Lamkin Grips

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I still vividly remember back about 14 years ago when I finally decided to get serious about my golf game. That meant getting more serious about my golf equipment as well. It was time to look into getting some decent wedges and not just the PW that comes with whatever set I had at the time. I can still picture the conversation I was having with the salesman at my local golf retail store, “when it comes to good wedges there are only two options for you, Vokey or Cleveland.” As crazy as that statement sounds right now, it was actually true as recent as maybe a handful of years or so ago. Things are much different now as several companies have decided to get into the wedge market. This is great for golfers everywhere because we all get to enjoy the benefits.

Bridgestone Golf is one of those companies; the undisputed king of ball fittings has a lot more to offer for those of us needing more than just a great golf ball that fits our game. In 2011 Bridgestone Golf has launched their new J40 line of equipment. The J40 line includes drivers, fairway woods, hybrids, two iron options and of course wedges. The J40 wedges are available in two finishes, Black Oxide and Satin Chrome, which is what Bridgestone sent over for us to test.

Looks and Feel

The very first comment out of my mouth on the THP Forum when these wedges arrived for my testing was “gorgeous”. The simple and understated look of the J40 wedge immediately grabs your attention and makes you realize that you must hit this wedge. Personally, I am a big fan of the clean and simple look and Bridgestone has nailed it with this wedge. The design is just a “B” etched into the back of the wedge, no loud colors or distracting designs, just a great classic looking club. Beyond the smooth lines and subtle design the shape of the wedge really works great as well. It’s a nice classic shape that Bridgestone Golf came up with in conjunction with their tour staff. I like that they opted for a traditional shape wedge and didn’t try to overdo it with something dramatically different like we’ve seen from other companies trying to get into the wedge market. Immediately after unboxing these wedges I said if it was a beauty contest for wedges Bridgestone Golf would win with the J40 wedge.

The feel of the J40 wedge to me is every bit as great as the looks are. Made from soft 8620 mild carbon steel these wedges return a very addicting little “click” of a sound and a phenomenal feel to go right along with it. I’ve used wedges that feel great on short chip and pitch shots but when you need to take a full swing that feel becomes quite harsh, that is definitely not the case here. The feel you get from a short shot is that same great feel you get from taking full swings with them as well.

Technology and Performance

Obviously this is not just a beauty pageant here, if the J40 wedge is going to score high marks in a review then there has to be some technology packed into this pretty package. In order to compete with the big dogs on the block in a market they have dominated in the past Bridgestone Golf had to really bring it with the technology and performance of this wedge. First of all yes the grooves are conforming U-Grooves. I can hear the guys in my Men’s Club now… “oh man, I need non-conforming grooves, I can’t spin those.” The fact is yes the grooves are conforming but Bridgestone has incorporated a lot more technology to counteract the less spinning grooves. The face is machine milled for increased surface roughness to help add spin. Looking at the face from arm’s length you might not even notice this, but get up close and you’ll see and feel exactly what they’ve done here. Another thing we’ve got here to help with that spin is a stock offering of True Temper DG Spinner shafts. For anyone who has had a chance to use the DG Spinner shaft you’ll know that conforming grooves or not your wedge can definitely still be a spin machine. Lastly on technology the J40 wedge features Bridgestone’s Variable Bounce Technology. What they’ve done here is develop a way to use the same wedge bounce but by varying the bounce you’re going to get lower bounce on the heel and toe areas of the wedge. This allows you the ability of hitting these from any lie you’ll encounter on the golf course.

Performance is where it all really matters. You can have the prettiest looking wedge on the market but if the performance isn’t there then what’s the point? First of all the way the J40 wedge sits behind the ball at address builds so much confidence prior to even executing the shot. Confidence with the wedges makes everyone a much better wedge player and that is exactly what I found while using the J40. In my testing I used them a lot from right around the greens, mostly from the fringe or fairway so I’ll touch on that first. The Variable Bounce Technology in the J40 allowed me to have a good clean strike on the golf ball without worrying about the higher bounce of say a normal 56 degree wedge interfere with my shot. Those clean strikes also allow for the spin of these wedges to work very well. I found I was able to predict the check, short hop, slight roll out of those chip shots from the short grass very accurately the more I used these wedges. We all can agree that predictable spin and roll out is very helpful in getting up and down.

From the rough I like to open the face of my wedge a bit and get the club to slide under the ball getting it to pop up as quickly as possible. Here again the Variable Bounce Technology of the J40 allows you to do that. Even out of some pretty heavy rough I was able to get the ball to stop quite nicely once on the green. Here is another area that I really had a lot of confidence with this wedge in my hands. The J40 seems to slide though the turf with ease and I never really had any kind of a lie that I wasn’t able to get the wedge to perform for me. Just like out of the rough, I had absolutely no issues with using the J40 out of greenside bunkers. I prefer to use the 56 degree that has 12 degrees of bounce so that I could get some of that leading edge to help me pop the ball up and out of the sand with very little trouble.

I rarely take a full all out swing with a wedge in my hands but I did find the 52 degree gap wedge very useful for shots in that 110 to 115 yard range. My preference on shorter shots into the green is to take more club and take about a 75% swing so that I can keep the ball flight under control. I had a lot of success hitting a ¾ swing with the 52 degree; these are the shots that I was able to see the benefits of the DG Spinner shaft. Even on some pretty dried out greens around here lately I had absolutely no issues with getting the golf ball to stop whether from the fairway, light rough or the occasional deeper rough shot.

Overall

I love testing out golf equipment, but I’ll be honest, sometimes it’s difficult to sound objective when the equipment is this good. From the stunning looks to the absolute outstanding performance there is hardly a negative thing to be said about these wedges. Whether I was trying to get up and down from a missed green, if I needed to hit one tight after a big drive on a par 4 or trying to save par from a greenside bunker these wedges delivered every time I called on them. Don’t fear that moving to conforming grooves will have an adverse effect on the spin that you can put on the ball with your wedges, Bridgestone Golf has proven with the J40 wedge that when a wedge is put together this well you will not sacrifice in the least making this switch. A couple of times I have mentioned the confidence I have when using these wedges, for me that is the biggest difference between being a mediocre wedge player and a good wedge player. Knowing how to hit the shot is just half the battle, having the confidence in your ability and your equipment to execute the shot is the other half. The Bridgestone J40 wedge has helped build that confidence to an all-time high and I’m seeing better wedges shots than I’ve ever hit because of that. The Bridgestone J40 wedges feature a street price of $109 per wedge and will be available October 15, 2011 at golf specialty stores and on-course retailers nationwide.

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Category: Equipment, Headlines & News, Wedges

About the Author ()

Jason is a busy husband and father of 2 daughters who are both just starting to take up the game that he has loved for years. Golf is his passion, when Jason is not playing golf and testing equipment he's hanging out with all his friends on the THP forum discussing every aspect of this great game.

Comments (28)

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  1. MattyKrack17 says:

    First off great review! the price point on these is very attractive with alot of the new wedges being $20-$40 more. The looks are second to none. the lines are so clean and just very sexy to me! Plus they come with DG spinners, cant beat that! Can not wait to hit these!!

  2. DawgDaddy says:

    I am anxious to try these out, I love my Bridgestone WC wedges, but it is time to replace them. Very nice write up Jason.

  3. Damaikis says:

    Nice review Jason! These are my favorite wedges in terms of looks on the market right now. Basic is definately the way to go. Add in DG Spinners, and it looks like Bridgestone really has a winner here. Some MC 2.0 staffers will be very happy with these in the bag!

  4. blugold says:

    Always good to read about fantastic equipment. Who knows, I may be in the market for new wedges soon. And these are high up on the list.

  5. Michael Cook says:

    Outstanding, informative review Jason! Sounds like Bridgestone hit a home run with the VBT, spinner shafts, and of course in the looks department. Then the fact that you can get all that for $109 is great.

    Nice job Bridgestone and thanks again Jake!

  6. TC says:

    Jake, I could really tell how much you like these wedges in your review. In fact, those are my favorite reviews to read. What really stood out to me was the price, $109. That’s awesome. I don’t know why, but I was expecting them to be more expensive than that. Good job buddy.

  7. Chunkylover77 says:

    Great review Jake. These are gorgeous and look like they perform as well as they look. I will be trying these out.

  8. tadashi70 says:

    Jake those are some great words about some great wedges. I agree with you on every level. The J40 is by far the best all around performing wedge I have ever had in my bag. I’d put these head to head with any wedge on the market. Great Review sir!

  9. Drumdog says:

    Great review Jake. After reading your take on these and at that pricepoint, how could anyone not seriously consider putting these in their bag? Well done !

  10. Dmb012 says:

    Great review Jake! I really want to try these wedges out when the come out in Oct. Great job!

  11. royalwulff says:

    These are beautiful wedges!! Great write up and now I am really looking forward to getting out and trying them out.

  12. Ryan H. says:

    Just a really great looking and performing wedge from Bridgestone. I have wanted to get my hands on these for quite awhile now. Can’t wait to hit them for myself. Great review, Jake!

  13. ddec says:

    Nice review Jake. I was really looking forward to this one since Bridgestone will be involved in Morgan Cup 2.0. I think this is one of the best looking wedges on the market.

  14. yorkem says:

    Great review Jake! I know 8 Morgan Cuppers that are going to be really excited about the opportunity to game these. While I understand why, I really wish they made some LH equipment, because their offerings this year seem to be awesome.

  15. Yoccos says:

    I love hearing the excitement coming from your words Jake. Want to check these out!

  16. Smallville says:

    Looks like a great piece of equipment. I like that they have done other things to increase the spin lost with the conforming grooves.

  17. 9-Iron Man says:

    Spinner shafts? Great looks? Sign me up! Solid review Jake!

  18. ole gray says:

    Beautiful simple but elegant wedges is what comes to my mind when looking at these beauties. Feel around the greens is important to me and that is what I was interested in hearing from these wedges. Thanks Jake for bringing all the info one would need about these obviously awesome wedges!

  19. George Walker says:

    Don’t forget to vote for Rickie on the EA Sports cover contest. His sponsors are giving away some of his gear. http://mygp.me/krm

  20. Thechosen1 says:

    Thanks Jake. I’m certainly not a fan of the chrome/dark one. But the simple design looks great.

    Thanks for taking the time to do a write-up on these.

  21. Paulo says:

    Great review Jake! Really enjoyed reading that. You definitely are enjoying these wedges, and it’s an amazing feeling when something you love the look of actually pulls through and performs too!

    Bridgestone really are bringing it on the equipment front, to back up their amazing ball offerings.

  22. Dr. Teeth says:

    Great stuff Jake!!! This is a great year for wedges and it looks like Bridgestone has produced a great one themselves. I love the look of these and love that they come with the Spinners. There is so much to like about these wedges. It looks like Bridgestone is going to have a big year!

  23. Canio says:

    It seems that there is a very crowded field with so many excellent wedges out there. This sounds like another excellent wedge that demands to be tried.

  24. pkielwa says:

    Wow! Beautiful!

  25. Hanks says:

    Great review buddy! I can tell that you really liked these and with the price point being below other’s wedges these shoud be on everyone’s minds when it’s time to replace their current wedges. Nice job Jake!

  26. Griff says:

    I can see some things I really like about these. Nice write up J!

  27. hongman says:

    Very nice review Jason…. fantastically yummy looking wedges that have performance to back up the good looks. Can’t wait to get my hands on a few to try out, as I really need a 50 or 52 fill in a gap with my current Cleveland wedges. Oh heck, maybe I should just get an entirely new set of wedges :) !!

  28. clint says:

    I’ve just ordered the J40 wedges in 54* and 58* black oxide finish mostly thanks to reviews like yours which I’ve read a couple times by the way. I haven’t even seen them in the flesh as no one here in New Zealand seems to sell them? Ah well, they’ll be arriving in a week or so, best part?, I got both of them brand new for $175.
    Great review.

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