When Bridgestone launched their Hydro Core versions of the excellent Tour B330 golf balls they were very excited about the new core composition.
Essentially they have improved the transition between the soft inner core and the firmer outer core by adding an exciting new liquid called...water!
It may sound like something blatently obvious, but sometimes the simplest ideas are the best. The results of this aqua additive is a softer ball with less ball spin, because the ball stays on the face of the club for longer. This has two benefits in less side spin, that keeps it straighter, and a higher ball speed, because it is easier to compress the ball.
There are four models in the range depending on your swing speed, but thanks to having taken the Bridgestone Ball Fitting Challenge I know that the RXS version of the B330 range is the one for me.
The RXS has a little more greenside spin than the RX and as well as the new Hydrocore, the mantle layer below the cover has been made a little firmer to reduce spin with the driver.
You may have images of water sloshing around inside the ball like those old liquid filled balatas of the 1980s, but the B330 is perfectly firm and solid. The water is added into the formulation and it is very noticeable when you putt with the ball that it feel significantly softer.
The sound is a nice re-assuring soft sound, as if it is wearing it's favourite slippers and jammys. Even the original B300 sounds almost clicky by comparison and that is not a hard ball at all.
Those who like to caress a ball around the green with wedges and putters will love the excellent feel as it reminded me of a balata ball, for those of you old enough to remember them. It felt borderline springy off the putter face, which I am not sure is necessarily a good thing.
Unlike the old balatas though, the cover is much more durable and about the same resilience as the previous B330. It's scuffable but only if you give it a reall munching with some aggressive wedge grooves.
From the tee I found the performance of the Hyrdo Core B330 to be at least as good as the previous model with a good flight and above average ball stability in the wind thanks to the Dual Dimple design.
When I compared the current and previous models using Flightscope I got almost the exactly the same results for distance, ball spin and ball speed. Therefore it looks like the performance for me at least is very similar, so it will come down to whether I prefer a softer sounding and feeling ball or not.
I also did a mini-Bridgestone Ball Fittting challenge of my own with the four models and the results were as expected. The RXS was still best for me as the lower spin reduced the disperson compared to the higher spinning RX.
My average 97mph club head speed was at least 8mph too slow for the pro speed B330 and B330S. The four piece construction probably gave more distance, but I could not control the spin as well and the dispersion was up. Sometimes distance is not everything as you have to hit it in the fairway too.
There is not much visually to tell between the two versions, apart from the arrows instead of the 3 lines on the side stamp, so you will need to check carefully when using or buying.
Compared to the previous B330 ball the real difference with the 2014 range is on the greens where the Hydro Core really stands out as a ball that is softer with much greater feedback and I can see people who play on firm, fast greens appreciating this more.