Normally I like to get more holes under my belt with a golf ball before I review it. But by the first round I’ll almost always have reached my primary conclusions anyway. I’m speeding up the review process on the Nike 20XI-X golf ball because I can, and I want to beat everyone else to the scoop.
The 20XI-X is one of two new balls Nike is releasing soon. The 20XI-X or what I call the “X” version, is the longer, distance ball. The 20XI-S (“S” version) is the spin/control version.
The 20XI is a four layer ball. Each layer provides its own characteristics to the flight and spin of the ball.
The cover is a urethane material with 360 dimples. Nike says the cover is seamless and I’m sure it is constructed that way, but I can see what looks like a seam. There’s a definitely an equator which separates two halves of the ball.
Nike has advertised the hell out of the core, as well they should. It is quite ground breaking and an interesting concept. They use a new revolutionary RZN core technology which distributes weight out to the perimeter, sort of like cavity back irons. The result is a higher moment of inertia (M.O.I.) and more distance. Spin rates of this core versus a standard rubber core are reduced, which increases distance.
Around the greens however, they’ve manage to engineer more spin into the ball than their One Tour version golf ball. The core and layer technologies produce less driver spin yet more wedge spin. Isn’t that what all golfers want?
Feel And Feedback
I won’t sugar coat it. This ball feels fairly hard to me off the driver. It is definitely firmer than what I’m accustomed to. But it isn’t a hard which bothers me, like say an old Top Flite or rock hard range ball. The hard feel translates to putts too, producing a hotter roll for me and a slightly sharper sound off the putter. It took me a minute to adjust to putting with it, but after a few strokes I had it down.
This is where the feel gets interesting though. Iron shots and wedge shots don’t feel that hard. They feel similar to any high performance golf ball I’ve used. I can feel the compression and sense the ball on the face of the club well. Auditory feedback is very nice when the ball is compressed with a decently struck iron or wedge.
On The Course
Shot #1 with the 20XI-X was a par-4 of about 393 yards. I didn’t catch all of it, but I had 106 left. During the rest of my round, I found that I was 10-20 yards longer than one of my regular opponents, who I’m usually the same length. This bit of extra length really made a difference on #7, where I was the only one to even reach the fairway into a strong headwind, while my opponents came up short and in a rough spot.
The flight of this ball is excellent. It is a mid trajectory which really bores into the wind. Once again I found I was able to carry a fairway bunker straight into the wind, while my opponent on the same line ended up in a bunker. One of my golf pals mentioned that he liked the ball flight and trajectory of my shots with the 20XI-X.
On my 2nd hole today I had a 58 yard shot to an elevated green. Typically we can’t get enough spin to hold this green. Today I stopped that shot on a dime, pin high. I was very surprised to see the ball hit, check and come back a foot or two from such a short distance.
I had a punch 8-iron later, which carved into the green nicely and checked up below the hole a few holes later. The ball has plenty of bite and spin on the greens.
The 20XI-X is extremely durable. After 18 holes with this one, there’s hardly any noticeable wear, except a tiny bit of the lettering which came off during a wedge shot. See the first image in this review.
Based on my experience, one 20XI-X ball could last several rounds, easily over 100 holes. That is if I don’t lose it first.
Though I haven’t logged as many holes as I’d like with the 20XI-X yet, I do like the performance. The length and control are excellent. The ball is great in the wind and it is very durable.
If I come up with any more commentary during subsequent rounds, I’ll post an update this review and/or a new piece.