I was selected to test the new Bridgestone B12 Speed. This ball is considered “Distance Performance Class”. Per the Bridgestone website the B12 Speed is a “3-piece surlyn golf ball that delivers sidespin reducing performance, with explosive distance off the tee with a solid feel. Bridgestone’s proprietary new Active Acceleration Mantle layer is a key component of the 3-piece construction. The Active Acceleration Mantle is comprised of a new High Performance Polymer material that provides increased thrust and higher initial velocity at impact, while allowing Bridgestone to enhance the core for greater forgiveness and enhanced feel. Designed specifically for players with greater than 105 MPH driver swing speeds. The e12 SPEED utilizes Bridgestone’s Delta Wing Dimple pattern for less drag and optimized aerodynamics in the cover.”
Lots of big words that basically sound to me like a 3 piece, hard cover ball that should fly straighter but still feel “soft”. If I sound skeptical, I am. I’ve not played a surlyn covered ball in many, many years as I’ve found them to feel hard and harsh. That said, if the feel is there and the ball flies straighter (as they claim), then I’m very interested.
A little about me. I’m a 41 year old regular guy who works as an administrator in the healthcare field. A former college football player who took the game up my freshman year in college. Up until about 2 years ago, I played multiple times per week. Then I took over as president of our local classic car club and golf went away for 2 years. I made a decision to step down and play more golf again. My game isn’t where it was when I stepped away but everything is there… just have to find that consistency. I live in South Georgia. We normally golf year round here… unless it’s the 40 year flood which apparently is happening right now. For me, a golf ball needs to feel soft and it needs to help me with height and carry since I’m a low spin player. My current HDCP is 10.3 and dropping but I’ve been as low as a 4. My ball flight is a mid-low, penetrating flight, generally with a slight cut right to left (yes, I’m a lefty). My typical miss is hitting it heavy when I get too quick and move too much (dip my head/shoulder). Strengths of my game are putting and full irons. Weaknesses are partial iron/wedge shots and fairway woods off the deck, although this new 5 wood has been money.
My current bag is as follows:
Driver: TM 2017 M1 w/ DI-6S, 10.5*
5 wood: Callaway Rogue Sub Zero, Aldila Synergy
3 Hybrid: Callaway Rogue X, Aldila Synergy
5 Hybrid: Callaway Rogue X, Aldila Synergy
Irons 5-PW: Srixon Z565, Miyazaki 8S 6554
GW 50*, SW 55* & LW 58*: Ping Glide 2.0 w/ stock steel shafts.
Putter: Big Oak Havana or Slighter Custom (both 33”)
Ball: Vice Pro Soft (matte yellow) - decided to try this ball because of the promise of tour quality for a good price. After doing the online fitting and some research, the Pro Soft became my ball of choice.
So what is it about golf that I enjoy? There is something special about a game where you play by yourself, call penalties on yourself, and the only one who know if you’re honest are you and God. It’s a game where you can go out on a late afternoon, alone, and simply enjoy the fresh air or you tee it up at 6:45 in the morning with 3 buddies and challenge each other for best score. No matter how you play on any given day, there is always that one shot you hit that you know was perfect… and it keeps you coming back to find a way to replicate that shot over and over.
The balls arrived and when I pulled them out of the box the first thing that struck me was this ball is bright white.
I’ve been playing the Vice Pro Soft which is a matte finish and the brightness of the glossy finish on this ball is impressive. First thing I did was the “bite test”. The cover is not as hard as I was expecting. It’s not as soft feeling as the Vice to me, but it’s not a rock. I also did the same an unidentified test ball from Titleist and the B12 felt extremely similar to the Titleist. The dimples on all 3 balls were similar as well… shallow would be the best way to describe them. I like the “B” logo as opposed to the older “Bridgestone” logo they used to put on balls and the overall finish is of very high quality unlike some other balls of this level I’ve played in the past.
A quick trip to the putting green revealed that while it’s not as hard as I was expecting, it’s “firmer” feeling than my Vice balls. Putts seem to come off the face faster and roll out a little more. Nothing uncontrollable, just more than I’ve been accustomed to. Pitches come out lower and hotter and there doesn’t seem to be any stopping this ball with spin.
As far as my plan for testing… I’m plan to play the snot out of these balls until they wear out or decide to go swimming. I will spend lots of time at our practice facility putting, chipping, and pitching with these and put them head to head with not only the Vice Pro Soft, but the Cut Blue and Pro V1x. I’ve also got approval from the pro to spend some on course time hitting multiple shots from 200, 150, and 100 yards with each to see how they react. I’ll use this ball during our weekly 9 hole Thursday scramble and play it in my regular weekend rounds. As I said before, I’m skeptical about how much I will like this ball simply because of the cover material. Stay tuned for my full review and see if Bridgestone can make a believer out of me.