REVIEW: Nike RZN golf balls

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Designing a ball for one of the world’s best golfers is a daunting task.  Thankfully, it’s something Nike Golf has some experience with.  For the 2016 Nike RZN Tour Platinum golf ball, Rory McIlroy asked Nike to keep the performance of last year’s RZN but make it feel softer.  What he got is arguably Nike’s best golf ball ever.

Feel

Feel has been one area where some people have consistently taken issue with Nike’s tour level golf balls.  If the RZN Tour Platinum doesn’t quiet that noise, nothing will.  This ball is very soft off the putter with the same quiet “click” of a ProV1.  Interestingly, it feels even softer off a wedge.  While the ProV1 maintains that click, the RZN Tour Platinum loses it in place of a softer-feeling “thud.”

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Short Game

In head to head testing against the #1 selling ball in golf, the Nike RZN Tour Platinum golf ball produced approximately 300 RPM more spin on 50 yard pitch shots.  While that’s not a huge practical difference, that ~5% may be important to players looking to stop or back up every shot.

On the course, the RZN Platinum delivered all the spin we saw on the launch monitor.  On full and half wedges, the ball stopped immediately or backed up a couple feet, depending on the conditions of the green and the landing angle.

Long Game

If you’re familiar with Nike’s past RZN golf balls, you know they have no problem making a ball that spins a lot with wedges but very little with the driver.  That’s in evidence again here with the RZN Platinum.  While it’s not as low-spinning as the RZN Black, the Platinum is very much in line with or better than any other higher-spinning tour ball.  In short, this ball will still allow you to bomb drives.

One interesting thing that I found in my testing was that the RZN Platinum does produce a bit more spin than expected with the irons.  The difference isn’t huge – only a few hundred RPMs more than the RZN Black – but it will be welcome aid for those that play on firm greens or those who flight their irons low.

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The former (and future?) world #1 will be gaming the Nike RZN Tour Platinum golf ball in 2016, and I think a lot of other skilled players will be as well.  The feel is as dialled-in as any Nike ball I’ve ever used, and they’ve maintained the combination of high spin in the short game and low spin in the long game.  If you haven’t considered Nike as a golf ball option in the past, it’s definitely time to start.

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