Nike RZN Black, Platinum, Red and White Golf Balls Review

Why Play in the Now?

This is my official Nike RZN Golf Balls Review: Black, Platinum, Red and White.

Nike discontinued these balls but the creator broke off into a separate company and re-branded them to RZN Balls and they are just as good if not better than the originals!

Nike RZN Golf Balls – Overview

Golf balls evolve each and every year with new covers, new cores, new coatings, more spin, less spin, longer, softer, etc.  Over the many years of golf, the ball has probably been the biggest difference maker.  From an old “feathery” to the newest Nike RZN ball there is a huge difference.  While Nike has used some humor to promote its new line of RZN balls with the “Play in the Now” campaign, it is aimed at the advances of the RZN core.  The new materials and waffle like core exterior are said to be their best golf ball to date.  Why “Play in the Now?”

I’ve been a fan of some of Nike’s golf balls over the years.  The old One Black and Tour D were some of my favorite golf balls and based on Tour play, they were a big hit there too.  I think that the new RZN Black is a better replacement.  The RZN Platinum is also a worthy replacement to the One Platinum and Tour ball.  I don’t have those older balls around anymore, but based on memory I’m really happy with the new ones.  I think they feel just as good and perform even better.

The first version of the RZN core dates back a couple of years.  While the performance was excellent, the feel was not.  Last year Nike make great feel improvements, but kept the odd 20XI name, which I think kind of confused customers.  This year they retooled the whole line and went with some familiar names and improved feel and performance across the board. 

I received a sample pack of all four of the new balls, a sleeve of each.  I saved one ball of each model for Flightscope testing and then took the other 8 balls with me to Puerto Rico.  The first ball I put in play was the RZN Black.  It was my favorite ball from a couple generations ago.  I was so happy to see it perform like I remember, and feel just a smidgen softer.   After 9 holes I switch out to the Platinum and it too was much like what I remember.  Softer and so much green side spin.  It still generates a little more spin off the tee than I would prefer, but such a good feeling ball and so much control with irons and wedges that if you can play it, really a solid performer.

My second round of the trip I started with the RZN Red; this is a new ball of sorts in name, but really a replacement to the RZN X of last year.  It is very similar in performance to last years model as far as I can remember.  It is a firmer distance ball.  The price is lower because it doesn’t have a urethane cover.  The RZN White is also new, but again replaces the RZN from 2013.  This one was different to me.  It felt much softer and I really like how this one played tee to green.

Below are some Flightscope charts for comparison.  I used a Pro V1x as the comparison ball, since that would be my typical gamer if I were going to play Titleist.  As you can see there are things that one ball does better than the others and another that works well in a different area.  Much of what they are designed to do came through in my testing both on and off the course.

As you can see across the board, the driver numbers are all fairly close, with a few rpms here or a couple degrees of launch there, but when all was said and done, the results are similar.  I think that picking a ball purely based on the tee shot would not be the way to go.  It is the next couple charts that really dictate how the ball will best fit your game.

It hit 6-irons shots to see how it reacted on approach shots.  The one factor that Flightscope can not account for is feel.  Of all the balls in the test the Nike Red felt the firmest, then RZN Black, Pro V1x, RZN Platinum and the softest was the RZN White.  So this doesn’t impact the performance numbers, but it does affect your confidence and mental perception of the ball.  For example, if I was going to play the lower priced option, I would pick the White over the Red simply because of the better feel.

The last chart really was the shocker for me.  I hadn’t done a multi-ball test like this where I put premium urethane covers against the more economical ionomer covers.  The spin difference was astounding.  I hit 10 extra balls with each of the RZN Red and White to see if it was my swing or something I was doing, but I couldn’t get anywhere near the spin off full and partial wedge shots.  The cover really makes a big performance difference when it comes to green side spin.  Back in the day when the grooves were super sharp, I had too much spin with premium balls and went to an economical ball for a while and actually had better spin control, but now the grooves don’t shred covers and cause excessive backspin so there is a real premium still on the spin that the tour-level balls offer.


On-course I just can’t get enough of the Nike RZN Black.  It offers that lower spin off the driver and irons that I need, yet still enough spin around the green to keep things tight.  The Flightscope charts give you a sense of what each ball does in comparison to others.  In the last couple of years Nike has made huge strides in the RZN core.  It initially performed great, but it had such an unpleasant  feel.  The new RZN core fixes that and offers even more exceptional performance.  There is no reason to go back to older generation balls, “Play the Nike RZN ball you like in the Now”

Still available on Amazon here

For more information:

Quick Hits
+Familiar Nike golf ball names
+Excellent performance
+Much better feel
+2 tour ball options
+2 performance priced options


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About The Author

Ryan Heiman – Founder and Head Author of Independent Golf Reviews
Ryan has over 10 years of experience testing and writing golf reviews of nearly every brand out there.
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