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Dan Murphy Podcast #334 – Bridgestone E12 & E6 Golf Balls

Worldwide Golf Shops INSIDER PODCAST #334! In this installment, we chat with the President and CEO of Bridgestone Golf, Mr. Dan Murphy! Dan talks Bridgestone’s new E12 & E6 Golf Balls! Please Enjoy this INSIDER Podcast.

You can shop Bridgestone at https://www.worldwidegolfshops.com/

Podcast Transcript

Welcome to the Worldwide golf Shops insider podcast. Episode 334. Hello Everyone. 

Thanks so much for tuning in today. So glad that you did, whether you’re a first time listener.  Longtime subscriber or somewhere in the middle.  Doesn’t matter.  Just glad that you joined us, especially so today.  Our special guest joins us from just outside Atlanta, GA.  He is the President and CEO of Bridgestone Golf, Mr Dan Murphy. Dan. Thanks so much for joining us.  It’s been a long time man. 

Yeah.  It’s been a long time. It’s a great honor to be here in talking to you. Thank you.

Yeah, you wanna see how long it’s been? You hooked us up with Lee Trevino back in the day and that was episode 113 that was over.  200 episodes ago and I remember because Lee was saying it had the number 13 in it and he was like Tom, Tom. That’s unlucky. Number 13. Why are you giving me this episode, you know? 

He’s he’s a character.  I bet he I bet he entertained you that day, this. 

Oh, certainly one of the one of the Mount Rushmore interviews of all time, but let’s talk about you, Dan, for our listeners who may not know you’ve got a long history in the game in the history with Bridgestone.  Tell us about about your life in the business and then your role at Bridgestone. 

Wow, well.  Golf the golf business started for me.  In the mid 90s I worked for a while at Maxfli Golf, remember Max Line and the good old good old days, and then when they kind of merged in with tailor made it went out there for a short time. But the West Coast wasn’t really for me and then I came back in 2004. Kind of had my big break in the golf business which was to come to Bridgestone.  Which marketed their brand under precept at the time.  And they really wanted to take the preset. Brandon and all the great technology and the great products that they had and then market them under the Bridgestone brand, and so that was kind of my baby was to launch the bridge. Don’t brand in 2005 and it was good. You know, we had a great run, really got off to a.  A big start.  We got the number two.  We were selling more golf balls and that was really our focus.  More golf balls than Nike at the time, or TaylorMade or Callaway when we were rocking right along and then.  But I I kind of had an entrepreneurial itch. This brings us all the way up to 2015 and left the company for a little while.  And you know, pursued some other things. And then I needed the company and the company needed me and they asked me back to come back in 2018. So I’ve been here for coming up on three years and it’s it’s been a great three years, but a wild ride. As you can imagine that. 

Hey Dan, when I think of Bridgestone, I guess I think.  One one of the top ball manufacturers in the world where the balls are.  Everyone can’t say this made in the USA.  I think of golf balls for all levels of players going.  I mean, even with you know.  Obviously Tiger and Bryson and Matt Kuchar.  And then I think of a company that goes out of the way.  For golf ball fitting for the consumers to make sure they’re fit for the right golf ball.  That those are just what I think of when I think of Bridgestone is that is that what you want me to think of is is. 

It’s rich markup. 

Well, we want you to think of.  Obviously we make golf balls for the best players in the world, Tiger amongst them.  Bryson DeChambo has been very prevalent.  Freddie Couples the guy that I knew back from the maxfli days and when I got the bridge.  Down by the opportunity to have an Association with him with bridgestones, he’s been with us for a long time.  Matt Kutcher.  And quite a few others.  And so yeah, we want people to think that we make golf balls for the best players in the world, and we do.  And we make the best product for them.  But we also make product for everybody.  We put the same kind of effort in technology and engineering into golf balls for the guy that pays for his round on Saturday and tied it up with his buddies.  He put as much effort into designing a golf ball that’s right for his game as we do for Tiger.  And so that does make us different in the way that we bring that all to life as we talk a lot about fitting that.  I’m sure if you have a swing like Tiger then you should.  You should hit Tigers ball, but if you have a swing, that’s maybe a little bit different.  There might be a better golf ball for you. 

So we talked about setting the right balls to the individual. 

And that’s so important. I mean, we, I mentioned earlier, the Lee Trevino episode 113.  That’s what he was saying.  He goes I I can’t compress the ball that everybody wants to play.  I needed something that I can compress and work and he goes.  Dan at Bridgestone.  Helped me with that and he was.  He talked about that a lot.  Share with us a little bit.  Dan, you mentioned Bryson and Tiger and all that when they’re looking when they Get fit for a ball or make a change which is hard and PGA Tour.  Get a tour player to switch from their baby to take us through that process.  What are they looking at?  Because it’s pretty deep, isn’t it? 

So well, especially those two guys, they’re both real super geek technicians when it comes to their equipment, including their golf ball and Tiger.  It’s a little known secret, Tom, but I’ll I’ll spill the beans on this one.  Tiger is been playing a Bridgestone made golf ball for for a very long time.  We had an Association with another company at one time.  And so when he was free in 2016, free from his golf ball and club obligations with another company, the first people that he called with us, and so we were very honored. And of course, thrilled the Tiger would want to play our ball. And the reason for that. It wasn’t much of a departure for him, he understood. 

Who we were and and had played our product for a very long time, including, you know, most of his his majors and and 80 two wins now.  So most of those.  Anyway, he when you ask about the R&D process, he’s not only a spokesman for us and then we like the, you know, the exposure that he gives us. But he also really rolls up his sleeve and gets involved with our R&D guys. 

And that’s been the big difference. In 2016 onward is he’s gotten involved in the actual design of the golf balls, and we start with him really from day one when we’re thinking about a new model and getting his feedback and understanding what he wants.  Breaking these numbers the same way and you know he is obviously the the physics major from SMU and he he’s the scientist of the the PGA Tour.  I would say right?  Then we really leverage and take advantage of his, his expertise and and you know.  So I get tell you, it’s the real thing too.  He really knows what he’s talking about and he’s actually challenged us on a few issues that helped us.  Develop a better golf ball and it’s funny.  Bryson and Tiger being kind of the two most visible guys fast at the moment and they they go different ways.  Tiger really likes a golf ball with a lot of spin. 

So he chooses the tour BXS and he likes a lot of spring because he can put on more spin when he wants or take off spin when he wants so he can control his golf ball and so he tends toward that one and then Brighton from a fitting sense likes another golf.  Also tour BX  which is just a touch less.  Spend a little touch more distance.  And obviously, he’s compressing the ball in a big way with that massive swing speed that he has now.  And but you know that or BX for him really works, so I think that’s a good example of different golf balls for different individual needs. 

Dan, for the consumer to get fit for golf balls, there are several ways to do that.  Basically get a bunch of golf balls, goat or go to a worldwide golf shops retail location.  Try them out there, but you also have some tools on your website, not just one.  I mean, yeah, I’m looking at three of them right here.  Your V selector, your video, and your numbers talk about those ’cause that’s that’s an easy way to get a good start.  If you’re a consumer trying to find out which ball might be right for you. 

Yeah, I mean it’s a consumer to go a golfer to go to bridgestonegolf.com they can. They can get fit for their ball and a couple of different ways. One is just a Q&A we ask some questions about your preferences, your game for your tendencies are and then we can recommend the ball from there. Yeah, and then it gets a little bit more involved all the way up to V set. And if it was a new tool that we launched.  About a year ago, before the pandemic encoded it, but it got very popular during the pandemic when everybody was home and basically what the Fed allows you to do is to take a video with your typical iPhone or Android.  And you can send it to us. 

And then we’ve got some software that we’ve developed that can help us analyze your launch angle, ball speed, swing speed, and then we can from bear recommended golf ball for you based on the data and the science so we can we can do through video.  But a lot of times it would take a launch monitor or track man to do in person. 

Dan, let’s talk about what’s new for 2021. because you guys have something that’s really off the charts. Cool is the new dimple design. Share with us a little bit about that.  Well the devil design kind of Harkins back to our relationship with the Bridgestone Tire. You know, we’re part of Bridgestone Tire and rubber and that really gets disappointed. Difference from a lot of our competitors. There’s not another golf ball manufacturer that has 900 polymer science engineers trying to figure out. Figure out how materials and  The impact really is is best optimized and I’ll give you an example of how that plays out.  There’s this thing called contact science that are tired.  People talk a lot about and they’re very interested in how does attire?  Come in contact with the road and you gotta think that’s a pretty important thing to keep control and performance of your car and everything from safety to fuel economy.  To performance is all determined by the little Patch that your tire impacts the load, and so there’s two ways really that they optimize. Contact science one is true materials you know do use the right rubber. 

Is it a certain softness or hardness or grippiness so materials is one way and then the actual shape of the tire is another way.  So what’s the tread pattern?  How does that impact that? 

That contact science point and so we taken that lesson and applied it to golf balls and learn. 

From them and brought it to life really in in the same way back one year ago we launched the Tour B series.  That’s what I mentioned before a Tiger and Brysonplay on tour.  But with the series.  Then there was a material science technology.  We called it the reactive cover.  The React would cover was a whole new idea.  About how a cover reacts when it’s struck by a Golf Club and it’s actually a smart material in a way and smart in that it firms up on a driver.  So it gives you more distance and it softens up on a ledge.  And gives you more spin.  So it basically. 

React differently to the level of force for violence in which it’s impacted, which is kind of cool.  But again, we learn that we learn that from the tire folks.  And then when you come to what we’re doing this year.  It’s kind of part two of our contact science effort, and that’s what the new E12 contact we’re calling it E12 contact. It’s a It’s a mid price golf ball 2999 at retail.  Then what that is all about is a whole new dimple pattern.  So think about how a tread on a tire is interesting, how it impacts the road surface, and does what it does because of the shape of the tire.  So the dimple of a golf ball is also influenced by its shape, then typically a dimple of. 

A golf ball.  Is there, for aerodynamic purposes, dimples?  Basically create little air pockets around a golf ball and let it fly without as much friction in the air and much as much drag.  These people still does that, but this has an added benefit in that.  The the middle of the dimple is raised, so we actually have a situation where that middle raised area of the dimple.  Contacts the driver face or the web face.  On impact, so you actually have more golf ball, touching more clubface.  Then you would in a typical dimple pattern.  So essentially what we’ve done is we’ve taken Dimples are there for aerodynamics, and this still works, but we’ve added a whole another feature that no one else has done, which is we’ve expanded the contact points between the ball and the club, and what that does is it creates more.  Energy transfer when you think about. 

So you think about if you can imagine where a dimple Contacts a clubface is somewhat of a point where the ball and the club don’t touch, and that’s where the dimple is.  The hollow dimple part, so there’s no energy transfer there.  So by creating some more contact point in that area.  We we’ve really learned something new about energy transfer and we can transfer more of that club energy into the ball.  That’s particularly good off the driver.  Then off of the ledge, we’ve got more contact surface, so there’s more friction.  And so we can get more spam and then essentially what that does.  Is it gives us the the best of both worlds?  It will give you more distance off the tee and more spin around around the green. 

That’s interesting, so I guess the end result is your narrow fairways become a little wider. You get more distance from from the driver, more spin from the wedge, and what really blows me away is you’re doing that in a in a mid priced golf ball, right? 2999? I don’t know how you pull that off, but.  Man, that’s that’s exciting stuff for the for the consumer like me, the player like Me. 

Well, it goes back to what we were saying earlier.  Is we want to put as much science and content and research and development into the golf ball for us regular guys.  That’s ball.  I play too, as as we do for Tiger Woods, you know.  So you know, a lot of companies will just kind of cascade down technology starting the tour.  But we.  We believe in innovation across the line made high and low low end product. 

Well, that’s great, Dan, hey, before we close that we touched on one thing I just kind of glossed over it and like for you to touch on it. But it’s so so important, especially in this time in our lives made in the USA.  I mean your plant is right here.  Share with us a little bit about. 

That, well, we’re doing.  That Well, we’re doing a lot of activity.  We’re right outside of Atlanta, GA.  So really, the only manufacturer golf ball manufacturer in the Southeast, so we’re excited about being there.  This is our home and very proud to be here in Georgia.  We just recently expanded and are hiring more people here.  Based on this, as we all know.  Covid and the pandemic it. I guess the influenced a lot of people to go out and play golf and that’s resulted in an increase in business for us. Our brand is on the rise. The industry is on the rise, so we needed more production capacity. So we just hired a bunch of people and expanded our production by 30%.  And hired 20% more workforce. So we’re kind of on the move here in Georgia.  Creating some jobs here in America and we’re really proud of that. 

Dan Murphy we appreciate the time so much. How about some final words for our listeners before we before we put a bow on this episode. Final words?

Well honored to.  If they’ve learned anything or spend some time, I’m honored to have the opportunity to talk to him and people Bridgestone and have some fun.  Yeah, especially the new E 12 Dan Thanks so much. 

Appreciate the time my friend. 

Dan Murphy, the President and CEO of Bridgestone Golf  The e12 ball. The new dimple pattern. More ball on your clubface that sounds exciting and the price point is really, really great. 2999 you gotta give those E 12 golf balls to try. Well, special thanks to Dan for joining us today. 

And to you, our listeners will do it again next time we have another episode. Worldwide golf Shops insider podcast here at worldwidegolfshops.com. So long everyone.