More is better, at least when it comes to what's inside Nike's 20XI golf balls.
The current iterations of the Swoosh's flagship spheres begin with a core made of a material called RZN (pronounced 'resin'), which is lighter and less dense than the rubber found in many other balls. Using RZN allows for more of the balls' weight to be placed out closer to its perimeter – which, Nike says, makes them more stable in the air and helps them maintain their spin on the way down from the apex of their flight.
For 2013, Nike is adding even more RZN material to the core and mantle of its 20XI balls – in fact, there is two times as much RZN in the new balls compared to the previous generation. This larger RZN core, Nike engineers say, improves feel on all shots while maintaining driver distance, while the added RZN mantle produces longer shots off irons while providing a softer short-game feel.
"The added RZN mantle provides faster speed off irons and, therefore, more distance," said Rock Ishii, Nike Golf's product development director for golf balls. "Not only did we increase speed with 20XI, but we added softness for improved feel around the greens, creating a balanced tour model golf ball."
Internal tests with Nike Golf staff players showed an average of two or three miles per hour in ball speed, Nike said, and each mph gained equated to an additional two or three yards' worth of carry distance.
The lighter RZN core and heavier outer layers produce the kind of perimeter weighting that creates stability and forgiveness in many golf clubs. This stability, often referred to as MOI (Moment of Inertia), helps to reduce ball spin off the driver and to maintain spin as the ball is coming back down toward the ground, In fact, Nike says, the new 20XI has the highest levels of MOI in a golf ball to date.
The 20XI will be available in two versions, the 20XI and the 20XI X. While both balls deliver faster speed and high levels of MOI, the 20XI ball is designed for improved feel and enhanced short game control. The 20XI X, meanwhile, delivers maximum distance and reduced spin for greater accuracy off the tee, making it the longest tour model Nike Golf has ever created.
Both models will be available on Feb. 1, 2013, and will carry a suggested retail price of $58.00 per dozen and a street price of $45.99.