Bridgestone e12 Contact ball looks at optimizing impact, acts as ‘game-improvement ball’

Equipment

WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW: The e12 Contact employs a “Contact Force” dimple that features a raised area in the center. The company says this causes 38 percent more contact with the clubface at impact than traditional dimples. That brings a more efficient transfer of energy and an ability to activate the core of the ball better for faster ball speeds while reducing sidespin off longer clubs.

PRICE: The e12 Contact is at retail Feb. 26 at a cost of $30 per dozen. In addition to white, the ball will be available in matte green, matte red and matte yellow.

THE DEEP DIVE: When it comes to designing golf balls, Bridgestone is fortunate to be able to rely on a worldwide team of more than 900 rubber and polymer engineers. The company leaned in on that expertise in the creation of its new three-piece e12 Contact ball, which features a rather intriguing dimple design.

The “Contact Force” dimple, features a raised area in the center that the company says results in 38 percent more contact with the clubface at impact than traditional dimples. That brings a more efficient transfer of energy, and an ability to activate the core of the ball better for faster ball speeds while reducing sidespin off the longer clubs. On the shorter shots, it provides additional friction for more spin (almost 600 rpms according to the company). “It’s almost a game-improvement golf ball,” said Elliot Mellow, Bridgestone’s marketing manager for golf balls.

The “Contact” in the ball’s name refers to “contact science,” or the science of what happens when ball meets club. “Contact science is about the moment of impact,” said Mellow. “It’s about how rubber reacts in a high heat, high friction interaction much like the rubber on a tire meeting the road. We have some expertise in that area.”

The Contact Force dimple appears to result in a shallower dimple, which should make the ball fly higher, but Mellow said that was addressed. “As we went through the prototype process the performance was fine from an aero standpoint, but with consumers in higher spin situations we saw some issues with the ball ballooning a little bit,” he said. “We made some modifications to the depth and the outer portion of the dimple to flatten the flight a little bit.”

Those familiar with the e12 line will notice only one model in this iteration as opposed to the Soft and Speed models of the past. According to Mellow, this ball is closer to the Soft than the Speed in feel thanks to a softer core formulation.

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