We all must have spotted the 20XIlogo on Nike staff players’ caps this year. It's what's known in the trade as a teaser to encourage those loyal to the brand to look out for the new Nike 20XI golf ball, which was officially launched this week.
Nike's head of golf production - the innovatively named Rock Iishii (though thankfully his moniker doesn't reflect the compression of the ball he oversees!) says primary technology behind the ball is in its core, made of a resin-like polymer material designed to be lighter, while promoting a higher ball speed off the clubface.
A lighter golf ball will travel further, he says, while the perimeter weighting adds forgiveness on miss-hits.
“Golf ball development has for years been primarily been focused on a number of layers with a solid rubber core,” says Ishii. “We believed there wasn’t really anywhere else to go in technology advancement in these areas, and felt that the next window of opportunity was in the exploration of various materials for the core.”
It has taken four years to develop the 20XI ball with DuPont and former Open champion Stewart Cink is delighted by its performance.
“Nike has been able to increase the gap between driver spin and wedge/iron spin with this ball and I've gained 2mph off of the driver and I’m hitting it 10 yards farther,” he says.
The 20XI line will have two models – a spin and distance ball and when it's released in the Spring you can expect to pay around £40 for a dozen.