5 for 2016: New Golf Balls From Nike, Pinnacle, TaylorMade

Looking for a new golf ball to play in 2016? Here are five new options offered by Nike, TaylorMade and Pinnacle.

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Nike RZN Tour

Nike RZN/Tour Black golf ball
Cutaway view of the Nike RZN/Tour Black golf ball. Nike Golf

The Nike RZN Tour golf balls build on the initial RZN balls that Nike Golf introduced in 2014. There are two models of RZN Tour balls, the Black and the Platinum. The Black ball is for golfers who want lower-spin distance; the Platinum ball is built for mid-spin control.

Both are 4-piece balls with urethane covers, and boast, Nike says, more distance and softer feel compared to the previous-generation RZN Black and RZN Platinum balls.

Along with the Speedlock X Core and Speedlock Mantle technologies visible in the cutaway, the RZN Tour balls also feature what Nike call its Flight Suit Cover. There are 344 dimples, plus 13,558 "micro dimples" - dimples within the dimples. The micro dimples improve lift and drag, Nike says, particularly at the end of the ball flight.

The MSRP for both balls is $48 per dozen and they go on sale in late January 2016. nikegolf.com

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Nike RZN Speed

Nike RZN Speed golf balls
Nike Golf

The RZN Speed golf balls are 3-piece balls that put the focus on soft feel with distance. The same Speedlock X Core tech is present as is in the RZN Tour balls, but the RZN formulation is softer in the Speed models.

There are two versions of Nike RZN Speed balls. The Red version has a longer carry while the White version has a softer feel.

The MSRP for both balls is $30 per dozen and they go on sale in late January 2016. nikegolf.com

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Pinnacle Rush and Pinnacle Soft

Pinnacle Rush and Soft golf balls
Acushnet Golf

The new-for-2016 golf balls from Acushnet's Pinnacle brand are called Rush and Soft. In keeping with Pinnacle tradition, both are distance balls in the value market segment.

The Pinnacle Rush "is designed to max out a golfer’s distance potential," said Scott Cooper, Titleist R&D’s Product Development Manager. "It’s a distance-focused construction with a low compression core and a firm cover."

The Pinnacle Soft, meanwhile, is touted as the softest ever under the Pinnacle brand. "Pinnacle Soft is designed for the golfer that wants soft feel on every single shot," Cooper said, while noting that it still fulfills the Pinnacle promise of distance. “Yet this is still a Pinnacle golf ball, and when golfers tee up a Pinnacle they expect long distance."

The Pinnacle Rush comes in white and yellow; the Pinnacle Soft in pink and white (the white balls with either black or pink play numbers). Both balls became available in January 2016 with $15.99 MAPs ($19.99 MSRPs). pinnaclegolf.com

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TaylorMade Tour Preferred and Tour Preferred X

TaylorMade Tour Preferred and TP X golf balls, 2016 models
TaylorMade's 2016 Tour Preferred (4-layer, left) and Tour Preferred X (5-layer) golf balls. TaylorMade-adidas Golf

The 2016 models of the Tour Preferred and Tour Preferred X golf balls are TaylorMade's flagship balls. They are "tour balls" aimed at better golfers seeking softer feels and more control. Both balls are on the retail market with MSRPs of $47.99 per dozen.

What's the difference between the two? Here are some key differences:

Tour Preferred: 4-layer construction with compression rating of 80. Softer feel than the X ball. Relative to the TP X ball, has a higher launch and more spin on long to mid-iron shots. Higher trajectory on approach shots relative to the X ball.

Tour Preferred X: 5-layer construction with compression rating of 87. Low spin off the driver and lower ball flight off irons. More feedback on shots into and around the green compared to the Tour Preferred. Most of TaylorMade's Tour staff plays the Tour Preferred X. taylormadegolf.com

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TaylorMade Project (a)

TaylorMade Project (a) golf balls
TaylorMade Project (a) golf balls. TaylorMade-adidas Golf

The TaylorMade Project (a) golf ball is targeted to "the competitive amateur player to promote more spin and improved performance where needed most: 30 yards and in," the company says.

The compression rating in the 2016 model is 70, compared to 88 in the previous Project (a) ball. And spin has increased in the mid-iron, short iron and greenside shots with the new version. The MSRP (dozen balls) at time of launch was $34.99. taylormadegolf.com