Review: Nike 20XI Golf Balls

Resin Core = Revolutionary Results
 There is so much technology used in the golf industry now it is mind-boggling.  The high-tech equipment used to produce the best products possible are used by every company.  The one area over the last couple of years that has received a great deal of interested and competition is the golf ball.  Many companies have focused on different layering techniques to achieve the results they were looking for. 
For the past couple years Nike has been working on the biggest part of the ball: the core.  They’ve been working on changing the core of the ball to yield better results.  From my testing they achieved their goal.  The 20XI balls are longer than their predecessors, and straighter while lowering the launch and spin numbers.

I have been a huge fan of the Nike Tour D golf ball.  (low price helped too.)  It consistently is about the longest ball off the tee, yet offered just enough spin to have great control around the greens.  The replacement Nike 20XI-X is even longer.  I wouldn’t have believed it until I saw it during on course testing.  Not way longer but a couple yards on average.  I got about 3-5 more yards out of this ball.  It was also a little longer off the irons and on wedges seemed to spin a hair less than the Tour D.  It really is impressive from tee to green.  On the green I found it to be firmer than the Tour D, and a tad clickier.

The Nike Tour was also a great ball generating considerably more spin off the tee and around the green.  The 20XI-S is its replacement and it is the higher spinning softer ball of the two.  Compared to the Tour it is longer off the tee, less spin and noticeably straighter.  I had a couple of drives that I was sure would be out in the woods, only to find my ball actually in the fairway.  I couldn’t believe it, but it was straighter and more accurate than other balls.  Not huge differences, but a couple of feet here and there can make a difference in a game of inches.  Around the greens the spin was lower than previous Nike balls, but still kept up with other premium balls.  It was softer putting than the 20XI-X and felt very good off irons and wedges.

I’ve always felt that Nike’s urethane cover formula was one of the better ones on the market.  They always seem to hold up well and the 20XI was no different, both versions were really tough and durable.  I did notice that they are a little whiter than other premium balls.  I didn’t find that to be a bad thing, just noticed.

The one major noticeable difference with this ball is the sound, which kind of translates into feel.  Off the driver especially it is has a distinct audible difference.   It sounds harder.  From some other high-tech testing I have read about they say that this is one of the highest compression balls on the market.  Yet the mid-layers allowed for great energy transfer for even mere mortal swing speeds.  It really is a strange sensation.  Although this sound didn’t surprise me since Nike has for a number of years had different sounding clubs, why not balls?

I think that for once the premium price is at least understandable.  I struggle paying $4 a ball for the newest model when the previous model is just about the same but at lower prices.   The 20XI series is actually a noticeable jump in performance.  Initially I thought I would like the 20XI-X the best since it was the next evolution of the Tour D (One Black before that), but after my on course results I will be playing the 20XI-S.  The lower spin rates off the tee, lower launch angle and manageable spin off the wedges really helped my game.

The new core really is revolutionary.  Sure it sounds different, but there are visible benefits to playing Nike’s new ball.  There is a reason most of their staff switched over quickly to this new ball; it really is revolutionary.

  For more information:

 Quick Hits
  +Lower launch
  +Lower spin

  –Different sound