November 20, 2019
By Andrew Tursky, Equipment Insider, PGATOUR.COM
- Matt Kuchar recently switched to the new Bridgestone Tour B X prototype golf ball. (Cliff Hawkins/Getty Images)
SEA ISLAND, Ga. – Ahead of the 2019 A Military Tribute at The Greenbrier, Bryson DeChambeau made headlines by switching into a new Bridgestone Tour B X prototype golf ball. While Bridgestone has remained quiet on the new design, DeChambeau reportedly picked up 750 rpm worth of spin with the new ball around the greens, compared to the older Tour B X golf ball he had been using since 2018, and he saw a more consistent launch.
Fellow Bridgestone golf ball staffer Matt Kuchar, who has used the company’s golf balls since 2005, also recently switched to the new Bridgestone Tour B X prototype golf ball before his T14 finish at the 2019 Mayakoba Golf Classic. Like DeChambeau, Kuchar saw an increase in performance around the greens compared to his older Tour B X model, but Kuchar also told PGATOUR.COM that he added distance, too.
Bridgestone is remaining tight-lipped about the design of the new prototype golf ball, or any retail possibilities, but in talking with PGATOUR.COM ahead of the 2019 RSM Classic, Kuchar revealed a bit of information about the golf ball. He also explained how he goes about testing new golf balls and exactly how much distance he’s picked up.
As we wait for Bridgestone to make an announcement about retail, enjoy the full conversation between Kuchar and PGATOUR.COM regarding the new Tour B X golf ball prototype!
PGATOUR.COM: What was it that you saw in the initial testing with this new prototype that made you want to switch into it for competition?
MATT KUCHAR: The guys from Bridgestone came down a couple months ago, and we did some testing. It’s interesting, you get on Trackman and it validates a lot, but I like to do my own validation. The Trackman numbers certainly showed higher ball speed off the driver, the chip shots had more bite, but I had to put the ball through my own proving ground. I took it out on the course. It’s amazing to be able to combine the wants that everybody wants; you want the driver to go further and you want the chip shots to spin more. To be able to do that seems impossible, but I think Bridgestone has been able to do that, in large part due to this new reactive cover. It gets higher ball speed off the driver -- sure does -- both off Trackman and in my testing. Then the wedge shots are probably the most important thing to me; having that control around the greens is so crucial, and I love the old ball, but this ball is even better around the greens, which is really the big bonus for me.
PGATOUR.COM: Do you get deep into the numbers at all? Bryson plays this prototype golf ball as well, and you know he dives deep into spin numbers and ball speed, but it seems you’re more of an eye-test guy.
KUCHAR: Don’t compare me and Bryson (laughs). No, I’m pretty simple. There’s ball speed off the driver, chipping/wedging, and then there’s the land angle with the irons, which is important. Those are the three things where I’ll check out the numbers, but then, for me, it’s a bit visual. And more than visual, it’s going out and hitting five drives off the tee with one ball, then five drives off the tee with the other, and comparing. Then chip shots around the green and comparing. I guess I’d be a bit more trial-and-error than going strictly off the numbers. But the beauty about what we do today is you can do it all.
PGATOUR.COM: Would you recommend that process to amateurs who are going through ball testing themselves; hit five drives with one ball and five with the other and comparing?
KUCHAR: Yes, absolutely. Trial and error. You’re going to end up seeing one that’s definitely better for you. It’s kind of fun to go out and have two different balls marked up, and try them. Everybody loves that extra 5-10 yards off the tee. If you get that, and you can actually physically see it, that’s a big bonus.
PGATOUR.COM: Do you feel you’ve picked up 5-10 yards, or what kind of distance gains have you seen?
KUCHAR: What I’m seeing is 3-4 yards, but that’s a bonus combined with some extra feel around the greens. It’s a win-win.