Nike Golf is adding another colour to its golf ball palette this spring. The Nike One Platinum (SRP: €60.00, £40.00, SEK599.00), the first ball designed to maximise the potential of larger headed drivers, joins the Nike One Black and the Nike One Gold, giving golfers a new way to score in the red beginning in June.
In November 2004, Tiger Woods switched to Nike Golf’s newest driver, the 460cc Nike Ignite. He proceeded to win two and place second over his next three events. Was this equipment nirvana for Woods and Nike Golf or just another opportunity for innovation to rear its curious head?
Director of product development, Rock Ishii, watched Woods hit balls with his latest long-range weapon through November 2004. Woods‘ ball had the optimum spin-rate with the 460cc Nike Ignite, but in the engineer’s professional opinion, he could be more efficient and longer with a higher trajectory ball. Even though he was hitting the ball further and controlling it better with the new 460cc Nike Ignite, he still was not reaching his potential. The challenge for Nike Golf’s golf ball team, suddenly, was to develop a ball that was longer and controlling with larger headed drivers without losing the spin performance around the green.
In June, Nike Golf will introduce the Nike One Platinum, the first ball designed to maximise play with today’s larger head drivers by promoting a higher trajectory and a lower spin rate.
Woods has quietly been playing a prototype One Platinum since the debut of the 2005 PGA Tour at the Mercedes Championships. He continued his winning ways from the November switch to the 460cc Nike Ignite driver, but since January the One Platinum has helped him elevate his game even higher. In his six events this year he is averaging 301 yards off the tee, which ranks him 3rd, and his 407-yard bomb at the Mercedes ranks as the 2nd longest on Tour.
For Woods though, the One Platinum’s responsiveness around the green is just as critical. A couple of the other reasons he green-lighted the One Platinum project to go to production are his 72.4 percent average in Greens in Regulation, which ranks 3rd, and his 69.31 scoring, ranked 2nd this year.
His two other Tour victories this season aside, it was Tiger’s recent Masters win that cemented his blistering return to form once and for all and the One Platinum played no small part in that feat. The world watched in amazement as Tiger’s ball teetered on the brink of the 16th hole, bearing its swoosh to the cameras before completing a moment that will surely go down in golfing history. Tiger’s first Major win since 2002 will help to ensure that his new ball leaps off the shelves on its forthcoming release.
The Nike One Platinum will feature a Progressive Density Core with a soft centre and a progressively harder outer shell. This provides lower spin off the tee even with its soft outer cover. It is comparable to the Nike One Black, Nike’s longest ball on Tour, in that regard. Similar to the Nike One Gold, the One Platinum is comprised of three layers or covers beyond the core. Each cover of the One Platinum has its own job to do: the Inner Cover, closest to the core, is designed to reduce spin off the driver; the Middle Cover provides superior mid-iron control; and the Outer Cover, softer than the Nike One Gold, promotes incredible feel around the green. The Outer Cover also features Nike Golf’s proprietary 408 dimple pattern, the same one used on the Nike One Black. This particular dimple promotes a higher trajectory and more penetrating ball flight through the apex of the ball’s trajectory. In other words, it descends at a less steep angle promoting more distance and roll.
The shift to larger headed drivers on the professional tours, club heads of 400cc and bigger, began in earnest in 2004. Such a widespread trend usually suggests that the average golfer is quick to follow.
The One Platinum is not designed exclusively for drivers over 400cc; its distance off the tee, wind-boring control from the fairway, and responsiveness around the green will match any combination of clubs. Golfers who have made the move to a larger driver will experience the greater potential of the One Platinum.
Nike Golf www.nikegolfeurope.com