By now Bridgestone Golf has worked very hard to get the word out that they are in fact a world class golf equipment manufacturer in what is a very tough market to break into. The folks at Bridgestone have done things pretty smart if you ask me. They’re not trying to saturate the entire market with line upon line of clubs, balls and accessories and hope that something catches fire. Instead they picked one area and really researched the market and brought their “A” game when it comes to delivering what the consumer had been previously missing out on. That was the golf ball industry and now they not only earned a share in, but actually revolutionized the industry.
Something happened along the way that many people may not have seen coming right at first. The company who was turning golf ball fittings into a household conception was hard at work perfecting their other equipment offerings as well. We saw a lot of this last year with the J38 line. In that line Bridgestone Golf introduced the Dual Pocket Cavity irons, a perimeter weighted iron that has a sleek look and players iron characteristics of their other blade style offerings, but with some forgiveness and playability for golfers across all handicap levels. Bridgestone has taken what they learned from their first Dual Pocket Cavity iron and used that information to make it even better. This is exactly what they set out to do with the J40 Dual Pocket Cavity irons. I was extremely excited when I heard that I would be testing out these irons, I demoed the J38 Dual Pocket Cavity irons and while they never found a permanent spot in my bag, I definitely liked what I saw.
Regardless of the OEM there is something that most forged player’s irons have in common and that is they all have a great look about them. Maybe I’m a traditionalist, but I don’t need my golf clubs to be wild and loud in their appearance. I like the classic looks, always have and likely always will. This is the first thing that just grabs your attention with the J40 Dual Pocket Cavity irons; they are simply stunning to look at. They are quite understated too. The word clean comes to mind when trying to describe the look to someone. I love the shiny chrome finish that you first notice, but then taking a look at the cavity and face of the iron you see the satin chrome, which is still very clean looking, just not that ultra gloss finish of the rest of the iron. Then etched into the cavity is the trademark “B”, no distracting graphics or colors to take away from the pure beauty of this set. The only other markings on the club is the number to signify which iron you’re hitting on the sole and the word forged quietly etched into the backside of the iron. There is more to the looks such as the dual pocket cavity itself and the new tapered sole design but I’ll talk more about that in the technology section next.
Technology and Testing:
While beautiful in appearance, don’t think for a second that these irons are lacking a single bit of technology. The J40 Dual Pocket Cavity irons are packed with technology to make them perform up to the standards of the best golfers in the world. Some features include:
•Midsized forged 1020 carbon steel
•New Dual Pocket Cavity
-Moves discretionary weight to the perimeter for more forgiveness
-New design provides more mass directly behind the hitting area for more feel
•New leading edge relief and tapered sole design for versatility in shot making
•Project X Flighted shaft
I’ll first comment on the size of these irons. They’re considered midsized by Bridgestone and at first when I unboxed them I didn’t quite believe it. They seem smaller in your hand but when you set them up at address you’re definitely able to see the midsize they’re talking about. I think midsized is a great way to describe the size of the irons because they’re definitely not big and bulky, yet they have more girth to them than a tiny blade. This size is great for me, it helped to establish confidence at address yet they’re still quite sleek looking for those who prefer a smaller iron. The topline of the J40 DPC is what I’d call midsized as well, pretty thin to satisfy those seeking a very thin topline, but not too thin for those who like to see a little size behind the ball for added confidence.
So having a perimeter weighted club we know we should be able to expect a certain level of forgiveness. There always used to be such a trade off, if you needed an iron with forgiveness it meant you were sacrificing feel in exchange. First I’ll touch on the forgiveness. I am a decent player but I will never get confused for one of the better ball strikers on the golf course. Sure I can hit the ball, but let’s just say that I like to lean on the forgiveness of a golf club when I need it. In my testing which included several 18 hole rounds and multiple trips to the range I found these irons to be pretty forgiving for my game. It seems like most of the time I hit them pretty flush but on times that I missed a bit the perimeter weighting was right there to bail me out and save the shot for me. As I mentioned earlier the club is larger at address than you really realize and for the most part you can get away with using most of that clubface. I found the most penalizing shots were the ones I missed out to the toe of the club, but that’s to be expected. I missed a few high up on the clubface, especially at first, and most of the time I was able to live with the results. Sure you’re not going to see the ball go as far as it does when you nail the sweet spot, but you’re not as penalized as you’d expect from such a sleek looking and feeling iron.
Speaking of feel, we’re talking about soft forged steel so as you can imagine feel is sublime when you put a nice smooth swing on and hit the center of the clubface. You can feel the ball coming in contact with the face more so than I’ve felt with any irons before and believe me I’ve played the very best of forged player’s irons on the market over the past few years. On those shots that I didn’t catch right in the center the feel is obviously not as soft and pure, but it definitely isn’t real harsh either. I played the J40 DPC in some pretty cool conditions here this fall and I’d certainly know it if I didn’t catch one clean, but nothing that stunned the hands by any means.
Something that really impresses me is that standard in the J40 line, Bridgestone decided to offer Project X Flighted shafts. Flighted shafts have a variable kick point throughout the set to help get those long irons up in the air a little easier as well as a higher kick point in the short irons to help keep those down a bit. I found the ball flight to be very consistent and quite tight in terms of the dispersion I experienced. I have been fighting with a ball flight that is much too high all season and thus I’ve been losing distance with an iron in hand. The PX shafts really helped me get that down where it was much more manageable. I’m still seeing higher shots than I’d like, but they’re down just a bit and I’m actually not losing distance the way things are now. Therefore I’m actually getting an equal amount of distance with the J40 Dual Pocket Cavity irons as I had with a set of stronger lofted cavity back irons from another OEM.
Speaking of lofts, Bridgestone Golf is staying more traditional and bucking what seems to be a trend lately with companies putting out stronger lofted iron sets in an effort to claim more distance. Below is a chart of the lofts.
The last bit of technology I want to talk about is the new leading edge relief and tapered sole design of the Dual Pocket Cavity irons. This is something you can notice when looking directly at the sole. It wasn’t really something that I paid a lot of attention to when playing to be honest, but that’s part of the draw I think. I never had to worry about having a lie where the sole of the club was clunky or interfered in the shot in any manner whatsoever. Turf interaction is great with these irons whether hitting from the fairway or in thicker lies in the rough. I found that these irons sliced right through the grass very smoothly and I consistently had a nice sized divot that always seemed to show me that I had the club square to my target as I sent the ball toward the green.
The day these irons showed up at my house I had a tee time. I didn’t have time to go to the range but opted to put them in play anyway. I literally swapped out irons in the parking lot of the golf course and went on to shoot a new personal best at this particular course. I’d say that we got off to a great start. As testing progressed I couldn’t get enough of hitting these irons. After weeks of testing I returned to that same course for my final round of testing before writing this review and I went out and topped that newly set personal best by 2 strokes. There is no better testament to the performance of a golf club than the scores you’re shooting with them in the bag. The J40 Dual Pocket Cavity irons are just another piece of an outstanding J40 line of clubs from Bridgestone Golf. I knew the minute I looked at these irons that I’d really like them, I was ecstatic to see that the performance backed up the looks. The set of Dual Pocket Cavity irons comes 5-PW and have a street price of $699 (MSRP $799) and are now available at green grass and golf specialty stores everywhere. 3 and 4 irons are also available for $115 each. To find out more information or to track down a demo day near you check out Bridgestone Golf online at www.bridgestonegolf.com.