Rock Ishii, Nike Golf’s Senior Director of Innovation for Golf Balls, and his team of engineers are constantly looking into the future to find ways to modify the ball so that it performs better.
Since launching its first ball in 1999, Nike Golf has continuously found ways to break traditional molds and discover new construction methods and materials that give the athlete the best possible tool to succeed at the highest level. These include scientific investigations — in physics and aerodynamics — and material explorations for each layer in the ball. The result is an unwavering pursuit of improvement in distance, feel and spin.
2000 — Tour Accuracy: Nike created one of the first solid-core golf balls, a technology that helped Tiger Woods win more than 20 tournaments, including four consecutive major championships in a four-year span.
2003 — Nike One: One of the industry’s first four-piece construction golf balls.
2011— Nike 20XI: The first RZN core was introduced, bucking conventional methods by using a new lighter and faster core that allowed weight to move to the perimeter for better stability.
2014 — Nike RZN: This ball took RZN material to a new level with Speedlock technology.
Nike Golf’s latest advancement is the RZN Tour ball, engineered to feel soft without sacrificing distance.
“We still have so many opportunities to innovate the golf ball,” says Ishii. “This is innovation. This is where we are now. And we are heading toward our future.”
Featuring a four-piece urethane cover design, the RZN Tour ball utilizes four key components: RZN 4.0, Speedlock X Core, Speedlock Mantle and Flight Suit Cover. These combined technologies help propel the RZN Tour/Black and RZN Tour/Platinum balls to added yardage and a softer feel, versus the previous RZN Black and RZN Platinum.
“The ball feels much softer, yet I’ve maintained my ball speed and even picked up a few yards overall,” declares Nike Golf athlete Rory McIlroy. “It’s easily the best combination of distance and feel I’ve ever played.”
Made with the newest iteration of RZN material, RZN 4.0, the blue center core is not only softer but also 10 percent bigger than the previous generation. This gives the ball what amounts to a bigger engine, thus unlocking faster ball speeds.
The core utilizes Speedlock X technology. It features deeper grooves and a X-shaped surface pattern, which creates 26-percent more surface area than the former generation to allow better energy transfer through the ball and ultimately provide more distance and faster ball speeds. 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 ball’s Flight Suit cover features visible technology: 344 dimples and 13,558 micro dimples. To achieve longer ball flight, engineers utilized advanced aerodynamics by adding the micro dimples, strategically spread across the cover of the ball, which help facilitate improved lift and drag properties, especially at the end of the ball flight.
The RZN Tour ball will be available in two versions: Black for lower-spin distance and Platinum 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 maximize 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.