Review: Bridgestone J15 Driving Forged Irons

The Holy Grail??
Every golfer is in search of the “Holy Grail”.  We all want clubs that do it all; feel, forgiveness, distance, trajectory, accuracy and looks.  It seems that we find a set to do the majority of those things and we are happy with that.  We tend to check the boxes that are most important to us first and then go from there.  The new Bridgestone Driving Forged Irons might be the closest thing to the “Holy Grail” of irons by checking every box on the list.
First off it is good to see new irons from Bridgestone since it has been a few years.  The 2015 line up is fairly robust with options from blades and pocket cavities to cast “game-improvement” irons.  The J15 Driving Forged irons are a new category, they have a “players” club look with “game-improvement” performance.  I know I’ve said this before on other irons, but these take both of those concepts and pushes them to the boundaries.  At first glance, these look like a difficult to hit “players” iron.  They have very minimal off-set, they don’t look to have much of a cavity and they are fairly compact.  If you just handed them to the average golfer, they would probably say they are too hard to hit without trying them.

Their specs set up more like a “players” iron.  The DG Pro S300 shafts are excellent for controlling trajecotry, their lengths and lofts are fairly standard, as is their D3 swingweight.  They are topped with the bright yellow Golf Pride grip that Bridgestone is using on all their J15 clubs.

The surprise is in the design and results of such a “players” looking club.  They are a forged hollow 2-piece design which hides the cavity back forgiveness.  Added to that design is distance.  These irons hit about 10 yards further than many of the sets I’ve been playing recently.  I found I could typically club down one for most shots.

Flightscope X2 Launch Monitor

Bridgestone J15 Driving Forged Irons – 8-iron

    • Spin: 6044 rpms
    • Launch Angle: 29.6*
    • Dispersion: 3.0 yds
    • Club Head Speed: 87.5 mph
    • Ball Speed: 114.3 mph
    • Total Distance:  162.4 yds
    • Carry Distance:  155.4 yds
The Bridgestone J15 DF irons check many boxes on paper, but the most important box is performance on the course.  This is where the real “Holy Grail” test is determined.  I put them in play in the mid summer which is usually the time my game suffers from what I call the “summer let down”.  I often play well in the spring and fall, but the summer can fool me.  This year, my “summer let down” was only one round before I put these in the bag.  Since then, my scores are dropping back to my prime.

So what makes them so good on the course?  They go straight where you want them to go.  I’ve had some distance and direction control issues during the start of summer, and that all went away with these in the bag.  They look very “players” irons which helps me set-up square to the ball.  Then the radiused sole helps me cut into the turf just a little at impact.  From there the ball just rockets off the face on a straight and high trajectory and then carries the full yardage.  I found I could hit every iron well from the 4-iron to the PW.  They all hit fairly high and have good stopping power.
So are they the “Holy Grail” of irons?  The Bridgetstone J15 Driving Forged Irons are as close are you are going to find.  Their only downside is the sound they make in the bag when they bang against each other, it is much higher pitch clank, similar to a cast iron.  It has to do with the hollow design.  While that has nothing to do with the looks, performance or feel, it might surprise you as you walk along with these clubs in the bag.  They do just about everything most golfers want; looks, accuracy, feel, forgiveness and distance.  I owe it to yourself to see if these are your “Holy Grail.”

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Quick Hits
+Awesome looks
+Ample forgiveness
+Great forged feel
+Excellent turf interaction

–Clanking sound when head bang together.