Nike 20Xi Golf Ball
What Nike Has to Say:
Revolutionary to its core. The 20XI is the first ball on Tour to use a radical new core technology. The revolutionary RZN core delivers more distance off the tee and better control around the greens. It features faster initial velocity for maximum distance, the highest levels of MOI for longer, more controlled shots and new construction materials giving greater consistency ball-to-ball for highly predictable performance.
Pretty brilliant by Nike to release a golf ball that’s primary component is different than every other golf ball on the market. As seen in the “Rubber was, RZN is,” advertising campaign the Nike 20Xi features a resin based core (instead of rubber) that Nike says will boom like nobody’s business (in so many words.) Nike, and just about every other golf ball company is looking for the tour caliber ball that will take off and compete with the ProV1. Regardless of whether or not that will happen for Nike or any other manufacturer, the golf ball business is a multi-billion dollar industry and any ball release that can get some street credit with the casual golfer will become a big time moneymaker.
Play Testing: Ian
Long. We play tested the 20Xi-x version which is the supposed to be the longer and firmer version of the two 20Xi balls. It definitely has some zip when you hit it straight, and I emphasize hit it straight. I know the Nike bot testing shows this ball has less side spin than others off the driver, but whew boy, when I came across one that sucker would missile sideways. Now, keep in mind, I’m a 13 handicap and an average at best driver of the golf ball. When I come across any ball it’s going to go sideways, but for whatever reason, I had a knack for losing these things like no tomorrow. When hit flush and straight it’s as long as any tour ball I have ever played before…easily.
While the 20Xi and I did not seems to agree with the driver, I loved it around the greens. I got a lot of stop and pop action playing pitch and punch shots and was very confident anywhere inside of 40 yards. It makes a nice soft click off the putter and performed a lot better than the less expensive all-around ball I am used too playing.
Couple things that I want to point out: First, a tour ball is a tour ball. There’s a reason its $40, because the people who should be playing this ball don’t lose them very often. Most of us are not that player and as such should probably play something that fits our games and checkbooks a little bit better. Golf is a game of ego so I completely understand why someone would want to play the same ball Tiger is playing though. He does wear a hat that says 20Xi on the side for reason.
Lastly, golf is a game of playing to your strengths, of being confident and comfortable. If you’re a 30 handicap and you feel great playing this ball or another tour caliber ball, play the heck out of it. Having trust and being comfortable in the one constant on every golf shot is of the utmost importance. Overall, while I liked it around the greens quite a bit, my propensity for hitting them in the bushes and their $40 price tag will keep me from reloading the bag with these bad boys. It is definitely a very high quality golf ball, just one that doesn’t seem to fit my “spray it and pray for it” approach right now.
As most weekend golfer know, the softer a ball is the more it spins around the green and off the tee. For those of us that are less then straight off the tee we want the best of both worlds; long and straight off the tee and soft and spinny around the greens. Of all the tour quality balls I’ve tested I have to say this is the closest I’ve come to finding the ideal ball. Around the green and off the putter this ball feels every bit as good as any other tour level ball. Now don’t get me wrong the 20Xi will stray off-line if you put a bad swing on it. It will slice or hook but it doesn’t seem to be any worse than any others I have played.
The area the 20Xi excels in is windy conditions. The ball seems to cut through the wind with a bit more purpose than others. During a recent windy round at The Home Course in Dupont, Washington, I was facing a 120-yard shot into a 20+ MPH head wind. The first ball I hit was from another manufacturer and was gobbled up by the wind and landed about 10 yards short. Just to see if the 20Xi would preform any better I dropped it in the same spot and made a very similar swing and put the ball in the middle of the green.
If you’re a mid to low handicapper that enjoys a softer high performing ball and don’t mind paying $40+ a dozen I would definitely recommend giving the 20Xi a shot.
For more information on the Nike 20Xi Golf Ball, please visit Nike’s website at: http://www.nike.com/nikeos/p/nikegolf/en_US/experiences/20xi
Images Courtesy of Nike Golf