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5 Questions with... Bridgestone Golf's Director of Ball Marketing, Corey Consuegra

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In this week's ‘5 Questions' we chat to Bridgestone Golf's Director of Golf Ball Marketing, Corey Consuegra.
 
Thanks for taking the time to share a little more about yourself and Bridgestone Golf with MGSers, Corey!
 
Tell us a bit about yourself Corey - how long have you been with Bridgestone Golf? How's your golf game? What's in your bag at the moment?
I have had the privilege of working for Bridgestone Golf for the past 10 years. Our brand has gone from “middle of the pack” in the golf ball category to the #2 position as a result of hard work and our efforts to better understand the needs of consumers/amateurs.  Ball Fitting has allowed us to speak directly with the golfers that are the game's lifeblood and as such we have developed product for a wide range of players from the beginner to the weekend warrior, to the avid golfer and the Pro.
 
Sadly, my bag is in the midst of a major overhaul. As someone who needs more forgiveness (10hdcp), I will be making the switch from the J40 CB's to our new J15 Dual Pocket. They look amazing at address, but the minimal twisting at impact will keep the ball online longer. As for the driver, I will put the new J815 in the bag, again for maximum forgiveness.
 
From a personal standpoint, I live in Covington, GA and have an amazing wife and 2 children (7yrs old and 5yrs old). I am a die-hard baseball fan and love to be outside fishing, running, hiking and just walking!

 

In the US Bridgestone has been better known as a tire manufacturer than a golf equipment manufacturer - how difficult has it been over the last 10 years to establish Bridgestone Golf as distinct from Bridgestone?

As a division of the largest rubber company in the world, we have had great success being associated with our tire division. We collaborate closely on golf related efforts including the WGC-Bridgestone Invitational, Performance Center events at 10-12 PGA Tour stops annually and for TV commercials with Matt Kuchar, Fred Couples and even David Feherty.
 
At Bridgestone Golf, we leverage the parent company's expertise in rubber manufacturing and polymer science. In fact, we have 900+ engineers on staff who help with all facets of rubber development and that has helped Bridgestone Golf to create balls that fly farther, spin less off the tee, more around the green and be as aerodynamic as possible.
 
At the end of the day, we are fortunate to be a part of such a unique and diverse brand. We use this to our advantage in all facets of our business and it is a privilege to be a part of an organization that puts its customers' needs first and never stops innovating.
 
What can you share about the plans going forward for the North American market?
In the US Market, we are studying consumers' needs and preferences closely, especially through our Ball Fitting program. Consumers are looking for even better feel off of all clubs without sacrificing distance and performance. There is usually a give and take relationship with soft golf balls for feel as they tend to sacrifice distance, but we are working hard to further engineer our core to deliver faster speeds while maintaining the best feeling compression level possible.
 
As for our Ball Fitting program, we now have 25 teams around the US actively reaching 40,000-50,000 golfers annually. We recognize that there are millions of golfers around the US who need a custom fitting and may not be able to reach a live fitting. For this reason, we are expanding our online ball fitting program to be more accessible at retail and online. What makes our online program unique and different from others is the database constantly references live fitting data and compares your needs and information to people just like you to provide the most optimal fit. If you have not completed an online fitting, click here and see for yourself.

 

What is the process like for developing new tech at Bridgestone Golf? Is there a lot of trial and error? Is there much transferability between what the tire manufacturing teams and the golf teams work on?

Great timing for this question. Our new Tour Prototypes have just arrived here in Covington and we are actively testing. We immediately take the first versions (3-4 models of each) and test with our PGA Tour, LPGA Tour and Champions Tour professionals. During the same time frame, we gather consumers from our Ball Fitting Database and conduct “amateur” testing for maximum data. Once complete, we share this information with our R&D Team along with recommendations for changes and improvements. We will go through this process at least 2-3 times before finalizing the model.
 
At the end of the day, we want the product that hits the shelves to be the best it can possibly be for the end user. This process is expensive and tedious, but critical to creating the best performing golf balls possible.
 
Can you tell us a bit more about the Hydro Core in the B330 series? How is it supposed to improve performance?
In 2014, we introduced HydroCore technology to our B330 series. This technology was created by an engineer who substituted water (H20) for another substance used in “baking” the core. Water was intended to be a substitute or additive but actually provided great benefit. It delivered a softer core center than prior generation and a firmer outer region. The direct benefit was a lower spinning tee shot from the softer center while the firmer outer region would produce more speed. The combination resulted in longer distance.
 
Making the core softer or the core firmer is not innovative. Anyone can do that, but what made the HydroCore center unique is that we were able to do both with a new formulation and baking process.

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Interesting. Sounds like a fun job to have. If I understood Corey correctly... the Hydro-core is water in the center of the ball. Or is water just used during the "baking" process with no actual liquid left in the ball. If I remember, didn't the old balata wound balls have a small red rubber core filled with water or some other substance. I sure seem to recall something to that effect.

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Interesting. Sounds like a fun job to have. If I understood Corey correctly... the Hydro-core is water in the center of the ball. Or is water just used during the "baking" process with no actual liquid left in the ball. If I remember, didn't the old balata wound balls have a small red rubber core filled with water or some other substance. I sure seem to recall something to that effect.

 

Hey PJ, great question! With the HydroCore water is used in the core mixing process but there is none left over in the actual core in the finished product.  You can't shake the ball and hear water like you could in the old liquid center golf balls.  It is strictly about how the core formulation was mixed and then baked.

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Did I mis-read that? Was the core effect intended, or did they stumble upon it as an unintended byproduct during development? Maybe its just the way it was worded?

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