Review: Nike New 20xi Golf Balls

Best Ball for 2013!
While it might seem a little early to call this one,  I am pretty confident that by the end of 2013 I will still say the same thing about the “new” Nike 20xi golf ball.  It is the perfect combination; the advanced performance of the original 20xi with the feel of the Tour/Tour D golf balls.  Taking a look at the “what’s in the bag” sections of the 2013 Nike staff it looks like all of them are playing the new Nike 20xi golf balls compared to only a couple who used the original 20xi last season.
The original 20xi had great performance benefits because of the RZN core, (review here) but the feel/sound kept them from finding a permanent place in my bag.  Even though there were longer, spun nicely and really were a great ball, they just felt so harsh and sounded so funny that many golfers just couldn’t get over that fact.  I even noticed some of the tour pros went back to previous version of Nike balls.  Enter the new 20xi/20xi-x and they still have a RZN core, now even bigger, but a different mantle which creates a much better feeling ball.

The new 20xi golf balls are the replacement ball to the original 20xi-s or previous versions of Nike Tour golf balls.  They are the comparable ball to the Titleist ProV1.  The 2013 model is a culmination of many years  of engineering and listening to golfers.  Comparing it to the original 20xi, performance wise it was pretty similar from what I could tell.  It is soft and long off the tee.  It has great control off the irons and it is one of the highest spinning balls you can play off wedges.  It is like a top on the greens, checking-up quickly even when using conforming grooves.  I was even able to spin it back.  It maybe spins just a hair less then the old Nike Tour balls, but those were too spinny for many golfers who already put adequate spin on the ball.  I would say that if you don’t have tour swing speeds, this is probably going to be a great ball for you.

The new 20xi-x could be the winningest ball on the PGA tour in 2013. (if the newest additions to Nike’s staff play at the same level they did last year)  It is certainly my favorite ball.  I put this one through the ringer this fall just before the snow fell.  I got in a bunch of rounds that offered a great variety of conditions.  It went from 70* and sunny for one round, to 35* and windy for another and a couple in between.  While you can certainly see the difference in performance (and swing) with the temperature changes, what I was happiest with was the great feel of the 20xi-x.  It felt much like the Tour-D ball, a firm ball but not harsh.  Even in the near freezing temperatures it felt great.

Off the driver this is the longest ball I’ve hit to date.  With the low spin, lowish launch and high speeds, it just goes and goes off the driver.  It was fairly straight too with the low spin, but it was workable if you want.  I prefer to hit it straight, but if you want to move it one way or the other, controlling the shape would be no problem with this ball.  Off the irons is was more of the same; mid spin, controlled launch and excellent distance control.   When you get close to the green, the spin control was really nice.  As an amatuer I still play non-conforming grooves, so I don’t need tons of spin, just control.  The 20xi-x is just the right amount for my game;  mostly check with just a little roll out.

In the wind the dimple pattern is pretty standard stuff.  The ball will move some, but because of the lower spin, it resists ballooning and didn’t ride the wind side to side too extensively.  The urethane cover is bright and durable.  It is a little brighter white than some other premium balls, but the durability is really solid, very few cuts or shred marks after 18 holes.

Many golfers are still skeptical of Nike golf balls, but the new 20xi’s are the real deal.  They feel great and offer improved performance benefits.  If you like to really spin it, the new 20xi is your ball with its super soft feel and excellent spin around the green.  If you prefer to bomb it and already generate plenty of spin then the 20xi-x will be your ball.  The nice little touch of red numbers on the ball will hopefully translate into red numbers on your scorecard.

My only question on these ball has nothing to do with the ball itself, but the name.  Now I know other companies keep the same name year after year, but I wonder if someone who hit the original 20xi and didn’t like the feel, will be willing to give these a try.  I also thought the name was based on the 2011 year, being 2013 I wonder how well that translates.    Don’t let that keep you from trying these balls, they are the best ball for 2013.

For more information:

Quick Hits
+RZN Performance
+Excellent feel
+Durable Cover
+Spin or Distance versions

–the 20xi name