Ball tested: Nike RZN White
Tested for golfers with average driving distance of: 126 to 300+ yards (carry + roll)
Specs: Construction – Three-piece; Cover – Ionomer; Core – Polymer resin; Dimples / Pattern – 344 in seamless design
Some manufacturers do not reveal or emphasize the compression ratings of new golf balls. Some models are now designed and marketed to fit and appeal to a golfers preferences for price, distance, spin, feel and control.
Price as tested (new): $30 per dozen
Ball notes: While Nike’s new RZN Black and Platinum golf ball models represent the upper end of the price ($46) and performance spectrum, the company’s RZN White and Red balls aim to please a larger audience with a little less cash to invest and a somewhat weaker skill set.
The RZN White is the softer, higher-spinning of the mid-priced twins. Like the others, it’s equipped with Nike’s re-engineered resin core and “Speedlock” construction, which is said to aid stability (and does just that for the Black and Platinum versions).
In the premium category, where competitors include Titleist’s NXT Tour, Bridgestone’s “e” series and Callaway’s HEX Hot balls, distance is critical. But feel and spin have become increasingly important, leading manufacturers to produce balls the everyday golfer can hit long while enjoying a modicum of greenside control – all without paying top dollar.
Did Nike pull off this delicate balancing act with the RZN White? Here’s our feedback.
On the clubface: Nike definitely nailed the soft part here. The RZN White is comparable to the urethane-covered Black and Platinum models, quite a feat considering its firmer cover. Of course, this is a highly subjective category. Some golfers love the flush sensation of a soft ball, while others prefer a firmer feel and sound. Your likes and dislikes will play a large part in coloring your opinion of the Nike RZN White and Red models.
Off the tee: Like we said, a premium ball had better be long if it wants to compete. Nike’s RZN White has plenty of juice. What really impressed us, though, was how it produced distance. Rather than the high launch and carry normally associated with “spinny” balls, it flew fairly low. (In fact, this was in line with our results with the RZN Platinum.) Roll-out was also better than expected, as was this ball’s penetrating trajectory.
From the fairway / rough: Our best results with the RZN White came with the short and middle irons. It displayed a very tight flight pattern, similar to a tour model, and didn’t sail off target when a little wind came up.
As for spin, few golfers in the 8 – 20 handicap range should find much wrong with this ball. When struck well with a wedge or short iron, it checks up abruptly rather than bounding well past its landing spot.
Around the green: We wouldn’t grade it level with the Black or Platinum, but for a premium offering the RZN White more than held its own. The golfer with above-average skills and touch should be able to coax good results from chips, pitches and bunker shots. RZN White feels soft of the putter but rolls with authority.
Bottom line: Your taste for the Nike RZN White will likely hinge on a couple of factors: Whether you prefer a soft or firm feel, and a low or high ball flight. Objectively speaking, this ball performs well in every category, earning especially high marks for its ability to penetrate the breeze and stop with the irons. Personally, we like it a lot.
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