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A solid improvement on an underrated ball

A Review On: Nike RZN Black

Nike RZN Black

Rated # 13 in Premium
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Pros: Improved feel, excellent control and wind performance, uncanny ability to find the hole

Cons: Not for everyone so posers should stay away, older balls at a discount are still a better overall value

A little about me: I am a high swing speed player with a high ball flight, I tend to go for the lower spinning tour ball profile than most manufacturers put out, such as the ProV1X, B330, and last year's 20XiX and 20XiX tour issue. I have a number of last year's 20XiX and am familiar with that ball, so I will be comparing that ball to the Rzn black, as well as the Rzn Platinum and other tour balls from last year. I haven't hit the newest B330 so I can't compare it to this ball, but those will likely be the two duking it out for my preferred spot in my bag this year. I received all four of Nike's new line of balls for free from our sponsor Globalgolf.com, and I liked the black the best, followed by the platinum and finally the red and white.


From long distance, which is a big factor in determining my choice of ball, the rzn black is one of the best on the market. I didn't bring my woods to the last round except my driver, but the rzn black was very impressive with a 2 club wind; on one hole I hit a fade into the wind, and it started right but held its line well enough to stay in play where most balls would have cut more once the ball reached its apex. It was a high drive with a lot of carry for that amount of wind, most balls would have broken off to the right and faded a lot more. I think it would have fared slightly better than the 20XIX on an equivalent shot, maybe a couple yards less curve than its older brother but much better than most balls on the market. Distance was very comparable with the 20XIX which is excellent, and the trajectory was about the same which is also excellent, but the feel was better than the 20XIX. Many have complained about the feel of the previous ball, but I never found it to feel bad unless you didn't hit it properly or with enough speed. This one feels solid and very satisfying to hit hard. I can imagine I'd like it off my other long clubs based on what I've seen from the driver and long irons.


Off my irons, this ball performed well, with a slightly softer feel than its predecessor and perhaps a touch more spin on the short irons. Not much negative to say; I won't play a ball that doesn't perform well off the irons, but this one was excellent as one would expect from a premium ball. Good distance, and it tends to stop near the landing spot. Wind performance is still good throughout the irons and wedges, and my clubs all flew and stopped more or less as I expected, so no surprises.


In the short game, the ball made an improvement over the 20XIX in my opinion. I don't get too picky in the short game performance, as I can alter my shot based on how much the ball spins, but it needs to have a urethane cover for me to be happy with it. I will play the cheapest urethane balls I can get in most cases, especially when I can get last year's 20XIX for around half the retail price of the current one. I will typically play most of my chips and pitches with a bit of spin, but usually won't carry it within 6 feet of the hole on purpose unless I'm expecting it to spin a lot more than usual or I have no choice on where to land it. This ball spun slightly more than the 20XIX on chips and pitches, but it felt better to me on these types of shots than the 20XIX or, for that matter, any ball in its category. It isn't as soft as the Rzn Platinum or ProV1, but it may be softer than the ProV1X. It also has a slight click off the putter which I happen to like, and I control my distance very well with it around and on the greens. I also noticed when I was pitching and chipping on the practice green with the platinum and black, hitting the shots from various places without checking which ball I was using, that I would get both of them pretty close most of the time, but the black went in the hole a few times. Any ball that's luckier than another will be my choice, all things being equal. 


Overall, I will certainly buy some of these this season since my pro shop stocks them, it will be the 20XIX and last year's B330 until they run out and the Rzn Black after that. I will need to try the new B330 because I think that is the only ball to rival this one, and my pro shop stocks Bridgestones as well. I liked this ball better than the Platinum overall, and it didn't really compare to the White and Red. I might consider going with the Platinum over this one if I were to play a course demanding more stopping power from long range or a lot of tough short game shots, but honestly I doubt there are many courses with greens hard enough, and I don't think the extra spin from my full wedges is necessary. The Platinum was a good ball though, and I think Nike's Rzn line has some of the best balls out there performance wise, as well as very good feeling overall.


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