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2019 Official Forum Member Review- Bridgestone Tour B XW-1 Wedge

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Last Year's Bridgesgtone wedge was a hit with our reviewer's and forum members alike that tried them.   Check out the reviews on the 2019 Tour B XW-1 by three of our members who will be putting their short games to the test with these beauties.  

@hartrick11               Stage 1             Stage 2

@SteddyGolf               Stage 1            Stage 2

@TR1PTIK                   Stage 1            Stage 2

 

Bridgestone B WX-1 Wedge.jpeg

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During the last six weeks I have played 8 full rounds of golf, in dry, hard-pan Arizona courses, lush, green Southern California courses, and one really soggy post-rainstorm track. I have also gotten in 12 separate practice sessions (two off matts, the rest on grass and short game area). This test was a ton of fun and all the focused short game practice really helped my game. I can’t thank MGS and Bridgestone enough for the opportunity to put these beauties through the paces. With that, let’s get to it!

 

Looks: (9 out of 10)

Traditionalists will love the classic look of this wedge at address. The shape, the finish, the milling, and most of the detailing could fit in just as well in 1999 as 2019. I think the “B” badging on the back is an improvement from 2018, as well as the satin finish which I think has less glare when comparing against some of the reviews from last year. The Modus shaft & Golf Pride MCC grips complement the premium look.

I deducted 1 point due to the excessive detailing on the back, which I think is a step back from last year’s model and detracts from the otherwise simple elegance these wedges seem like they are trying to evoke. First, there is no need for “Biting Rail Milled” to be etched in. Milled faces aren’t going to separate these clubs from other wedge offerings. Making a true forged wedge with premium feel for $140? THAT is what should sell the discerning golfer on Bridgestone over Vokey/Ping/TM/Callaway/Cobra. Just a thought, but if you feel the need to advertise something on the back of the club (in my book you don’t; less is more), lead with your biggest differentiator! “Biting Rail Milled” sounds like a gimmick that was cooked up in a Carlsbad marketing meeting circa 2014. Smaller nits for stamping the sole, which attracts dirt, as well as the random lines on the bottom of the back of the clubs, though these are not major issues.

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Sound & Feel: (10 out of 10)

This is a 1020 forged wedge, and as one might expect, the feel is a top, and in my opinion the top, selling point for Bridgestone. As a recent convert to forged irons, I very much appreciated the muted thud of a well-struck gap wedge that closely aligned with my iron set. For me, there is nothing in golf quite like the feeling when I know I just nutted one with a single-piece forged iron, and I’m waiting to see where my ball will land, inner excitement building to an impossible-to-contain smile when the ball lands and sticks right where I want it. These wedges deliver the goods here.

I would note that this feeling does not translate to poorly struck shots, however. The sounds became a bit clicky, letting me and my playing partners know that I’d just missed my mark, and led to a decidedly less exciting feeling & reaction on my part. I think this feedback is totally warranted (though a bit more clicky/harder feeling than my 1025 Cobra Forged CBs when mishit), and wouldn’t deduct any points, but think it warrants mentioning for those who may care.

Basic Characteristics: 18 out of 20

Accuracy – Point-and-shoot, at least when my swing is working! For full swings, as long as you aren’t too steep with the angle of attack, the blades cut right through the grass, even in thick rough. I really appreciated the sharp leading edges when I was in the tall grass – these definitely didn’t get caught up as much as my Pings do, resulting in fewer “tugs” left of target. The milled face and sharp grooves also provide plenty of spin, comparable to most other offerings I’ve tried.

Trajectory – These are high-flyers. In testing, my launch angle on full shots with the 50˚ was 33-38˚ (3-5 degrees higher than my set GW), and with the 54˚ was 40-45˚ (also about 3-5˚ higher on average than my Ping Glide 2.0 Stealth 54˚ (my Ping LW is 58˚ vs. the Bridgestone 60˚, so that comparison wasn’t apples-to-apples). This was off of a mat with range balls, so exact numbers will of course vary in game conditions, but the stats did back up my experience on the course. I think the shaft choice (Modus 105) has a lot to do with this. It doesn’t make sense in my view to make a wedge targeting better golfers, who generally have higher swing speeds, and pair it with a lighter steel shaft that launches pretty high. For anyone ordering online, there are several no-upcharge shaft options so this does not need to be an issue for would-be buyers, but we were testing stock offerings.

Distance Control – I added about ½ club of distance vs my other clubs, due to trajectory being higher. I eventually was able to control these just fine as long as wind wasn’t crazy, and importantly there were no random fliers.

Workability – I would break this up into full shots & short game. For short game purposes, these are extremely workable. I loved opening the face with these, which I don’t do a ton of with my Pings. Another favorite is the toe down chip for shorter shots, utilizing the M grind’s relief. Here are a couple of videos from one of my practice sessions (note: I will update so that these are embedded).

https://www.instagram.com/mgshartrick/p/BxQj_mUF_9x/?igshid=7o00azf3vqrl

https://www.instagram.com/mgshartrick/p/BxQjioWFFwE/?igshid=h5gmxrjx7mh2

For full swings, I have two shots with these wedges – high, and higher. I am not the best at flighting down a wedge anyway, but absolutely couldn’t do it with these.

https://www.instagram.com/mgshartrick/p/BxaSGE1hQpU/?igshid=tgdpjr6sll49

Forgiveness – On full swings, hitting out by the toe would cause me to miss my target short, and hitting thin would send me off the back. If you are in the target market for these wedges, that is likely to be expected. On shorter shots like pitches & chips, I think the versatility of these clubs is a major benefit as mentioned above, but the drawback to that versatility is that they are not as forgiving as some other offerings. They can definitely dig in soft conditions or if your angle of attack is steep, especially on the 54˚ that I use for a lot of 30-60 yard pitches and tend to get steep with. Now that my testing is complete and I have a substantial dataset, I may adjust the loft on the 54˚ up to 55˚ just to add a little extra bounce, and hopefully forgiveness on stock chips where I am not laying the face open.

On-Course Performance: 25 out of 30

These clubs perform as they should. Sure, you can say that about offerings from all the OEMs really, but at $140 per club, to get that performance in a one-piece 1020 forging is quite a feat in my book. The versatile sole grind should appeal to golfers with a strong short game. If you are that type of golfer, you can do pretty much anything you want with them. For my game, I LOVE the feel, the performance on full swings, elevating out of thick rough, and chipping in firm conditions. The highlight of my testing was a 78 on Torrey Pines North where I set a personal best with 7 up-and-down saves, 5 for par and 2 to save bogey. Have I always tracked up-and-down stats this closely? No! But I feel very confident this was a high water mark for my short game.

That being said, I deducted points for ball flight being higher than ideal, and for the sole grinds requiring just a little bit more precision than I currently have. I need to keep working at my game to feel more confident using a wedge with a sharp leading edge and lower bounce in certain situations, and have had several chunks over the last few weeks, as well as overcorrection skull jobs as a result of fearing the chunk. Note – the bounce listed on all three of these is 10˚. I’ve included a side-by-side of my Ping 54 and the Bridgestone. The Ping has a higher listed bounce of 12˚, as well as additional camber on the leading edge (at least to my eye and turf interaction experience).

image.png.1dce73a83e0de7b71eec1e954383c985.png

If you have confidence in this part of your game, you can feel very confident in the performance of these clubs.

Miscellaneous: 8 out of 10

I’ve already covered my thoughts on the stock shaft offering, and my view on the busy look on the back of the clubs. I should also note that these wedges feel lighter than wedges I have used in the past. The 50˚, 54˚, and 58˚ have swing weights of D3, D3, and D4, respectively – this is lighter than Vokey and TaylorMade, and in line with Ping and Callaway, though the lighter shafts gave them a lighter overall feel than my Pings. I got used to this pretty quickly, but your mileage may vary. The other quibble I have is that they should probably have added the A grind for the 54 degree wedge as well. With modern lofted irons, more golfers use the 54 degree loft as their sand wedge than in the past. Since Bridgestone is marketing their A grind as their most forgiving, it seems like even with a limited budget, they should introduce this grind at 54 degrees in addition to the 56 degree offering. I know this is probably a slippery slope and product teams at some point need to just make tough decisions on what to produce/not produce, but to me that addition would impact a large number of would-be buyers, and wouldn’t create as much added cost as, say, adding a lefty line (sorry southpaws!).

Finally, I’d also note that the wedges are surprisingly durable – I’d expected forged wedges to wear really quickly. Below is from my last range session following 6 weeks of serious work. This includes whacking a few off of the desert floor in AZ after plenty of missed fairways!

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Play it or Trade it? (17 out of 20)

All things equal, I would be happy to buy these clubs knowing what I know now. At $140 per club for a premium forged wedge, these clubs offer outstanding value. That said, all things aren’t equal! I didn’t give 20 out of 20 here because I wouldn’t buy their stock offering if I were starting from scratch. The Modus 105 shafts are too high-launch for me, but I think I’d be ecstatic with these if I had a lower-launching shaft, and Bridgestone doesn’t charge extra for many of these upgrades. In an ideal world, I would buy an F grind 50, A grind 54, and M grind 60, all with the KBS $ Taper or Modus 3 120, both of which are lower-launching, no-upcharge offerings on the Bridgestone website.

I am going to play these for another month or two before making a final decision on keep/trade. Now that I have two sets of wedges I may just game these and keep the Pings on standby in case I play a soggy course.

CONCLUSION  (87 out of 100)

These wedges can compete with the best offerings on the market, albeit with more of a limited selection befitting a niche OEM. While every wedge will have pluses and minuses and the limited grind selection may not work for every golfer, these should be contenders for players who fit Bridgestone’s target demographic. If the 2020/2021 update brings a heavier stock shaft and an additional higher bounce grind (as well as simplified graphics please!), this club would be a perfect 100/100 for me, and I think it would end up being one of those cult classic clubs that you see discussed in forums well after subsequent offerings have come out.

TL;DR

If you are a golfer with a better than average short game and want a versatile, buttery-feeling forged 1020 wedge for a price that will beat most cast offerings from the big OEMs, these will fit the bill! Just be leery of the shaft you select, as the stock offering may be too high-launch for the target audience.

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Posted (edited)

STAGE TWO: The Review {5/14/19}

Bridgestone Tour B XW-1 Wedge – Official MGS Forum Review by TR1PTIK

 

  • Intro

Where to begin… Man, how I have enjoyed this opportunity! Once again, I have to thank MGS and Bridgestone for making this happen.

Over the past several weeks, I have done my best to put these wedges through their paces – range sessions, practice rounds, casual rounds, competitive rounds, and plenty of time in the short game practice area at my home course. Through it all, the Bridgestone Tour B XW-1 wedges have proven to me that they can hang with the best. In my mind, this is definitely a high-performing wedge designed for the player who doesn’t need or want a lot of help; the type of player who likes to play a variety of shots and go at flags on occasion. However, the XW-1 wedges do have their shortcomings. Continue reading to see my thoughts about the wedges that have been occupying space in my (already cramped) golf bag for the past few months…

  • Looks (8/10pts)

There’s no denying that these clubs look incredible, but they fall short of a perfect score. The busyness of the back – with the Superman B, “Biting Rail Milled” stamping, and colored dash lines – plus the “Tour B” stamping on the sole comes off as trying too hard. If I were to change it, I’d keep the B and get rid of everything else except for the loft stamping on the toe – similar to last year’s model. However, the finish looks terrific and the traditional shaping along with minimal offset is exemplary.

In the bag, these wedges are definite eye candy and have drawn a few looks from fellow golfers. Honestly though, I think most in my area are just surprised to see a Bridgestone golf club as I can’t think of anyone I know personally that plays them around here. Regardless, there will be no mistaking these as some cheap imitation club. They are very much the real deal and probably best suited for those shopping in the “players” category of clubs.

179F0FE0-EA13-473E-8390-A649585FFE28.JPEG.68822e979f5d49b29d70f45c1c4f719e.JPEG

 

I did a pretty detailed comparison against my SM5’s following Stage One so I’ll try to summarize that here. If you removed all the graphics and stamping from the XW-1, you’d be hard-pressed to tell the difference – it’s very subtle. The Tour B wedge appears to have less offset and a sharper leading edge, but sole grinds are similar to what can be found in the Vokey lineup.

D485D41D-A986-402D-B94D-AABF2B5280C4.JPEG.89d36743a268cbc012be2e7ebf24d3e9.JPEG

 

  • Sound & Feel (8/10pts)

I hate to break it to Bridgestone, but there is still a discernible “click” when these wedges are mishit towards the toe. I was even more surprised to hear my SM5’s provided a slightly more muted sound in the same region even though they are a cast club. The good news is that strikes closer to the heel aren’t nearly as pronounced and flushed shots equal pure bliss! The feel off of these – when struck well – is every bit as good as you could hope for, but mishits do tend to feel a bit harsh (as they should).

On the shaft and grip side of things, the Modus 3 105 shaft is a curious choice to pair with these heads in my opinion (due largely to its weight), but it’s still stable and smooth throughout the swing. Similarly, the MCC is a great grip and I’ve gamed them in the past. However, my preferred choice these days is definitely the Tour Velvet. Perhaps it’s just me, but the MCC feels a bit spongy in the upper half and I really like a grip that is the same texture and material from top-to-bottom, but this is purely a matter of personal preference.

  • Basic Characteristics (15/20pts)

The first time I got these on the range I was a bit worried. I was still trying to rediscover my swing after a long off-season and I was hitting everything off the toe which is completely out of character for me (though it worked out great for testing). This experience led me to discover the horrendous sound produced by such a miss as mentioned above. Once I worked my way closer to the middle, I began to see some pleasant surprises. At the top of the list was distance.

I told you guys in my Stage One that the gapping between my iron set and my wedge set wasn’t where I wanted it to be, but the XW-1s fixed that right up! The increase in distance was predictable due to the change in loft, but Bridgestone threw in a couple extra yards just for good measure. The nice part is, I can dial these back with relative ease so I don’t have any issues with going “too far”.

Trajectory on full swings is noticeably higher than the SM5’s – likely due to the shaft. I made a separate post about this issue as well and pretty much anything else in the Modus lineup would have worked better if you ask me. The Modus 3 105 is just too light and between spikes in swing speed and the way the shaft loads, it simply goes higher than the Dynamic Gold S200’s I’m accustomed to. However, I will say that controlling trajectory for different shots is not an impossible task. I can still manage to hit a variety of flight windows. Just use caution when taking full swings on a windy day.

Picture1.thumb.jpg.ba911c5d548c9d0e823fdbf936c38843.jpg

 

As for accuracy, I’ve not seen any degradation in my ability to go flag hunting. I can pretty well hit any target I aim at (with a good swing). I don’t have any trouble manipulating these for different shots either. I’ve been able to maintain my full arsenal of shots and perhaps added one or two as well. I find these are especially handy on tight lies around the green even when opening the face.

  • On-Course Performance (25/30pts)

Out on the course, initial results were mixed, but it was once again simply a matter of being away from the game for a few months. After the winter rust came off, these wedges really started to shine. While I can’t say they definitively outperform the SM5, they certainly do not perform any worse. I can still hit all the same shots – full, ¾, ½, knockdown, lob, bunker, etc., etc. and I even holed a chip for birdie two or three weeks ago.

Performance is directly attributable to strike location, but I wouldn’t say that these are completely unforgiving wedges depending on the shot. If you’re close to the green and need some spin, the additional milling works nicely to check the ball in spite of a less-than-desirable strike. Just don’t be surprised when a toe miss falls short of the green from further out.

 Despite the blade-ier (even compared to Vokey) appearance, I don’t feel any added pressure when I need to stick it close. If my swing is on, these wedges are on – it’s that simple.

In complete and total honesty, I struggle to say anything overly negative about putting these wedges in play. Although there’s nothing really noteworthy on the positive side either. They just work the way I expect them to and live up to Bridgestone’s reputation of producing underrated performers. You could easily put these in the same class as most major OEM wedges. Any criticism or praise I have for these will be found in the other categories, but not this one. Bridgestone designed the XW-1 to do a job which it does just as well as Titleist (or any other brands I’ve experimented with) based on my experience. Perhaps, that’s the biggest praise I could give these wedges.

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  • Miscellaneous (6/10pts)

It may seem small and petty to some, but I have to ding Bridgestone on the condition of the clubs when I got them. As mentioned in my Stage One, two of the wedges had a small abrasion on the sole and two of the grips were poorly aligned on the shaft. I don’t think it’s unfair to expect more from an OEM when they send out customer orders and while I’m not a “customer” in the truest sense, I am obviously providing a review to potential customers. If I were paying $139.99 per club (or possibly more on a custom order), I’d be a little bummed about this – the details matter.

Aside from that, I did hand these wedges to one of the best players at my course and he seemed to agree with most of my comments on how these wedges look (stellar), feel (like butter), and perform (as expected).

  • Play It or Trade It (15/20pts)

These wedges are in the bag! I wasn’t sure if they’d make the cut at first, but I can hit these just as well as the SM5s and they remedy the gapping issue I had previously. They look good, feel good, and sound good.

Having said that, I didn’t give these wedges a stellar rating for a reason. When the time comes to replace them, I will likely go elsewhere to get a better variety of grind, bounce, and finish options. There simply isn’t enough special sauce in these wedges to make me return for more. The only way I’d likely do that is if I were to purchase Bridgestone irons and wanted to match.

I’d like to see Bridgestone offer at least one more finish option – either raw or black – and add a few more grind/bounce options. The fact that the A-grind is only available in a 56-degree wedge is troubling to me and a slightly higher bounce option would be beneficial for those really soft, fluffy lies as well.

However, the asking price is fair and I think these are still a solid option for the aspiring or better player demographic. Golfers in this category can rest assured that the Bridgestone Tour B XW-1 does exactly what it was meant to do.

09D1949B-3230-4845-9287-7D49A13B3A12.JPEG.56aeeb231fb73bcb898cfb2aa8e8c2a4.JPEG

 

  • Summary

For those who like to skim and just want the absolute must-have details, here’s my synopsis:

Bridgestone has released a fine wedge well worth a trial run using their demo program. The Tour B XW-1 looks good (if not a tad busy), feels good, and performs exactly like a wedge should. Its shortcomings are found in its inability to really differentiate itself from other wedges on the market today. As mentioned before, these wedges simply lack any sort of special sauce. But, if you want something that no one else at your club is likely to have – well, why not give these a try?

  • Final Score (77/100pts)
Edited by TR1PTIK
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Curious to see how the Superman Diamond works over the Stop Sign.

Can’t wait XW-1 Squadron!

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Does that Tour B on the sole fill up with gunk?

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3 minutes ago, Shankster said:

Does that Tour B on the sole fill up with gunk?

Yes. Not a major issue in my view but worth noting.

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Great start guys! One thing I've noticed with the Bridgestone's is they look a lot better in person than the stock photos. When I first saw this year's model, I immediately thought they looked too busy. The photos here do a great job showing how good they look.

I have the 56 in last year's model and really love it, so I'm curious what Bridgestone brought to the table with the new model.

Sent from my SM-G955U using MyGolfSpy mobile app

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34 minutes ago, Shankster said:

Does that Tour B on the sole fill up with gunk?

It does, but like @hartrick11 said it's not a big deal. It's easy to clean up.

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18 minutes ago, sirchunksalot said:


Great start guys! One thing I've noticed with the Bridgestone's is they look a lot better in person than the stock photos. When I first saw this year's model, I immediately thought they looked too busy. The photos here do a great job showing how good they look.

I have the 56 in last year's model and really love it, so I'm curious what Bridgestone brought to the table with the new model.

Sent from my SM-G955U using MyGolfSpy mobile app
 

I certainly agree. MUCH better in person. Too bad Bridgestone isn't a popular enough brand to fill up store shelves and course pro-shops.

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41 minutes ago, sirchunksalot said:


Great start guys! One thing I've noticed with the Bridgestone's is they look a lot better in person than the stock photos. When I first saw this year's model, I immediately thought they looked too busy. The photos here do a great job showing how good they look.

I have the 56 in last year's model and really love it, so I'm curious what Bridgestone brought to the table with the new model.

Sent from my SM-G955U using MyGolfSpy mobile app
 

Agree, I was pleasantly surprised once I saw them in person, although I think if they got rid of the "Biting Rail Milled" part, the back of the club would look even better.

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Nice Stage 1s so far fellas. The Bridgestone wedges never really caught my eye, but I always like hearing how they perform against the more popular ones out there.

Ps.. I did not know you were a fellow Missourian, TR1PTIK.

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Nice start. Again, it is really pleasant to read reviews by some strong writers.


Sent from my iPhone using MyGolfSpy

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16 minutes ago, TSauer said:

Nice Stage 1s so far fellas. The Bridgestone wedges never really caught my eye, but I always like hearing how they perform against the more popular ones out there.

Ps.. I did not know you were a fellow Missourian, TR1PTIK. emoji1303.pngemoji1303.png

Moved to my Dad's hometown in '99. Not a bad place to be at all - I just wish MO had more beaches 😂

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Great start guys! One thing I've noticed with the Bridgestone's is they look a lot better in person than the stock photos. When I first saw this year's model, I immediately thought they looked too busy. The photos here do a great job showing how good they look.

I have the 56 in last year's model and really love it, so I'm curious what Bridgestone brought to the table with the new model.

Sent from my SM-G955U using MyGolfSpy mobile app




I too was worried about the appearance. I was pleasantly surprised when I opened the box that they were some of the best looking I’ve ever seen. I own one Miura 52 degree and they are danger close in appearance. I would not be surprised to find out Miura forges these clubs for Bridgestone


Sent from my iPad using MyGolfSpy
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Excellent start, guys! More often than not, I find myself enjoying the Stage 1's as much, if not more, than the rest, just because it gives us a peak into the person behind the keyboard.

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