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.
My last 10 rounds or so I’ve been testing out the new Tour Yellow Srixon ZStar. I’ve gotten some interesting comments from other golfers about playing a yellow ball. Some think it is cheesy and ask me why I’m playing a range ball on the course and some say it looks cool. The ball itself is very highly visible and bright, and especially easy to see on the course. The one guy who made fun of it two days ago was thinking otherwise when I shot a 73 with the thing for my first round of the year at his club.
Is there something to the color?
This ball isn’t just yellow. It is green, yellow and looks to have some sort of metallic looking flakes or crystal in there. The ball is highly reflective. It is much easier to spot this ball from 200 out than a white ball and Srixon actually has factual data to back that up. According to them, yellow is the most visible color in the visual spectrum. I’m sure they didn’t realize how redundant that statement is, because I’m sure there isn’t a “most visible color not in the visible spectrum.” Ahem. (more…)
So it is January 6, 2010. I can’t quite remember the last time I hit a golf ball. Wait, it is coming back to me. It was last year, December 21st. For me to go 16 days without playing golf is like Obama going 29 seconds without saying the word “change.” It is like JD going 12 minutes without a beer, TW going two hours without… oh boy. Nevermind.
For my last few rounds before Antarctica struck (and don’t get me started on the global warming farce because I’m freezing my golf balls off right now) I played with the new Bridgesone e6 Straight golf ball. Straight is a good thing on my home course, because left is hazard and right is hazard. Well, short is hazard and long is hazard too but I can hit a straight ball right into a water hazard short.
Should I start over? I feel like I’m twisting my own brain into a pretzel. How one twists three braincells (the max my cranium can hold) into a pretzel is another story… Think my medication prescription ran out? Nope, it is just winter here. And winter sucks because I can’t golf.
OK I have to ask before I do my e6 “Straight” overview. Is there an e6 “gay” or as I prefer to say in a more politically correct manner, “e6 heterosexually challenged?”
Thank you very much. I’ll be here all weekend.
OK I promise I’ll be good… (more…)
During round one of the first PGA tournament of 2008, the Mercedes, a commercial (with Nick Price and Paula Creamer) reminded me of a couple of golf ball reviews I need to take care of. The first, the Precept Distance iQ 180.
Precept Distance iQ 180 Technology
The iQ 180 is a two piece “soft distance ball.” Soft and distance in years past haven’t been synonymous but these days they are. The hip thing right now in golf balls is low compression, resulting in softer feel. The iQ 180 fits the bill but in a slightly different way than other balls:
The iQ 180’s core employs Gradational Compression Technology. I’m not sure how golf companies continue to come up with this tech jargon but it sounds pretty cool. “GCT” is a process where the compression level of the core varies from center outward. The ball deforms more while being impacted by the club. In my terms, the ball feels nice and “mushy” and you can really feel it on the face of the club. This “mushyness” (yeah I know) gives the average player more distance.
The cover of the ball is a soft Ionomer plastic which reduces sidespin. Less sidespin means straighter shots, more accuracy.
The soft cover has no seam. Thus the buzzword you hear all the time: “Seamless technology.” There are 330 dimples which provide nice, consistent ball flight.
Titleist has released new versions of the NXT Tour golf ball, the NXT Extreme and NXT Tour. I’ve been playing both flavors for a while now. In this article I’ll be reviewing the new NXT Extreme Golf Ball. My NXT Tour golf ball review can be found here.
Titleist NXT Extreme Golf Ball
The NXT Extreme is is a two piece (core and cover) distance ball. It is geared toward players who need distance and don’t need as much spin around the greens, and who don’t want to spend a ton of dough on a box of balls ($34.00). This would likely include about 90% of all amateur golfers. The ball is extremely durable, so if you can keep it in play you’ll be able to play very many holes with it.
The NXT Extreme is so durable that Titleist guarantees you won’t cut open the ball during normal play. If you do, Titleist will replace your cut ball with a whole sleeve of new ones.
The core of the NXT Extreme is made of Polybutadiene.
From WikiPedia: Polybutadiene is a synthetic rubber that has a high resistance to wear and is used especially in the manufacture of tires. It has also been used to coat or encapsulate electronic assemblies, offering extremely high electrical resistivity. It exhibits a recovery of 80% after stress is applied, a value only exceeded by elastin and resilin. Polybutadiene is a polymer formed from the polymerization of the monomer 1,3-butadiene. ….Right.
The cover of the NXT Extreme is made of Surlyn. Surlyn is a Dupont plastic which is very strong and resistant to cutting.
Titleist has long employed a 392 dimple aerodynamic design. Their research has concluded that the 392 dimple pattern provides more carry and distance. There are five different sizes of dimples which are arranged in an icosahedral pattern.
Staggered Wave Parting Design
New for this year Titleist has introduced the “staggered wave parting design.” Titleist balls, including the NXT, ProV1 and ProV1x series have all had a visible seam. What they’re doing now is staggering the dimples where the seam is, to gain that real estate on the ball. This has allowed more dimple coverage and even better results in carry, distance and spin.
No longer do you need to draw an aiming line on your ball with Titleist’s new A.I.M. system. A.I.M. is short for alignment integrated marking. They call it a system but come on. It’s just a line, right? Perhaps not. The arrows and lines give you conscious and subconscious influence on aim and club path.
On The Course
I’m not a “hard” ball player typically. I prefer softer cover balls and I usually play the Titleist ProV1. My main two reasons are the spin around the greens and the pain (or lack thereof) when I hit full shots. I’ve been battling golfer’s elbow for several years and I’ve just about got it beat. But when I hit hard balls, or a bunch of range balls for that matter, my pain starts to come back.
I found the NXT Extreme to be “extremely” long. Like I mentioned in my NXT Tour review, the biggest distance increase I noticed was in my irons. I was taking aerial photos of the green as my approach shots flew right over by one or two extra clubs. Once I adjusted and went one or two shorter clubs down I started hitting greens again.
I’m not a bomber, but I can poke my drives out there on an average of 290 or so. I’m definitely capable of going beyond 300 when my timing is right and I hit the sweet spot. I found the NXT capable of drives well over 300 yards, but perhaps more importantly they were all fairly straight. With the Surlyn cover and the lower compression producing less spin, slices and hooks were easier to control.
Though I didn’t get any mad backspin I found that the Extreme stopped quite well on approach shots. Keeping in mind that this is a harder ball, I adjusted my shots around the green as well. Once I found the right touch or shot selection (like a bump and run), I found the consistency of the NXT Extreme excellent. I never ended up hitting a shot and wondering how my distance control was so bad.
NXT Extreme 1, Cart Path 0
One shot I hit on my home course, #13 hole, hit the cart path. This is a par-5, 528 yards. After hitting the cart path, my NXT ended up right at 145 yards out. I’d hit about a 380 yard drive, 80 of which was cart path. I examined the NXT for damage, but that Surlyn cover barely had a scratch. Other balls would be unplayable with an impact like that.
The NXT Extreme is a reasonably priced and very durable ball. It flies true, straight and long. It’s a bit too hard for my game and physical limitations with my elbows, but for the average amateur player this would be an excellent choice. I think the average Joe would hit a few more fairways and gain a noticeable bit of distance off the driver (and irons) compared to other golf balls.
For more pictures of the NXT and other Titleist products, click here to visit the Hooked On Golf Blog Titleist image gallery.