Equipment: New Nike RZN Tour and RZN Speed balls
Feedback from tour players and consumers when it comes to golf balls is often a familiar story – more distance without sacrificing spin and feel around the greens.
But despite facing these familiar challenges, the methods and innovations used by Nike in the construction of their RZN golf balls have been quite unique.
Rory McIlroy had great success with the Nike RZN Black ball in 2014 and 2015 and put the latest iteration into play towards the end of last year where he clinched the Race to Dubai with a win at the DP World Tour Championship.
Our own editor Dan Murphy had some success when the product when he made a hole-in-one with a prototype version on the par-4 18th at North Berwick.
Of the new ball, which we now know to be the RZN Tour Black, Rory said: The ball feels much softer, yet I’ve maintained my ball speed and even picked up a few yards overall.
It’s easily the best combination of distance and feel I’ve ever played.
So what technology makes the new four-piece RZN Tour Black and RZN Tour Platinum so good?
The RZN material used at the core of the Nike golf balls is very light and fast but the 2016 version is softer to give that added feel – without sacrificing the speed.
The new version now has X’s added to squares on the core – which Nike call the Speedlock X Core – which results in a greater contact to the next layer and therefore a greater energy transfer. This results in more speed and more distance.
The RZN core is also 10 per cent larger which helps the ball continue spinning once it starts. This can help the ball maintain its line better towards the end of its trajectory – even in a crosswind.
The outer layer of the ball features what Nike call the Flightsuit cover. This means each ball has 13,588 micro dimples to reduce drag and increase carry distance.
Surrounding the core, the Speedlock Mantle and its Speedlock grooves help engage the cover of the golf ball for greater spin on shorter shots with high-lofted clubs.
The RZN Tour Black offers lower-spin distance and while the Platinum promotes for mid-spin control.
In addition to the RZN Tour, Nike Golf engineers also created the RZN Speed golf balls, two new three-piece constructed balls designed for ultimate forgiveness and softer feel.
The same Speedlock X Core technology from the RZN Tour ball helps maximise energy transfer for faster ball speed and ultimate forgiveness, while a softer RZN formulation provides a softer feel without sacrificing distance.
The RZN Speed ball will be available in two versions: Red for longer carry and White for softer feel.
The RZN Tour and RZN Speed golf balls will be available across Europe from February 12, and on nike.com from February 1.
SRP: RZN Tour £39.99 per dozen, RZN Speed 29.99 per dozen