Course
The city of Salt Lake owns/operates the course and will be shutting it down November 15th, 2015. It’s a damn shame.
Panorama view of Wingpointe’s 3rd and 4th holes
I have many great memories at “Wingy” and she will be missed. Somehow, despite the bad soil there, the greens were always fantastic.
Panorama of Wingpointe’s 13th and 14th holes
For many years Wingpointe was my home course, and I had a nice relationship with the pro Lynn Langren. From the black tees, the course is (soon to be was) one of the most challenging courses in the state, especially with wind.
The course seemed to always fit my eye and I’ve shot many great rounds there under par.
If it isn’t too cold I may try to play it on the last day it is open, if it isn’t covered in snow.
We are constantly bombarded with golf’s bad press and the whining that the game is dying, shrinking, and losing players by the thousands. So what’s the answer? Raise green fee prices!
Wingpointe Golf Course
A local course is going to be shut down here in Salt Lake called Wingpointe. It’s the airport course. As its life comes to an end, they’re offering a farewell price of $25 per round, with cart, roughly half of what that would normally cost. Guess what? The place is jammed. We called for a tee time and the entire sheet was jammed.
Price goes down, demand goes up.
Price goes up, demand goes down.
Simple economics, right? So why the hell do many who manage golf courses not get this? What’s better? Having a course with 10 players on it at $50 a pop, or a course with 100 players on it at $25 a pop? And what about the money those extra 90 players spend on range balls and in the cafe? Some may even buy some balls or even apparel and gear in the pro shop. How much more could the course make in BEER sales alone with an extra 90 players a day?
Another shop in town gets that. A certain times of year, like when they are aerating, they offer smoking deals like the 50% off one above. Guess what? The course is packed. And when it offers those great prices it builds up a customer base. It builds up relationships with customers who will come back.
I know all this is just crazy talk. You golf courses and dumb municipalities who run them go ahead and carry on. When you’re sucking wind and losing money, go ahead and raise your prices even more. Run the rest of your remaining customers off. You might as well go out of business sooner. Perhaps someone will buy your course for pennies on the dollar and run it better than you.
Pop quiz: What’s the first thing golf courses who just switched to a new automated sprinkling system do?
For decades Bonneville Golf Course here in Salt Lake City, Utah has been the most popular public course in the state and for good reason. It is awesome. For decades the course has been known for being a “hard and fast” course which calls for the player to accurately calculate approach shots, landing them at just the right place. Some shots needed to hit short and bounce up in order to stay on the putting surface.
Commonplace at Bonney now… bring your divot tool.
Over this summer the course has switched from manual, hand-watering to a new automated irrigation system. The change is done and the new sprinklers are working, really well. The course is as green as ever but it is very, very different. The greens are no longer the fast and hard greens I’ve grown to love (and hate in a good way on some days). They’re country club soft. Shots which once would bounce over the green when hitting the front half are now backing up. On the 3rd hole, a green which is very hard to stick, I hit a wedge to the middle of the green and spun it back off and down the hill. On #10 I did the same thing, hitting the middle of the green then spinning entirely off the surface.
Some shots this softness has helped though. I hit an 8-iron to the par-5 first, a back pin. My shot flew to the back pin, hitting about a foot short of the flag. Normally that shot would bounce over the green and leave an impossible downhill chip. Instead, I had a 15″ eagle putt.
The speed of the greens is considerably slower right now. This could of course be a factor of the blade length of the mowers, or it could be that they’re just slower because they’re more moist. Those of us who are used to “Bonney” speed and the fine and tough breaks those fast greens produces are now befuddled by putts which come up short and don’t break.
I’m not saying the change is good or bad. It’s just, “different.” The strategy has changed. Rather than hitting shots with the goal of hitting the front or even in front of the green, one must think pin high and go even longer than that. I’m finding that any club less than an 8-iron requires getting the to-the-pin yardage and aiming 10-15 feet past it.
Welcome to the new Bonneville.