In creating the four new models in its RZN golf ball collection, Nike Golf worked from the inside out.
The company's proprietary Speedlock RZN core technology features an interlocking core design – the core's surface is similar to a waffle iron. This design helps the core connect with the compression layer surrounding it to form a tighter bond that helps improve the transfer of energy through the layers at impact.
Similar to the way that snow tires utilize aggressive tread to bond with a road surface, Nike Golf explains, the Speedlock core's interlocking geometry helps eliminate the slipping that normally occurs between a traditional, smooth-surface core and the outer layer. When a core slides or slips on impact, the ball loses energy and, as a result, speed and distance.
''We knew we hadn't pulled 100 percent of the energy that we could out of the existing RZN core,'' said Rock Ishiii, Nike's senior director of golf product development. ''Working in partnership with DuPont, we were able to develop a softer and faster RZN material and created the interlocking core design to reduce energy loss at impact.
''The lightweight RZN material allows us to add weight to the perimeter of the golf ball, which gives the new RZN family an extremely high Moment of Inertia (MOI) in a golf ball,'' he added. ''This provides incredible ball flight stability in all wind conditions.''
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When they began considering how to build these new balls about a year ago, Nike Golf designers looked to the past – specifically, the original Haskell ball, which emerged in the early 1900s as the first rubber-core golf ball. The Haskell design – consisting of elastic thread wound around a rubber core under extreme tension – helped make slower materials faster, and Nike engineers explored what that could mean for a lighter, more modern RZN material in the core.
''Tightly wrapped material pulls more energy through the layers, and converts that energy into additional ball speed,'' Ishii said. ''One additional mile per hour produces an average of five yards in additional distance.''
A new spin-optimized coating on the ball's outer surface helps grip the grooves on the clubface for better control on wedge and iron shots. This coating, along with a softer cover and softer compression in the core, helps provide improved sound and feel, especially on off-center shots.
The four new models include:
--RZN Platinum: Tour-level control with moderate spin
--RZN Black: Tour-level distance with less spin
--RZN Red: Distance with longer carry
--RZN White: Distance with softer feel for swing speeds of 95-100 mph
The new balls will be available at retail on March 1, 2014. The Platinum and Black models carry a suggested retail price of $58 per dozen (and a street price of $45.99), while the the Red and White models carry a suggested retail price of $40.00 (and a street price of $29.99).