Nike Golf has tried to keep its new 20XI golf ball a secret. But no secret is really safe in the golf industry and word of the new ball with resin material has been around for months. Now Nike Golf finally is unveiling Nike Golf the 20XI (pronounced: twenty-X-I) premium golf ball franchise, featuring what it calls “innovative golf ball technology that will dramatically enhance the performance of golfers around the world and, at the same time, propel golf ball manufacturing into an entirely new level of innovation.’’
Nike Golf staff players, including Justin Leonard, Stewart Cink and Lucas Glover, already have put the 20XI into play this year. Tiger Woods, however, has yet to join them. The Striped One, according to sources, is testing the ball and will be put it into play when he’s ready. Here’s guessing he’ll be ready at the Masters in early April, where every move and stroke he takes is analyzed to the point of annoyance. Until then Woods will continue to play his Nike One golf ball.
Maybe Eldrick will be playing the ball by the time it begins shipping to the public in April 29. The Nike 20XI will carry a street price of $45.99 per dozen. That’s a pretty long window for consumers to wait, so it will be interesting to see how Nike Golf tries to keep the 20XI in the public’s mind until then. Given that its competitors wil have been shipping new ball product for weeks if not months, that could be an uphill battle.
In other words, the ball better worth the wait. Obviously Nike Golf believes it is. According to the company, the Nike 20XI ball features a combination of proprietary technology never before seen in the golf industry. The new technology, Nike Golf says, replaces conventional rubber cores with a new resin material. Resin is a highly neutralized polymer Nike Golf says is faster and lighter material engineered to produce longer distance and more controlled shots.
The Nike 20XI franchise will launch two versions of the ball, the 20XI-X (tour-level distance) and 20XI-S (tour-level spin). While both balls deliver on faster speed, higher MOI and steeper spin slope, Nike Golf says the 20XI-X is optimized to reduce excess driver spin to maximize distance. The 20XI-S incorporates a softer cover for enhanced greenside spin and control.
“For many years, golf ball development has primarily been focused on the number of layers with a solid rubber core,’’ said Rock Ishii, Nike Golf’s Product Development Director for golf balls. “We believe that there wasn’t really anywhere else to go as far as technology advancement in these areas, and felt that the next window of opportunity was in the exploration of various materials for the core.”