You are not Phil Mickelson. So why are you playing his golf ball and expecting the same results? "You don't use racing slick tires on your Honda Accord," notes Brandon Sowell, director of marketing for Bridgestone Golf. With that in mind, Bridgestone has bucked the industry norm of simply selling weekend duffers the balls their favorite pros use. Instead, it has created the B330-Rx ($43 for a dozen), a ball designed for average players.
Weekend golfers generate far less club-head speed than PGA Tour players do — typically, 80 mph versus 120 mph — and their swings aren't as consistent. The B330-Rx is engineered to account for that, performing like a pro-style ball for an amateur's game and providing better distance and accuracy.
Betting that the B330-Rx ball, or the new Rx-S for better spin control, will work for many golfers, Bridgestone is running a series of ball-fitting events. (It holds five each week around the U.S. and expects to fit 40,000 players this year. You can also go online, do a self-test, and chat live with a ball technician.) In a 15-minute session, two high-speed cameras measure how you hit your current brand, gauging speed, spin rate, and launch angle. Then a technician will help you test alternatives based on your goals (and no, a Bridgestone ball isn't always recommended).
Focusing on the ball is good for golfers — "It's the only piece of equipment you use on every shot," Sowell says — and for Bridgestone. Despite the recession, sales were up 64% in 2009. On our scorecard, that would be an eagle. bridgestonegolf.com
A version of this article appeared in the July/August 2010 issue of Fast Company magazine.