For 2014 Nike has brought in a new line-up of pro and better player balls. I picked up a sleeve each of the RZN Black, RZN Platinum, and the RZN White. Black and Platinum fall into the Pro line while the White is the softer better player ball.
I played rounds between May and July, 2014 under generally hot playing conditions, above 88 degrees Fahrenheit. The first thing I was struck by is, of all things, the sound of the pro balls. With my R1 the Black and Platinum balls, but the Black in particular, had a loud pop sound that I don’t get in any other ball. The Black ball is definitely the harder of the two balls, and it is also the longer of the two. I like the Black, it reminds me of the Callaway iZ from a few years ago, because it long and really works well when it is warm. I took it out in the early morning on a cool day, and I could tell this is a warm weather ball. Of course this is Rory’s ball this year, so if you are swinging at 115+ MPH I am sure this ball feels like butter.
For my swing and game the Platinum is a much better choice. Both balls are long off the tee, and both balls hold their lines well in windy conditions, but the Platinum is the softer of the two. That translates into better short iron and short game feel as well. Although, this is not at all what I would call a soft ball. It stops great, without excessive spin, and both balls are remarkably durable. Gone are the days when you would hit a few drivers and count the blemishes on your new ball. No cracking and very little scuffing, even with my older square grooved Cleveland wedges. Both balls feel quick and very light with the driver. I was struck by how much less mass they seem to have. I felt like my driver, just plowed right trough the ball with almost no resistance.
The RZN White is a great new ball. I didn’t think I could be impressed with a Nike ball for the masses but I really was. The White is the softer of the two balls Nike has in this category, the Red is a distance ball, so I took a pass on it. The White is soft, but has an amazing amount of things to like for the better player. It is long off the tee, nearly as long as the Platinum, but it has a better feel off the mid and short irons than either of the Pro balls. It has one hop stop, and it feels great of a chip and put. For me this one feels very much like the Callaway Chrome Plus, or the Taylormade Lethal.
It has been a few years since I have played Nike golf balls and the 2014 batch is very impressive. If you are a better player and have been curious about any of these balls, I bet you find one that fits you perfectly. Besides, it is fun to tee off with a distinctive pop!