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Home Nike Golf cuts to the core

If you have noticed during golf telecasts 20XI on the side some hats and wonder what it meant, the answer has arrived. Nike Golf is unveiling its new 20XI (pronounced: twenty-X-I) premium golf ball franchise, which it believes 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.
The new Nike 20XI ball features a combination of proprietary technology 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, which Nike said is lighter, faster and 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.”
By employing resin core technology, Ishii and his engineering team discovered it accomplishes three critical performance components: More distance off the tee, Straight ball flight, Increased control around the greens. Internal tests with Nike Golf tour athletes have shown an average of 2-3 mph increase in ball speed and with every 1 mph increase equates to 2-3 yards carry distance, Nike said.
Heavier outer layers that result in perimeter weighting surround the lighter core. Nike said the higher moment of inertia (MOI) assists in reducing driver spin and maintains spin beyond apex to maintain carry and control. After the 20XI reaches its apex, the higher MOI assists in maintaining spin an average of 100-200 RPM, the company further stated. The overall design and MOI assist in reducing driver spin at impact on average of 100 – 200 RPMs over prior Nike ball technology, it said and the softer cover materials allow for greater short iron spin and control.
According to the company, 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 have made the switch to the new Nike 20XI.
The Nike 20XI franchise will launch two versions of the ball, the 20XI-X (tour-level distance) and 20XI-S (tour-level spin).  The 20XI-X is optimized, Nike said, to reduce excess driver spin for maximize distance, while the 20XI-S incorporates a softer cover for enhanced greenside spin and control. 
“Rock and his team have nailed this,” said Nike athlete Stewart Cink.  “They’ve been able to increase the gap between driver spin and wedge/iron spin.  With this ball, I have 2mph more speed off of the driver and I’m hitting it 10 yards farther.  Nike has developed a ball that goes faster and has found materials that spin more with the wedges and less with the driver. So it’s longest off the tee and spinniest around the greens. What’s not to like?”
In addition to developing a resin core golf ball, Nike Golf said it’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.
Both 20XI balls will be available April 29, 2011 in North America and carry a manufacturer’s suggested retail price of $58 per dozen. The street price is expected to be $45.99.