Nike One RZN 1

    Ball tested: Nike One RZN

    Category*: Premium

    Feel: Soft

    Tested for golfers with average driving distance of: 196 to 245 (carry + roll) / 246 to 300+ yards (carry + roll)

    Specs: Construction – Three-piece; Cover – Ionomer; Core – Polymer resin; Dimples – 314

    Compression: High

    Price as tested (new): $29 per dozen

    Ball notes: Nike’s newest entry in the “premium” category (defined as a notch below the “tour” category in price and performance), the One RZN and its twin, the One RZN X, compete with the likes of Titelist’s NXT Tour, the Srixon Q-STAR and Bridgestone’s e-series balls for the affection of avid, above-average golfers.

    The One RZN is softer than the X version and designed to maximize distance while providing nice feel and spin around the greens. It features Nike’s RZN core material, just like the brand’s top-of-the-line 20XI model but with a slightly modified formulation.

    Golf Digest was impressed with the One RZN, which earned a gold medal on the mag’s 2013 Hot List. The editors praised the ball’s innovative construction as well as its look, sound and feel.

    On the clubface: Pretty standard for the category, which is a good thing – today’s premium balls feel a lot better than their predecessors. While we’ve heard and read reports of golfers who deemed the One RZN somewhat dead or heavy feeling, our experience was obviously different. We felt it provided a solid “jump” off the driver and longer irons, with a pleasantly soft vibe on chips, pitches and putts.

    Off the tee: Any ball that wants to compete in this category had better be long, and it had better be straight. We’re happy to report the One RZN is both. It delivers on the “high launch, low spin” promise that practically every ball makes today, displaying sustained carry and good roll under the right conditions. It never surprised us with an out-of-nowhere hook or slice, either, flying quite straight on most shots.

    Nike One RZN 2

    From the fairway / rough: Likewise, the One RZN didn’t give us anything unexpected as far as spin or trajectory with the irons. It proved highly responsive on wedge shots, typically stopping dead or backing up just a touch. We do wonder, though, if a higher-spin golfer might zip this ball back a bit too far at times. Launch angles and sidespin were right in line with driver performance.

    Around the green: Nike has come a long way in recent years, and it’s really evident in the way its products perform in the short game. The One RZN actually exceeded our expectations here, showing tour-ball caliber check-up when clipped from a good lie. It sometimes came off the clubface a little higher than we anticipated, but that’s a minor quibble. Besides, maybe it was just us.

    Bottom line: Yep, Nike has really gotten the hang of this golf ball thing. The One RZN can hold its own with the premium category’s top offerings, a pretty impressive feat considering the quality of the competition. Based on other reviewers’ feedback, some of which differed from ours, we’d suggest trying a sleeve before investing in a dozen. But we think you’ll like what it has to offer.

    *Category key

    Value/Recreational/Distance – Designed for mid- to high-handicap golfers with swing speeds below 90 mph; typically feature two-piece construction and firm covers; promote greater distance over high spin rates. Examples: Pinnacle Gold, Slazenger RAW Distance

    Premium – Designed for low- to mid-handicap golfers with swing speeds of 90-99 mph; typically feature multi-layer construction and medium-soft covers; happy medium between Value/Recreational and Tour categories for distance and spin qualities. Examples: Titleist NXT Tour, Callaway HEX Diablo

    Tour/Advanced/Performance – Designed for low-handicap and professional golfers with swing speeds in excess of 100 mph; typically feature multi-layer construction and soft covers; promote greater spin rates and enhanced feel over distance. Examples: Titleist ProV1, Bridgestone Tour B330