For the first half of this decade, there was effectively only been one golf ball for the better player. Titleist’s ProV1 has been so dominant that since its introduction in 2000 that for some players it would have been inconceivable to play anything else. The last few years things have changed completely as a surge of manufacturers like Bridgestone, Callaway, Srixon and Nike started producing balls that are all serious contenders to the crown.
The fact that the world number one plays a Nike ball is always going to mean that serious consideration needs to be given to their offerings and with the recent release of their One Tour, One Tour D and One Vapour they have looked to raise the bar. Bag Chatter got to test the new range and see how they performed.
The Nike One Platinum and One Black balls had, and in fact still have, a fairly sizable presence on Tour and were highly popular amongst better golfers so what are these new balls and just how good are they?
4-Piece Seamless Urethane – ‘Engineered for the complete game. Ultimate tour-level performance – distance, accuracy, control and feel. Featuring 4-piece construction, seamless urethane cover and Power Transfer Technology. The NIKE ONE Tour – designed to be the most complete ball you will ever play.’
Replacing the One Platinum, the One Tour has a slightly firmer feel than its predecessor which is supposed to translate to slightly less spin and slightly more distance. The difference in feel is fairly obvious between the two balls, especially when putting, but this ball still responds fantastically to short irons and finesse shots. Distance is good with the One Tour being markedly longer than the platinum. With the higher spin levels compared to the Tour D ball, this one is easier to work and while the feel is not as soft as the Platinum it feels very good. Durability was very good with some scuff marks visible after 18 holes of normal play. Interestingly this ball tends to shred rather than cut when hit with a modern sharp-grooved wedge.This should not be taken as a negative, it’s just the reality of playing modified U-grooves (until they become illegal) and is an issue for all premium balls
ONE Tour D
3-Piece Seamless Urethane – ‘Engineered for the distance game. Maximum tour distance enhanced by Power Transfer Technology. The NIKE ONE Tour D delivers superior length off the tee resulting in shorter approach shots into the greens. Maximize distance without sacrificing feel and control.’
The lower spinning, higher distance ball of the pair the Tour D replaces the One Black as the higher launching, lower spinning premium ball. Because of the lower spin it is also the straighter of the two balls. Distance and workability-wise the ball is almost identical to the Black but it offers far better feel but like the Black it performs best with a faster swing. That’s not to say that slower swingers would be unable to play this ball but the ball needs a fair belt to really make it perform. The durability of the One Tour D is identical to the One Tour
3-Piece Seamless Ionomer Blend – ‘Designed for the skilled game. Take advantage of multi-layer construction, softened compression and Power Transfer Technology to improve your performance and lower scores. NIKE ONE Vapor – the perfect balance of distance and control.’
Nike have followed the recent trend in having a mid-price premium ball with the One Vapor, the lowest spinning ball in the new range. The Vapor has a very similar 2 piece core as the One Tour D but does not have a urethane cover so while the feel is good it is a fair way from the One Tour and Tour D. With this ionomer cover it offers lower spin off the driver and irons and increased distance. The closest equivalent competitor would be the Srixon Trispeed in that both offer an excellent balance of spin and distance at a price point below premium balls. The One Vapor is a great option for a golfer looking for a premium quality ball on a budget or even for the better player in colder weather where the extra distance is a real bonus. The durability is also very good.
With a cracking showing from these new balls from Nike and the buzz surrounding the new Pro V1 and the Srixon Z-Star, the race to be crowned ‘Best Premium Ball’ is definitely hotting up.