It was not long ago that Bridgestone was sitting in the second position in terms of golf ball sales and popularity. The ProV1 has been top dog for a while now, but Bridgestone was not far behind.
In the past few years, Callaway has supplanted Bridgestone as the clear #2 golf ball brand and the likes of TaylorMade and Srixon are vying for the 3, 4, and 5 spots respectively.
At the same time, there has not been a lot of real and substantive innovation in the golf ball market making the market ripe for something new.
With the invention of what Bridgestone calls “Reactive Urethane,” they believe that they are ready to reclaim their place in the golf ball market. The following is a Bridgestone Tour B XS Review including the new technology that is used in this golf ball.
Things to Consider
The Tour B XS golf ball from Bridgestone is one of the best all-around golf balls on the market. The Tour B XS is such a good golf ball that it is what Tiger uses along with many other Tour Pros.
As a general rule, ball manufacturers create 2 balls in their high end category. The first golf ball is the soft, high spin, great feel players model. The second is the low spin, high launch, increased distance model.
Generally they separate the 2 into the normal version and the “x” version and you know that you are either sacrificing distance or feel when you choose one golf ball over the other.
Features and Benefits of The Bridgestone Tour B XS
The new Bridgestone “Reactiv” technology is changing that paradigm. The goal is to create a golf ball that gives you a high spin rate and soft feel without losing any distance. Every good golf ball company advertises that, but when it comes down to it, you have to choose.
Bridgestone believes that the Reactiv Urethane cover has given them the ability to separate the design features that produce spin from the design features that produce distance so that they can increase both simultaneously.
Can you create a golf ball that is workable and controllable, soft, with great feel and spin around the green while at the same time maintaining the distance of a lower spinning golf ball.
Bridgestone believes that you can and that they did.
Reactiv Urethane technology is not just a change in aerodynamics or aesthetics. It is 2 covers in 1 so that it reacts with different clubs differently.
There is a quicker compression time off of the driver face and a longer compression time with irons and wedges. The quicker compression makes the ball jump off the face of the driver while the longer compression time interacts more thoroughly with the loft and grooves of your irons and wedges.
The results: 1.5 mph higher ball speed off of the driver and 350 more rpm with a wedge. In short, it seems to have worked.
This ball is especially good for lower handicap players while higher handicappers and beginners may have trouble controlling it.
- Produces high spin rates.
- A great ball around the green.
- Very workable for drawing and fading shots.
- The Reactiv cover showed improvement regardless of skill level and golf ball.
- A shorter compression time off the driver face.
- A longer compression time with irons and wedges.
- One of the best combinations of spin and distance on the market.
- Great for lower handicap players and Tour Professionals.
- One of the best spin rates on the market.
- Maintains total distance that is as good or better than any ball out there.
- Not as good for higher handicap players and beginners.
- Total distance is as high as any ball on the market, but the increased spin may make it difficult for players who are not as accurate off the tee.
- Not as straight as some of the other options out there.
The Bridgestone Tour B XS Review
Construction (Rating: 5 out of 5)
The Bridgestone Tour B XS, like the Titleist ProV1, is a 3-layer golf ball. The core is a gradational compression core with a compression rating of 75 giving the ball its softness and great feel. The second layer is a relatively thick mantle layer compared to other golf balls. The final layer is the Reactiv Urethane cover with SlipRes technology and a seamless cover with 330 dimples.
Reactiv Urethane Cover
The cover technology of the Bridgestone B XS is the most important and innovative aspect of this golf ball. The Reactiv Urethane was developed to do something that golf ball manufacturers have only dreamed about…Create a distance ball with a lot of control and spin. This cover is basically like having 2 separate covers that interact separately and differently with different clubs. When you strike the ball with the force of a driver, the compression time is quicker and the ball flies off the face of the driver. When you strike the ball with an iron or wedge, the compression time is longer so that the ball has a better opportunity to interact with the loft and the grooves of the club.
Performance (Rating: 5 out of 5)
This is a players golf ball that provides great spin and workability on the course which usually means that it is not as long. In the case of the B XS golf ball, however, it is as long as any other ball on the market in terms of total distance.
That means that the ball will not fly as straight as others but it will go just as far. It is meant for players who are more concerned with working the ball around the course through fades and draws that just hitting the ball long and straight.
If you hit a draw 300 yards in the air, it is just not going to end up as long as a straight shot that goes 300 yards even though they traveled the same distance.
The launch angle is somewhat progressive as well, just like the rest of the ball. When you hit your driver, you get a nice mid level trajectory and a good ball flight.
When you are hitting irons and wedges, the launch angle is on the higher side because of the slower compression time on the club face. This extra launch height makes your approach shots a little softer and easier to stick.
Above everything else, this is a ball that promotes spin. In fact, the new Reactiv cover promotes even more spin while also creating more distance.
This is kind of like the holy grail of golf ball technology and especially for a ball designed to be a players golf ball. The spin allows really good golfers to control the ball from the tee and around the green. The added distance combined with the spin is what sets this ball apart.
With a compression rating of 85, this is a really soft golf ball with great feel around the greens. You can feel the softness in your hands when you are hitting your driver and long irons, and it performs around the green as well or better than any other golf ball out there.
This added distance is great, but maintaining high end feel is one of the reasons good golfers, like Tiger Woods, use this ball.
Cost (Rating 3.5 out of 5)
The cost is about average for the quality and features of the golf ball. You will spend about what you would on the TaylorMade TP5 and Titleist ProV1.
It is up to you to decide if the new features of the Bridgestone Tour B XS are more suited for your game than the other alternatives.
Alternatives to The Bridgestone Tour B XS
You will notice that the alternatives to this golf ball are some of the best and well-known balls on the market. Bridgestone is hoping to become the major competition of the ProV1 and these are the balls they have to compete against.
The Titleist ProV1 has been the gold standard of golf balls for years and there is no sign of that changing any time soon. In fact, the Reactiv cover on the Bridgestone may well be the first real golf ball innovation since the ProV1 took over as “king of golf balls.” The ProV1, as you would expect, is long, controllable, soft, and has a great spin rate. You also have the option to go with the ProV1x to take away some of the spin and focus on distance. The only real downside of the ProV1 is the price (which is the same as the Bridgestone) and the fact that it is made for low handicappers (which is also the same for the Bridgestone).
To overtake the ProV1, Bridgestone has to continue to develop the Reactiv Urethane cover and hope that it continues to add distance and spin simultaneously. While the ProV1 is still the no. 1 ball in golf, there is a reason that Tiger is using the B XS. It provides great distance and higher spin rates than even the ProV1. However, the ProV1 is still long and it is easier to hit and easier to control. If you are looking for supreme workability, the B XS is probably more for you, but for consistency and a great all-around golf ball, the ProV1 is king for a reason.
The TaylorMade TP5 golf ball is quite similar to the Bridgestone B XS. It is a 5 layer golf ball which many golfers will hear and automatically equate with quality. This golf ball is very workable and has a really high spin rate. It is as soft as the Bridgestone B XS and the spin rate is similar. The main difference is, again, the SlipRes technology and Reactiv Urethane cover.
The ability to separate the features that add distance from those that add spin and to increase or decrease them independently of each other is what sets the B XS apart from the TP5. In this case, the Bridgestone has all of the softness and feel of the TP5 but with a little better distance. In our opinion, the TP5 and B XS are similar golf balls with the edge in performance and technology going to the Bridgestone.
The Callaway Chrome Soft golf balls give you great distance and excellent interaction with wedges but the workability leaves a little to be desired. They are a little more expensive than the Bridgestone and a little more forgiving as well.
The main advantage that the Bridgestone has over the Callaway Chrome Soft is how easy they are to work around the course with draws and fades but without losing any distance. The Callaway Chrome Soft is just as good on and around the greens, and they are pretty equal off of the tee. The Callaways are easier to hit straight but the Bridgestones are slightly longer and easier to work.
Bridgestone Tour B XS Review – Overall Rating (4 out of 5)
The Bridgestone B XS is one of the best golf balls on the market and definitely one of the most innovative. There is a reason that players like Tiger, Bryson DeChambeau, and Matt Kuchar are using Bridgestone golf balls on tour.
They give you ultimate workability without losing even a yard of distance and not many golf balls can make that claim. The Reactiv Urethane cover along with the SlipRes technology allow the golf ball to interact differently with different clubs giving you the best in feel, softness, and distance depending on the club and the swing.
As this technology progresses, the ability to independently increase spin and distance without negatively impacting the other could be a game changer in the golf ball world.