Although all Nike Power Distance golf balls fall into the distance/value category, there are actually three versions of these balls. The current lineup of these Nike golf balls includes the Nike Power Distance Long, the Nike Power Distance Soft, and the Nike Power Distance Women. The MSRP for all three types of golf balls is a pretty reasonable $20 per dozen, so they are among Nike's most affordable balls.
Each version of Nike Power Distance golf balls offers its own set of playing characteristics for golfers who prefer to buy inexpensive balls. I bought a sleeve of each type and tried them out for a round each. In no particular order, here's what I found out:
Long Golf Balls
As their name implies, Nike PD Long golf balls are designed to promote distance. They accomplish their goal by using a two-piece construction, a high-velocity core and a 402-dimple pattern that's been optimized to reduce drag. In my experience these Nike Power Distance golf balls lived up to their name - they were long. They were, however, lacking in short game feel and spin. That's not surprising for a $20 ball.
I actually thought the Nike PD Longs were a pretty good buy, though. They gave me the medium ball flight I like because it maximizes roll. All too often, a drive hit on a high trajectory will stop where it lands. A more penetrating, lower flight allows the ball to roll out for additional distance.
To me, their main drawback is a distinct lack of greenside spin. If you land your ball short and run it up to the hole, you'll need to adjust for the Nike PD Long's lengthy rollout. And golfers who typically spin the ball back on the green will find it difficult to do with this particular ball.
They feel softer than many distance balls, which is good. And, their durability is also good, with only one or two marks on the covers after 18 holes. Unlike most distance/value balls, the PD Long has been optimized for golfers with faster swings, so you might want to choose one of the other Nike Power Distance golf balls if your swing speed is less than 90 mph or so. All in all, though, the Nike PD Long is a nice combination of length and an overall soft feel.
Soft Golf Balls
Nike claims that the PD Soft's 2-piece construction, low-compression core and softened ionomer cover with 312 dimples provide "effortless distance" and additional feel. You might feel differently, but for me distance is never "effortless." But, the PD Soft does have the lowest-compression core of any Nike ball other than the Nike Karma. I knew if wouldn't be "effortless," but its soft core made me expect distance with "less effort."
While I was hitting these balls, I did feel as though their design helped them fly farther. Ball trajectory was slightly higher than I got with the Nike Power Distance Long. Nike PD Soft balls are designed for golfers with slower swing speeds (many seniors, ladies and beginners, for example), and I guess my swing qualifies. I also thought these balls had a pretty soft feel off the tee and on the greens, especially for a distance ball. Like Nike's PD Long, however, they just don't give you much greenside spin.
Women Golf Balls
These Nike Power Distance golf balls feature an aerodynamic 320-dimple design, a low-compression core and a soft but durable ionomer cover. They gave me a penetrating ball flight which produced a lot of roll. Like the Nike PD Soft, they are primarily intended to be played by slower swingers. They felt soft and long, and had a nice touch (although no spin) around the greens.
The Bottom Line: Every golfer has different abilities, but we all deserve to play the ball that's most suited to our game. The three Nike Power Distance golf balls are designed to maximize distance but still provide a soft feel for players with different swing characteristics and skills. If you want an affordable distance ball that doesn't feel like a rock, consider one of the Nike Power Distance golf balls. The PD Long can help faster swingers hit the ball farther; the PD Soft can help golfers get the most out of a slower swing; and the PD Women is a soft ladies ball that can help women hit the ball higher and longer.