Bridgestone J38 Driver Review

With all the new driver releases put out every single year in the world of golf, some clubs simply get overlooked. The Bridgestone J33R driver fell into that category in the minds of THP and we never really understood why. The driver had a lot going for it when it was released and still has golfers around the world raving about the traditional looking driver that packs some serious punch. When testing the J33R last year, our golfers all had the same thoughts, “Traditional shape with great performance and feel” and when you have that kind of loyal following, how can you improve on it? During our testing of the J33R driver it seemed as though the club was definitely geared towards the better player and was loved by the low handicaps involved, however, it was not the most forgiving driver we have tried. Could Bridgestone Golf add forgiveness without losing the performance that the last design implemented so well?

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Technology & Specs
From the Company:
Shortly after its introduction, Bridgestone Golf’s J33R 460 quickly earned the nickname “Spin Killer” from consumers throughout the U.S. for its ability to dramatically reduce spin for explosive distance. This year, Bridgestone Golf will unveil its new J38 460 Driver and J38 Fairway Woods with improved construction for added forgiveness, and the same great low spinning performance for which the J33 woods were known.

The new J38 460 Driver boasts Bridgestone’s proprietary Rigid Sole Design (R.S.D.) Technology providing a firmer sole designed to produce higher launch and lower spin off the tee, with enhanced feel and sound. In addition, the J38 460 features a new Extended Crown Profile from its shallow face for an ever lower and deeper center of gravity, resulting in higher launch and lower spin for longer carry and maximum distance.

The J38 460 utilizes a 6-4 titanium head construction with a thin crown wall section, allowing discretionary weight to be moved to the perimeter for additional forgiveness on mis-hits. In addition, the 460cc head size combines with an enhanced face thickness to provide additional forgiveness and create a higher MOI producing more distance.

“The J38 woods will continue with the heritage of low spinning and high launching heads to maximize distance while expanding the forgiveness across the entire face for more distance on mis-hits,” said Danny Le, Golf Club Marketing Manager – Bridgestone Golf, Inc.

The J38 460 Driver is available in 8.5, 9.5 and 10.5 degrees of loft and comes standard with a Fujikura Motore F1 65 graphite shaft and Golf Pride grips. Custom shaft and grip options will be available. The Bridgestone J38 460 Driver will feature a street price of $399 (MSRP $449) and will be available at golf specialty stores and green grass retailers nationwide in March 2010.

Looks
The Hackers Paradise got a sneak peek at the J38 driver last year when THP & Bridgestone teamed up to send someone to the WGC tournament last year. While there our readers were able to see some early pictures of the entire J38 line. While those pictures gave us a great idea of what the club looked like, you really cannot appreciate the looks of this new driver until you see it in person.

The 1st thing you notice about the Bridgestone J38 driver is the headcover is great looking. Black and dark red with yellow piping, most of the headcover has a patent leather type of appearance that really makes it shine. Once you take the headcover off, the looks continue to get better. Like its older brother, the J38 is still very traditional shaped and has an all black crown with no sight line. The sole of the club has an almost star like pattern that is highlighted with a metallic red that makes it stand out from the crowd. The Fujikura Motore F1 shaft is done in red and yellow that really just brings everything together. When it came down to looks, Bridgestone Golf has officially arrived with a gorgeous new club that should give anybody confidence on the tee box.

Testing
With an incredible showing in the 2010 THP Driver Shoot Out, earning a top 5 spot overall, I was eager to try this driver out on the course and was able to play approximately 6 rounds and countless range sessions with it. What I found was a driver that Bridgestone Golf should be incredibly proud of and at the same time something pretty unique. During my first few range tests I noticed that the J38 was extremely low spinning, similar to that of the original J33R, but this newer version would definitely benefit a larger range of golfers. The club is listed as high launch, and during our testing we found the launch to be extremely high and that definitely gave many testers that extra distance they were craving. If you struggle with a ball that is too high and/or ballooning, you definitely want to be properly fit for a driver like this because the high launch could take that to another level, but despite that, we did not really have a single tester with a whole lot of negatives about the new Bridgestone J38 driver. In fact the only thing that our testers really complained about was the stock grip was not very good.

There were 2 things that separated this driver from that of the J33R and both helped put this on the must try list of 2010. First, is the hot face that the J38 packs at impact. The ball simply jumps off the face and seems to get way up in the air and stay there for extreme carry off the tee. The second is the added forgiveness…There is no comparison between the forgiveness of the new driver and that of the J33R. Missing off the toe or heel, golfers were still getting high and straight tee shots that frankly were just not available to those missing the same way with the previous model. The Bridgestone J38 may be the best combination of performance and forgiveness we have see to date out of the new 2010 drivers.

Overall
If Bridgestone Golf’s major goal with the new J38 driver is to please the masses without taking away from the lower handicapped golfers, they have done so. The new driver packs a serious punch in performance and at the same time adds a level of forgiveness that THP has not seen in the drivers from Bridgestone up until now. After testing this one out for a couple of months it is permanently planted on our must try list for 2010. Distance, Accuracy, Looks, Sound, and Feel all make up our testing categories for drivers and the Bridgestone J38 delivered on all of them. For more information on this new driver or any other products that Bridgestone Golf has, check out their website at www.bridgestonegolf.com.

Till Next Time

Josh B.

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