Nike 20XI Golf Ball – an inside out approach to design

Update: Check out our Nike 20XI Golf Ball Review

The Nike 2oXI is the newest premium golf ball to be released by the company and as with any new golf ball, it declares that the innovative technology will dramatically enhance the performance of golfers around the world. But unlike other golf ball companies, they’ve done more than just modify the dimple pattern or release a new color that’s psychologically calming (ahem), they’ve actually come up with something new and innovative.

The new Nike 20XI ball features a combination of proprietary technology never before seen in the golf industry, and is the result of four years of collaborative research and development between Nike Golf’s golf ball engineers and a team of material and science experts at DuPont.

The technology replaces conventional rubber cores with a new resin material that’s a highly neutralized polymer faster and lighter than rubber engineered to produce longer distance and more controlled shots.

“I have never been more excited about a new golf ball innovation than I am now,” said Rock Ishii, Nike Golf’s Product Development Director for golf balls. “For many years, golf ball development has primarily been focused on the number of layers with a solid rubber core. 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.”

Ishii and his team of engineers discovered that using resin core technology in the Nike 20XI accomplishes three critical performance components that every golfer desires in a golf ball: More distance off the tee; Straight ball flight; Increased control around the greens.

Faster Ball Speed Equals More Distance

  • Advancement in proprietary resin core chemistry delivers faster ball speed.
  • Internal tests with Nike Golf tour athletes have shown an average of 2-3 mph increase in ball speed.
  • Every 1 mph increase equates to 2-3 yards carry distance.

Highest Levels of MOI Provides Longer, Straighter Ball Flight

  • Lighter core and heavier outer layers result in perimeter weighting.
  • High MOI assists in reducing driver spin and maintains spin beyond apex to maintain carry and control.
  • After apex, the higher MOI assists in maintaining spin an average of 100-200 RPM.
  • The Nike 20XI has the highest levels of MOI in a golf ball to date.

Steeper Spin Slope Equals More Distance Off the Tee; More Control Around the Green

  • Less spin off the driver, more off the wedge.
  • Overall design and MOI assist in reducing driver spin at impact on average of 100 – 200 RPM over prior Nike ball technology.
  • Softer cover materials allow for greater short iron spin and control.

To date, the following Nike athletes have made the switch to the new Nike 20XI Golf Ball: Stephen Ames, Stewart Cink, Richard Finch, Lucas Glover, Matt Haines, Anthony Kim, Kevin Kisner, Justin Leonard, Jamie Lovemark, Pablo Martin, Francesco Molinari, James Morrison and Carl Pettersson.

The release date of the Nike 20XI golf ball to the public will be April 29th, 2011 with a street price of $45.90. They’ll be launching 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, 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.

In addition to developing a first-of-its kind golf ball, Nike Golf’s new technology has led to a reduction in manufacturing steps and allows for a 54% improvement in production consistency for resin core vs. rubber core.

Sounds pretty awesome right? I’ve never been a fan of Nike golf balls, but the 20XI has certainly piqued my interest!

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  8 comments for “Nike 20XI Golf Ball – an inside out approach to design

  1. at

    I remember when you would just go and buy any golf ball and play the game. Now, technology seems to be evolving constantly. I wonder if it will ever get saturated or if they will just keep evolving to the point where you can program the final destination into the ball just before you hit it. I think that is what George Jetson uses on Sundays!

  2. Bob C

    Popular Science reports the current version of this ball is optimized for pro swings speeds. So not for most amateurs.

  3. at

    Hi Bob, Thanks for the info on the ball, that’s a good piece of information. Going to have to try and dig up that article and read it.

  4. Jeff Trigger

    Knowing Nike, the ball will spin like an SOB around the green, I never hit balls that spun more on simple pitches around the green. I’m also willing to bet the compression of their new line up is still higher than the competition. Meaning if you don’t swing at 105 or faster, you’ll hit the ball so short, you’d better be good with a wedge up…

  5. at

    That’s an interesting theory Jeff, I think you might be on to something there. It’s being priced in what I consider the “low handicap” range, so it’s viable. I’m on the media list for demos so I’ll be able to confirm your suspicions. My current swing speed trends between 96-100, so if your theory holds true, I should be losing a couple yards on my clubs.

  6. Ted

    I received my staff balls a couple of days ago. I played the Tour D last year and loved it. It was my favorite Nike ball ever and I have been on staff with Nike for a long time. I hit the 20xi-X because it is supposed to be the comparable ball to the Tour D. My driver spin rates are low,whic is normally a good thing, but the new X ball just fell ot of the sky on me. I thought that my driver was broken. I hit it short of guys I usually hit it 15-20 yards by. Today I went out and hit the 20xi-S and it was much better. I will say the 20xi-X played well off my irons because the spin actually kept it in the air. Not really longer, but comparable to the Tour D.

    I am going out tomorrow and try all 3 balls (20xi-X, 20xi-S & Tour D) in a side by side comparison. Should be interesting.

    Just my advice, but if your driver spin rates are low, definitely try the new S first. It will probably be the better ball for you.

  7. Ed

    One of the best, most artistic commercials I have seen in a long time. Nothing but raw power racing down the course “tearing it up” so to speak, then something with all that speed and power can just stop on a dime, As good as the Rolex commercials.

  8. Matt

    Ditto on the “fall out of the sky” part (20XI-S). I’d hit the ball very well with the driver or wood and watch it end up 20 yards short of my normal position With my Pro-V1. I have the feeling that off my driver the spin was “too” low. Irons it was pretty good; same distance as the ProV1 however the spin was slightly less as well.

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