Let me start by saying: I've never been a big fan of Nike balls. For the last 3 years I've floated between Callaway's Hex Chrome and the (+) version as my regular gamers.
After hearing some great reviews of Nike's new RZN lineup, I decided to give them a try for myself. I bought a dozen of the White which tout "softer feel", and a dozen of the Red which claim "longer carry". I proceeded to play 36 holes with them over the weekend. I played two balls on most shots, hitting one, followed by the other to effectively compare performance. About the tester: I'm a 31 year old player with a 8 handicap, with a 90-95 mph Driver clubhead speed. Not a long-baller, but a solid short game and iron player. I can move the ball both directions comfortably, but my "stock shot" is a strong draw, with enough backspin and trajectory to make a 4-iron hop once and then stop.
For the test, I played two different courses with two different sets of challenges. The first course (Saturday) was lush, with a 10-15 mph breeze for most of the round. Greens were like dartboards, and the course plays fairly short and open. The second course (Sunday) plays a little longer, with narrow fairways, lots of trees, and greens like a tiled floor, and NO wind at all. Temperature was in the mid 80s both days, with high humidity. I'm focusing on overall results, rather than specific clubs.
The feel of the balls is distinctly different. A simple bounce test with each model shows a unique sound to each one off the floor. The White has a soft, muffled thud, while the Red has a distinct, but not overly loud, "click". This same sound transferred over into impact....making it easy to distinguish which ball I was striking without having to look to confirm.
On longer shots, the differences between the two balls was most noticed. With the driver, the Red would launch higher than the White, with it's peak trajectory being 15-20 ft higher in flight. The White would launch lower, but seemed to "float" through the air with a bit more backspin. Both balls were fairly easy to maneuver and "flight" however I wanted. On shots that were struck the same, I would usually find the balls within 10-15 feet of each other. The RZN White would fly lower, land, and roll out quite a bit, whereas the RZN Red would carry farther, with a steep descent and less roll. Overall distance on longer shots was nearly identical on average. However, in a headwind, the Red was a bit more prone to "ballooning" than the White.....likely due to the higher launch angle. This was worth noting.
Approach shots yielded similar results. On wedge approaches inside 100 yards, it felt as though the Red would pop up in the air, and come down soft with little roll. It almost seemed as if I was hitting flop-shots rather than traditional approaches! The White would come in a bit lower, hop once, and stop. Both balls were fairly easy to control, even on the second day with it's slicker greens! I wouldn't describe either of these balls as having excessive rollout on chips or pitches.
Off the putter face, the distinct "click" of the Red made it a personal preference over the muted "thud" of the White.
Overall, both balls are great. My initial concern was that the Red would be too hard to stop and spin around the green (as is the case with most "distance" balls)....this proved to not be an issue. After 36 holes of testing, I can confidently say that the new Nike RZN Red or White could be finding it's way into the bag as my new Gamer!