Mizuno has been a sporting goods company for nearly 113 years, with a core foundation in precise engineering processes in everything from its forged irons to its rain gear. It seems a philosophy that would naturally lend itself to the golf ball, yet it’s the one product in the game the company has kept out of its global portfolio.
Of course, it probably comes as no surprise that when Mizuno decided to bring golf balls to the U.S. and the rest of the world, those new products would offer a technology focused on the most intricate of performance characteristics. The new RB Tour and RB Tour X both feature four-piece, urethane cover design technology, but it’s the dimple pattern that offers something different. It’s the result of 12 years of wind-tunnel testing, said David Llewellyn, director of research and development.
“Mizuno has its own wind tunnel at the Mizuno Technics laboratory and a particular skill set in aerodynamics,” Llewellyn said. “We’ve now built a reputation across Asia and Europe for producing a quality ball – working with tour winners, elite amateurs and emerging tour players. The RB TOUR takes us to the next level and we’re excited to see where this takes us.”
The company’s research in golf ball aerodynamics led to a research paper presented at the 2014 Conference of the International Sports Engineering Association. That paper showed the benefits of “arranging tiny dimples in the crevices between large dimples,” and while the RB Tour and RB Tour X balls don’t go to quite those extremes, the distinctive dimple pattern reflects some of that published research.
According to Llewellyn, the “C-Dimple” on the RB Tour and RB Tour X “creates more trigger points to keep fast flowing air close to the ball’s surface for longer, simultaneously reducing drag, and strengthening trajectory … producing a controllable, penetrating driver flight, and noticeable distance gains on full iron shots.”
While the company has introduced several ball models for decades in the Asian markets, this new ball changed the thinking about entering the competitive golf ball business in the U.S. “We’ve been lobbied on every social media channel to introduce the ball to the U.S. market, but we specifically wanted to wait for this ball,” Llewellyn said.
The RB Tour is designed to be softer compression than the RB Tour X, while the X will offer low to mid driver spin and the Tour will offer low driver spin. Both four-piece designs offer polybutadiene rubber dual cores with an ionomer mantle and urethane cover.
The Mizuno RB Tour and RB Tour X will be at retail next month ($43 per dozen).