Bridgestone Golf, which has risen to second spot in the massive US golf ball market in recent years through a successful nationwide ball-fitting campaign, has committed itself to building a similar share in Europe’s biggest golf ball market.
To focus resources on this objective, a new subsidiary company has been established – Bridgestone Golf UK Limited – which will drive an ambitious ball-fitting programme around British and Irish golf clubs in the coming months. This will be supported by a high-profile marketing campaign featuring some of the best-known names in golf, including US Ryder Cup captain Davis Love III. As part of its new focus, Bridgestone Golf has also published the Modern Golf Ball Report 2012.
“The market in the UK & Ireland is a very important one for us and, together with our retail partners, we are determined to build the golf ball business here in the years to come,” says Akiji Shimizu, CEO for Bridgestone Golf UK.
It is seven years since the Bridgestone brand switched from the famous Precept golf ball identity that captured tournament titles around the world for nearly two decades. Now Bridgestone Golf is the single brand name taking the golf ball range forward with live custom fitting sessions at the heart of the new approach.
During the last six years, Bridgestone has conducted almost 180,000 ball fittings across North America, Australia and the UK and Ireland– becoming the game’s undisputed No.1 ball-fitter. As a result of giving amateur golfers the same fitting as a leading Tour player, the company has created an unrivalled database of individual case studies and identified a simple truth.
In the words of brand ambassador David Feherty, the former European Ryder Cup player who now appears as a golf analyst on American TV, “There’s not a one-size fits all golf ball.”
Using a Bridgestone Science Eye Field machine, as many as three out of four amateur golfers (75%) involved in the live custom-fit sessions have been found to have a swing speed of less than 105 mph – yet half of them chose to use a ball designed expressly for the faster swing speeds of the elite Tour players who average more than 112 mph when striking a ball.
The result is usually a complete miss-match as the amateur player lacks sufficient swing speed to compress the Tour Pro golf ball enough to realise its full performance potential. Yet the correct diagnosis can add more than 10 yards to the golfer’s driving distance and deliver more accurate shots consistently.
“Many high-handicap players think that the golf ball can’t make a difference to their distance,” says Golf Technician Joe Di Stefano. “But changing the cheapest part of their equipment can really make a big difference and in nine out of ten cases we can always give them more distance.
“A lot of golfers also think that a harder ball will go further, when the opposite is true. I often ask them: ‘would you rather hit a snooker ball or a tennis ball with your driver?’ It’s obvious that a tennis ball will be more responsive and the same is true of a softer golf ball hit with a consistent swing,” adds Joe.
The Bridgestone Golf B330 series of golf balls offers two options for both Tour players and amateurs alike, each with different spin or distance characteristics to help those with swing speeds above and below 105 mph get the best results.
Bridgestone Golf www.bridgestonegolf.com