In an industry mired in technical jargon and seemingly endless “advancements” it’s easy to dismiss promises of revolutionary breakthroughs. Last Fall, Nike made just such a claim, when they showed off their 20XI golf ball and while I was intrigued by their new thinking, the proof would be settled on the course.
Continues after the jump.
At the core of the new 20XI golf ball and Nike’s optimism is a new RZN material (resin) that Nike claims is both lighter and has the highest MOI, which helps boost energy transfer from club face to ball and provides added control. The result is a ball that holds its speed better and is less likely to drift offline after the apex — also resulting in a ball easier to launch. That’s never a bad thing. The RZN core is far more consistent in the manufacturing process than traditional materials and allows Nike to produce an extremely uniform product from ball to ball. To the weekender niner that may not sound like much, but an out of spec ball could cost you precious strokes even if it’s only slightly off.
The 20XI comes in two options: a tour distance ball denoted with an X and an S option with tour like spin. I played a round with each and found them both highly competitive. The trade-off between spin and distance is not a new one, but in this case the differences were rather subtle. The 20XI-X came long and straight off the tee and while it was noticeably harder than the S, I was still able to put enough spin out of a green-side bunker to check it up nicely. On the flip side, the 20XI-S was a dream to hit into the green, and I was even able to squeeze a few extra yards out of it when I found myself between clubs. It all came down to feel, and on the green the preference ran towards the slightly firmer X. It’s worth noting that both birdies were scored using the S, so it’s difficult to say whether you would be worse off with either. Easily earning its place as the best ball ever made by Nike this ball will undoubtedly find its way into the bags of better golfers, pros and amateurs alike.
Editors Note: A few weeks ago we introduced you to the Nike Lunar Control golf shoe. Inspired by the Masters, Nike Golf is offering a limited edition version of the shoe. You can find it at the Nike Store. Supplies are limited.
Available April 29th