The uniquely-designed depressions on Mizuno’s new golf balls could make you a much happier golfer.
By Tony Dear
One new product (launched the first week of November) a lack of space precluded us from featuring but which we wanted you to be aware of is Mizuno’s new Tour-quality golf ball – the updated RB Tour (and RB Tour X).
Though it had been making golf balls for the Japanese and European markets for some time, Mizuno didn’t make its first ball for American golfers until 2019. The RB Tour and RB Tour X were made in the Taiwanese factory where Nike balls had been produced and, though Mizuno certainly borrowed from Nike’s materials and production expertise, the ball(s) had a definite Mizuno spin on them.
Golf ball nerds will recognize that last sentence as a really hilarious joke because the original RB Tour was a very high-spin ball that may not have appealed to a particularly wide range of players but appealed very strongly to those who appreciated its specific performance characteristics.
The majority of golf consumers naturally associated Mizuno with grain-flow forged blades and musclebacks (and, increasingly, cavity-backs irons), however, so weren’t immediately drawn to its golf balls. But despite its somewhat narrow appeal, the 2019 model(s) sold in sufficient numbers for Mizuno to continue in the golf ball market. The company assigned a US ball-making team based in Atlanta to work with its Japanese counterpart in creating a successor – a ball which saw an incredible 99 prototypes before its makers were finally convinced it met all their exacting standards.
The 2022 RB Tour and RB Tour X are both three-piece balls with urethane covers (more durable, says Mizuno, than the 2019 cover). As was the case with the 2019 version, the major difference between it and the high-end golf balls against which it competes is its unique dimple design. Unlike most Tour balls which average around 350 dimples, the new RB Tour has just 272 which almost look like saucers to those of us used to seeing many more smaller surface depressions.
The dimple-design, which Mizuno spent three years perfecting and which it calls ‘Axiaflow’, creates bottoms that are slightly off-center. And rather than each dimple having a consistently-positioned bottom, they are all positioned differently. Seemingly at random, in fact.
But ‘random’ isn’t a word associated with modern-day equipment design, of course. Indeed, the angles at which those dimple bottoms are tilted and how they are positioned are all subject to an optimized-algorithm that seeks to increase launch with the driver (the 2019 model launched relatively low) and flatten short-iron/wedge shots while retaining the high short-game spin.
Those that loved Mizuno’s 2019 RB Tour (for golfers with higher swingspeeds) and RB Tour X will hope the 2022 balls don’t differ greatly from the originals. They will be solaced by the same high short-game spin rates, while a number of players who didn’t much care for 2019’s flat driver-flight will be interested to see how much higher the 2022 ball launches off the tee.
Price – $43/dozen
Construction/cover – 3-piece/urethane
Also available – the 2-piece RB566 and 3-piece RB566V (increased velocity). Both feature ionomer covers with 566 dimples designed to keep the ball in the air longer. The RB566 retails at $22/dozen, the RB566V at $30/dozen.
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