Pros: Lower cost as compared to high end putters. Good quality construction
Cons: Concept makes distance control difficult. Lightweight grip is slick and has no feel. Insert had dull feeling.
True Balance Putter from Bridgestone is a interesting concept. Move the weight to the head by using lightweight shaft and grip. The intention is to increase feel and give better control of your putts. Features from their website.
- Stainless Steel Head Construction
- Dual Layer Grooved Insert provides the perfect combination of feel and roll performance
- True Balance Models feature Unique Lightweight 100% EVA grips providing the ultimate in comfort, feel, and traction (Available in 2 Sizes: Standard and Oversize)
- True Balance Models feature Specially Engineered Lightweight Graphite Shafts providing unmatched feel and user feedback
- Head weight - 360 grams
- EVA grip - standard 10 grams, oversize 20 grams.
- True balance shaft 33 grams (compared to 103 gram steel shaft.
Below are a few photos of the club. It is an aesthetically pleasing club with nice head cover and sharp lines.
Light weight grip
Sole of the club
Set up view
Full club. Note that although it is leaning up against the flag, it can almost balance upright by itself due to the relation of the head weight to shaft and grip.
Again, this is a nice looking putter. Now let's get on to performance.
I currently use Anser style putters 35.5" length, lie 68 degrees, loft 5 degrees. I have two, but generally use one most of the time. Here is a comparison of my current go to putter and the Bridgestone.
My current putter weighs in a 530 grams total weight with a swing weight of E0. It has a few grams of lead tape on the sole. My back up is 525 with a D8 swing weight. All swing weights were measured by me.
The Bridgestone weighs in at a bantamweight of 425 grams but has a swing weight of G2! This gives it a very light carry feel but a heavy swing feel. Bridgestone states the benefits as:
- Balance point less than 5" from sole provides incredible feel and connection to the putter head, improving speed and distance control
- Naturally "gates" through the stroke and squares to the target, eliminating the most common miss of short, right
- Make more putts!
1. Feel, speed and distance control
First off, I had the putter adjusted to my specs to eliminate variation from set up. I practiced putts of 5, 10 and 15 foot straight 1% uphill and downhill slope. I compared my current putter to the Bridgestone. The light weight grip made it difficult to hold the putter in a relaxed state. There was no tack to the grip and it felt cheap and plastic light a toddlers toy bat. I tried to adjust to this feel, but it was difficult.
My distance control is pretty good with my current putter. I average 31 putts per round. I could not get the Bridgestone to match it. I was either long or short. The head felt heavy, like Boccieri Golf's Heavy Putters, but it putted like a light putter. I did not feel like it had any momentum when hitting the ball. Remember momentum = mass x velocity. The high swing weight made it feel like there was a lot of mass, but the head is only 360 grams.
The insert feel dull as well. I like a "pop" sound when I make a putt with ProV1 or V1X balls. My current putter has no insert, but I have tried others with inserts that still had that sound. This was lifeless sounding and you lost that sensory connection to a good strike.
My direction was fine with the putter. Because they matched my lie, my aim was "dead on balls accurate" (industry term). The putter had a similar 4 o'clock toe down balance as my other putters. I think this affects the "gate" more than the weight for me.
3. Make more putts
I don't think this would happen for me. Speed control is essential in putting. With this putter, I would have good aim, but no distance control.
I thought about changing the grip to match what I have now, but that would defeat the purpose of the review. The concept sounded promising, but did not deliver for me. I feel that Bridgestone is a high quality company and did a great job with construction, but they need to rethink the grip. The grip is your only connection to the club. All the feel goes through the grip. This grip reduced the feel.
The insert needs work too. Perhaps a metalized plastic to increase the pop sound.
Overall, the performance was lacking. I would not recommend this exact putter to a friend with distance control issues.
Thanks for reading.