Last week I played a very frustrating, windy and cold round up the canyon. I pretty much lost my will to live when my score ballooned in the cold wind. I’m a 25 handicap if the temps are below 70 and a two handicap if they’re above 80. I was on my way to the car when I saw the Bridgestone tent down on the range. This was my first real opportunity to try a ball fitting and I felt like I needed to give it a try even though I was tired and my back was tight.
About Bridgestone ball fitting
When you get a ball fitting, the techs have you hit balls on their launch monitor. Bridgestone’s system shows you your club head speed, ball speed, launch angle, side spin RPM’s, spin in RPM’s and carry distance. Based on your swing speed they can recommend the best ball for you.
What they’ll typically do is ask you what ball you are currently playing and have you hit enough shots on the system to get a good set of numbers with that ball. They’ll compare that to what is the ideal set of characteristics for distance and accuracy for your club head speed. Then they’ll have you hit some balls they recommend to find a ball which produces the closest numbers to the ideal and that is the ball they’ll tell you to play, even if it isn’t one of theirs.
When they saw me coming the two techs got excited. I was wearing a Bridgestone hat and the told me they could see it a mile away. I told them was a big Bridgestone fan to say the least. They hooked me up to the system, after asking me kindly if I was warm and ready to swing. My back was a bit stiff and I wasn’t swinging my best, but I gave it what I had that day.
The techs asked what ball I was currently playing I had told them I was playing with the B330-RX and the new B330-RXS. They asked me which one I liked better. I told them I was liking the feel of the RX a bit more because it felt more mushy to me and I like soft balls, so to speak. I told them I was surprised that the S, which is more spinny, would feel harder. They explained that in fact the RX does have a softer core than the RXS. The S had a harder core because that core would produce more spin. That’s the first time I’ve ever heard of the more spinny ball being the hard one.
I first hit a bunch of my granny swings with the RX. Then they showed me the gory details of my launch specs. My “44 year old cold air stiff back granny over-the-top release wrist cock too soon inside out face open swing” clocked in at a whopping 100mph. Phil Mickelson clocks in at 120 and Tiger Woods at 125-130mph.
My optimum specs based on my club head speed
So with the granny swing clocking in at 100mph, the tech told me my optimum specs for best distance and control. Optimum launch angle for me is 12 degrees. Optimum spin is 2447 RPM’s. Optimum ball velocity is 149.3. Optimum side spin is zero, always.
The RX stacked up pretty well against some of the ideal specs. My launch angle was 10.1 degrees (optimum 12). My ball velocity was 137 (optimum 149.3). My RPM’s were 2343 (optimum 2447). My side spin was +343 and carry distance 232 (sea level). The good was RPM’s and somewhat the launch angle. The bad is ball velocity and subsequently distance.
The RXS was surprisingly different and longer. This is where I get confused though, because the tech told me that the RXS was launching higher for me, yet the printout shows that it launched .4 degrees lower. So now I don’t know if the printout didn’t reflect all my swings, or if the tech was reading the ideal instead of the RXS specs. I think it is possible that the RXS reading I had was for one swing. 2nd ball fitting needed, in warmer weather.
The RXS was longer, even with a swing which was 2mph slower than the RX, at 98mph. The S was seven yards longer to be exact. Ball speed was 141.2 versus 137 with he RX. Chalk those up to the harder core. The spin rate was higher, in fact about 400 RPM’s over ideal. My launch angle was told to me that it was 12 degrees, but the printout shows 9.7.
Despite my liking how soft the RX felt, the techs suggested I use the RXS because it launched higher and was longer. I want to try another ball fitting when I’m not tight and when I’m feeling a little better. But I doubt my club head speed will be any faster.
Test 18 holes
After the fitting I decided to do a little test. I’d play my next 18 holes with the RX for the front nine and the RXS for the back. Sure enough, I noticed the S was launching much higher. Distance was tough to gauge because they’re both quite long.