At the Golf Academy, we’ve talked at length about the importance of club fitting – everything from the putter to the driver – and how fit impacts performance. What we haven’t really discussed in great detail is the importance of ball fitting. That is, until today.
Elliot Mellow is Golf Ball Fitting Coordinator at Bridgestone Golf in Covington, Georgia, just outside Atlanta. He was on campus today (and is visiting all five campuses nationwide) in hopes of finding candidates to fill 40 positions within Bridgestone’s golf ball fitting program.
Vendors like Bridgestone, Henry-Griffitts, and Mizuno are always more than willing to come out and speak to students at the Golf Academy because the school produces passionate, well-qualified job applicants. Students are eager to enter the industry, and they’re hungry to make a difference.
Elliot is a 2009 graduate of the Golf Academy in Orlando. He knows what it’s like to be sitting where we are now and told us about how he went from working at Golf Galaxy to golf ball fitting for Bridgestone in the St. Louis market. After just two seasons in the field, Elliot transitioned to a digital marketing position, and just this year, he took over all fitting and special events activities.
Elliot currently oversees the 23 ball fitting teams activated across the U.S. and crafts the global ball fitting initiative for Bridgestone’s 12 international markets. Twenty-percent of all Bridgestone’s ball fitting employees are Golf Academy grads.
Bridgestone touts itself as the No. 1 ball fitter in golf with over 2,000 fitting events each year, and on September 1st, it announced it had further solidified its position atop the leaderboard by “surpassing the 300,000 live ball fittings milestone.” Bridgestone is also the largest producer of rubber polymers in the world and has more golf ball patents than all of its competitors – combined.
The Bridgestone Challenge is the company’s free, in-person, live launch monitor-based ball fitting program and has been educating golfers how to find the right ball since 2007. Ball fitting is all about swing speed, compression, and spin rate, and Bridgestone fits nearly 2,000 golfers per week during the golf season. Its teams of ball fitting techs use launch monitors to analyze golfers’ swings and make science based recommendations as to the ball they should play.
Bridgestone has now amassed more data points on more amateur golf swings than any of its competitors. Here’s what they found:
* 75% of players were playing the wrong ball for their game
* Consumers fit for the e6 golf ball gained an average of 13.83 yards per drive
* Consumers fit for the B330-RX golf ball gained an average of 10.28 yards per drive
Elliot told us how Bridgestone prides itself on finding and fitting the best golf ball to every consumer and that of the three series of golf balls it sells, the Tour B330, Tour B330-S, Tour B330-RX, Tour B330-RXS, and eSeries distance performance line, the e6 is probably its most popular.
It’s a soft, three-piece ball that offers the greatest amount of ball velocity, the lowest amount of driver spin, and produces the least amount of sidespin for golfers with slower swing speeds.
When Elliot’s 40-minute presentation was over, my classmates and I couldn’t stop lamenting the fact we didn’t have more time to ask him questions. That’s how you know it was a good presentation. I can definitely see some of us working on the fitting side of the golf industry (ball or club) when we graduate, and Bridgestone comes across as being more consumer-focused, whereas Titleist, the so-called #1 ball in golf, seems to be more geared toward the touring professional.