Review by GolfWRX writer: PhilsRHman
I received a dozen 20XI-S and 20XI-X balls with the understanding I would post my thoughts here. Thanks to GolfWRX and Nike for the chance to hit these balls and for getting product into the hands of the site’s users to weigh in.
Click here to read the discussion in the forums
About me: I’ve been hovering in the upper single digits for the past two years, but have played quite a bit this season and have dipped down to a 4.8 this summer. I’ve always looked for a performance ball at a bargain. Last year that meant the Wilson Staff FG Tour and this year it’s meant the Srixon ZStar-X. If I had my choice of any ball, it would be a Pro V-1x. I’m a very high launch, high spin player, which was proven to be true on two recent Trackman sessions at HotStix in Rye Brook, NY. My driver swing speed at my last session was 114-118 and my big issue is that my angle of attack is around 3-4*, which puts an awful lot of spin on the ball.
I’ll admit at the start, I really didn’t think I’d be able to tell the difference between one premium ball and another, but I guess the fact I’m playing a lot, and playing pretty well, combined with the fact I’ve played almost entirely with the Z Star-X this summer, and I could see very obvious differences.
I’ve noticed a lot of the other guys broke down the ball by segments, so I’ll do the same. However, I’ll rank them in order of noticeable difference.
1. Iron spin: Unfortunately, both the S and X proved to have uncontrollable spin on full shots to the greens for me. With a Pro V or Z Star, a long iron would hit and release 6-10 feet. A 7-9 iron would hit and stop and a wedge would back up 3-6 feet. Very predictable. However, over the past few rounds, I’ve been unable to control the spin on either the S or the X. At first I thought it was just the S, but today proved that the X is as tough to gauge. A long iron (5-6 iron) would hit and stop, maybe even back up 3 feet. A 7-9 iron would back up 10-12 feet, and a wedge would suck back off the green. I saw examples of a 8 iron with a X sucking back 15-20 feet off the front, as well as a 51* wedge that hit on the back of green and zipped back to the front edge (about 45 feet) although that was an S. To me, this is where the review begins and ends for me. Keep in mind, these aren’t on Augusta type greens, they’re on putting surfaces slowed down to avoid losing the greens in the Northeast heat. While the spin once the ball lands was an issue, I didn’t see much evidence of this ball ballooning into the wind, however my draw often turned from a 5-yard draw to missing the green to the left. In the past, this would be the case when I’d deloft the club at impact, which wouldn’t be the ball’s fault, but here I’d be missing pin high, which tells me it’s excess spin.
2. Green side spin: As you’d imagine, I saw some great hop and stop results with both the 20XI S and X, more so with the S. This is definitely a plus for these two balls, because the spin around the greens is consistent and if you practice enough with them I’m sure you can really dial in your chips and hop-hop-stop shots. I particularly noticed that the X performed especially well out of bunkers. Personally, I would prefer the X’s green side spin, because it’s not quite as aggressive and I found that the S had the habit of really sticking on the first hop, but again, that’s personal preference and I prefer to play a low bump-run whenever possible when just off the edge.
3. Driver: Here is probably my favorite part of the 20XI X. I loved driving this ball, it was very easy to work, but I never found myself losing it in either direction. I normally fight a big hook or a block right, depending on the day. The Z Star X must have quite a low driver spin because I can’t work it as comfortably as the 20XI X, so when I really have to work it, I go overboard and lose it. The 20XI X allowed me to hit subtle draws and fades. I think it’s that comfort that allowed me to also bomb away. I found the 20XI X to be consistently longer than the Z Star X, which seems counter-intuitive but proved out over numerous rounds. I put the 20XI X into some positions that I haven’t seen all season at my home course. With all that said about the 20XI X, I really don’t have any good conclusions about the 20XI S in terms of driver, but I do know that I lost several of them into the woods, so I’d say that the extra spin meant I hit them extra wild. I wouldn’t take that as gospel, however, as I sit here writing, I just never got a clearly defined sense of the S off the tee. It was OK, nothing really stood out.
4. Durability: Here’s a real asset of this ball. Sure, a well struck 100 yard shot with a non-conforming wedge will scuff, just like any premium ball. But the cover doesn’t fish gill the way some do and I would give this ball an A for endurance. Nothing longer than a PW marked up the ball, and never grated it on anything but a full wedge.
5. Feel: I know that people put so much stock in how a ball feels off the putter and off irons. I honestly never think about it, until reading a few other reviews and thinking, hmm, yeah, I guess I did notice that. Well, in terms of the S, I did find it to be soft, but not mushy (I thought the previous generation Callaway balls were very mushy). On the D, I also found it to be soft, but maybe a little more solid, if that makes sense. I guess I’d say they are both very comparable to the Z Star X since I didn’t notice much difference between any of the three. I did notice, however, that while switching between the three balls during today’s round (the final test round of about four weeks of playing them all), I couldn’t get the speed of the greens at all. I thought I just putted like a butthead, but then read another review of someone who couldn’t find green speed with the 20XI balls, so maybe I’ve got an excuse. However, yesterday I made 3 birdies in 9 holes with the X, so I can’t really blame the ball. One thing I will say, is that I dug a Pro V1x out of my bag for something yesterday and the feel was MUCH different. The Pro V had a much “deeper” feel at impact if that makes sense. Not firm or soft, just more substantial. I can’t really put it into words, just sort of the same way a really pure iron shot just feels great.
Conclusion: For me, the 20XI X does a lot of things very well, specifically its performance off the driver and its durability. But it’s very hard for me to keep a ball in play when I’m consistently frustrated with a good iron shot that ends up way short. It’s something I could adjust to I’m sure, and maybe if I was playing firmer conditions I’d welcome that extra iron spin. I also know that won’t be an issue for other players, and I think there are enough advantages to heartily suggest giving these balls a try. As for the S, I honestly don’t think it’s the right ball for my game, but in the right hands I think it’ll be a good fit.
With the arrival of the new groove regulations it is no surprise that companies like Nike have invested heavily in new ball technologies. The new 20X1(pronounced twenty-x-i) is the result of the combined efforts of Nike’s golf ball engineers and scientists at Dupont (makers of Kevlar and Teflon) to produce a ball that goes further with more control. Essentially they have made a high MOI ball with a more active core and a softer cover. There are two versions: a more distance orientated 20XI-X and the higher spinning 20XI-S.
The Nike balls also have a resin core than is supposed to produce a faster ball speed and a steeper spin slope that sees less spin off the driver and more off the wedge. Moment Of Inertia was the buzz word in the driver world a little while ago but this sees Nike join Callaway’s Tour i(s) and Tour i(z) by creating a ball with perimeter weighting. Not only is this supposed to produce straighter ball flight but it also means that more of the spin is preserved throughout the ball’s flight. This means it can leave the club face with less spin for more distance but also (and somewhat counter-intuitively) land was more spin than a previous generation golf ball.
All this would amount to pretty much the holy grail of golf balls – a longer, straighter golf ball that is easier to control and stop dead when you need it. So long as putting is unaffected this sounds like it could be phenomenal.
Availability is yet to be announced and as always, more information will be found at www.nike.com.
See what GolfWRX Members are saying about Mizuno’s new ST-180 driver
Mizuno has recently released a new ST-180 driver that we spotted on Tour at the 2017 RSM Classic. The company’s “wave sole” technology makes an appearance for the first time in a Mizuno driver; the design is used to push weight low and forward to reduce spin rates, and the construction contracts and expands during impact to increase energy into the golf ball. The result is a lower-spinning driver, especially for those who hit down on the golf ball, and increased ball speeds across the face.
The ST-180 drivers have a new Forged SP700 Titanium face insert that allows the faces to be made thinner — saving weight from the face while increasing ball speeds — and they feature what the company calls a “Internal Waffle Crown” that saves weight to help shift CG (center of gravity) low and forward in the head.
There’s a slew of custom shafts available for no upcharge. The stock grip is Golf Pride’s M31 360, and the drivers are selling for $399.99, available in stores now.
Note: The posts below have been minimally edited for grammar and brevity.
GolfWRX Members comment on the new Mizuno ST-180 driver
TeeGolf: I’ve seen the ST180 driver [in person] and it looks like it sits perfectly square to me. And this is coming from someone who has been playing a Titleist driver set 1-degree open for the past 3 years. It doesn’t look closed at all.
trhode: I’ve been playing the M2 all year. In comparison at address, the ST is very closed. I had 3 customers look at it yesterday too and they all had the same reaction: closed. That being said, I did play 18 on the simulator and hit some monster drives. The head, with the Raijin shaft, seems to be just a little lower spin than my TaylorMade M2. The blue finish doesn’t bother me either.
akjell: Hit this yesterday at the Mizuno demo day yesterday at Eagle Ridge in Gilroy, CA. Far from a hook machine but definitely a bomber. The Mizuno’s reps put me in a Mitsubishi Tensei White 70X and I could hit this this driver on a string possibly a bit better than my M1. Of the Mizuno drivers of late, this has to be the best one.
odshot68: Ordering it today. Was fit and played a round with it. Optimal launch and spin. Tensei Blue 70x at 9.5 degrees. This is definitely not left bias; first Mizzy driver ever.
nmorton: Hit this today and it’s going in the bag. Just a classic head shape that suits my eye. Been messing around with a number of drivers over the past year and haven’t singled one out. Last long term driver I had was the 850. The ST checks all of the boxes for me…looks great down by the ball, sounds solid and performs as good as any other. What really sold me was how well slight mis-hits performed. I had the 12.5 dialed down so it definitely sat open a bit. Didn’t hit the fairway but it looks sharp as well.
evoviiiyou: Had a chance to test the driver with a couple shafts last night. The head is definitely deeper than the JPX900 and the footprint seems bigger from he set up position, very confidence inspiring like the JPX900 but a little improved. Finish and graphics are very similar to the 900 which is very nice if you like the satin Mizuno blue and I do love it just like the satin black I recently had done to my JPX driver and 3 metal.
regiwstruk: My current gamer is a Titleist 917D3, and this is definitely replacing that. I used a JPX 900 from November 2016 through June 2017 — biggest differences are the sound and that the distance is up there with at least one of the leaders in the market. Anxious to see how it does on the course!
Paul065: It is high launch, low spin yes but I wouldn’t say it was targeted at the average golfer. It’s basically their version of Callaway Epic Sub Zero. Rory used the Sub Zero.
Tommyj: I went down to Carls yesterday specifically to look at the ST180. I’ve read some comments that the face looks closed. When I picked it up it was in the 10.5D position and did look slightly closed but then looked perfectly square at 9.5D and also square at 10.5D which seemed sort of odd. The shape is not for me, I had a Cobra F6 and while the ST180 footprint isn’t that big its still substantial. I like blue on drivers and the ST180 has a real quality look to it with the matte finish, having said that I’m not sure I’d want to be looking at that shade of blue all the time. The sound was an absolute killer for me, it was completely unexpected because I always associate Mizuno with being traditional and understated… ST180 launch was lower than G400 in the neutral setting, about the same when I lofted the Ping down. ST180 was noticeably lower than D2. Longest driver of the three was G400, followed by ST180 then D2. For me the ST180 had the widest dispersion with G400 being the most accurate (by a wide margin).
Discussion: Read more comments about the ST-180 driver here
Spotted: Justin Rose is testing a new TaylorMade “Hi-Toe” wedge
On Twitter today, Justin Rose posted a photo of a never-before-seen TaylorMade “Hi-Toe” 60-degree wedge. As the name suggests, it appears the toe portion is raised; we’ve seen this high-toe design from other manufacturers, and the benefits of those designs included increasing face area on open-faced shots, and shifting CG (center of gravity) to where it’s more beneficial for wedge play (likely higher for more spin and a lower flight).
— Justin Rose (@JustinRose99) November 15, 2017
The wedge is also stamped with “MG” to suggest it’s a “milled grind” wedge, much like TaylorMade’s popular wedge line that’s in stores now. There also appears to be slots behind the face, likely to also shift CG to where it’s deemed more beneficial.
Talks of a TaylorMade wedge with a high-toe design were actually started by Dustin Johnson a few weeks ago in a press conference. His full comments on that wedge are above, and you can join the discussion about the wedge in our forums.
GolfWRX Exclusive: Patton Kizzire speaks on first PGA Tour win, WITB, new 718 irons
Patton Kizzire nabbed his maiden PGA Tour win at last week’s OHL Classic, outlasting a late charge from Rickie Fowler. He raised his first Trophy with a bag full of Titleist equipment and a Titleist ProV1x.
Following the event, our Andrew Tursky had a revealing chat with Patton about the win and the clubs he used to do it.
GolfWRX: When you’re leading down the stretch, are you leaderboard watching? Does a big name like Rickie Fowler chasing you have any effect on your mentality/gameplan?
Patton Kizzire: For most of the tournament, I try not to look at the leaderboard. I took a long look on 15…and I just wanted to make sure nobody was ahead of Rickie and closer to me, and I just went from there.
GolfWRX: Do you get defensive or less aggressive down the stretch? Are you aiming away from pins, or are you ‘head down, keep it going’?
PK: It’s all situational. On difficult holes, maybe [I] play a bit more conservatively. I certainly wasn’t willing to take any chances with a three-stroke lead. I was playing the percentages. I maybe didn’t hit the best shots of the tournament there toward the end. The beginning of the back nine — 12, 13, 14 — were not my best tee shots. But I certainly wasn’t trying to play defensive. I was trying to play aggressively to conservative targets.
GolfWRX: Were there a lot of nerves coming home down the stretch?
PK: It was a little nerve wracking, but it wasn’t my first time in contention. I was able to draw on some of my near-misses, especially the Safeway Open last year. I was in a very similar spot on the weekend on Sunday, and I didn’t get it done, but I was able to look back at that and learn a little bit.
GolfWRX: It looks like you don’t do a whole lot of switching. You’ve still got a 913 Hybrid in the bag and a putter that’s been in the bag for years, too. What does your testing process look like when Titleist comes out with new equipment?
PK: Titleist has been really consistent for me since I was 15…I’ve played Titleist equipment almost exclusively since I was 15 or so. Every year it seems they come out with something new, and I have so much trust in it. It’s a pretty seamless transition. I don’t switch much. I try to put the new irons in play, the new driver, the new woods.
But something like a hybrid, you kind of have a club you fall in love with over the years, and I’ve been a little bit hesitant to switch that. The new balls, the new woods, the new irons are pretty easy for me to get into. And the Vokey team…have done such a great job with wedges”
And I have to mention the putter. The Scotty Cameron GoLo putter has been in my bag for about five years. And I owe a lot of my success to putting.
GolfWRX: Do you ever look to switch out your putter, or do you just kind of love that one and it works for you?
PK: I’ve toyed around with other putters here and there, but I always go right back to the GoLo. For whatever reason, maybe because I’ve used it so long, it just seems like what a putter should be. I feel really comfortable with it. I always gravitate back to the GoLo.
GolfWRX: What makes the wedges a good fit for you?
PK: The way they go through the turf. I like to have a strong leading edge to go through the turf. And the lob wedge needs to perform well around the greens and in the bunker. I’ve really been hitting my bunker shots well with my new 60 degree. I have different versions of the same wedges. Aaron [Dill] does great work in the truck. He kind of tweaks it here and there for me, and they perform like expect them to.
GolfWRX: How often do you switch out wedges?
PK: I get a new 60 degree the most…every four or five tournaments. New 56 and 52 every six to eight tournaments. I try to keep that 60 degree sharp. If we get to a course with firm greens and my wedge doesn’t have the bite that I want it to have, I’ll definitely give the Titleist guys a call.
GolfWRX: What kind of grind do you have on that 60?
PK: We call it the “Dufner grind.” I saw Jason Dufner had one like that about a year ago, and I told Aaron, “I want one like that.” I don’t know what the grind is, but it’s really good for me. [Note: The grind is a modified K grind.]
GolfWRX: One last question… How do the 718 irons look and feel different than the 716 irons?
PK: They don’t look a whole lot different. They’ve been holding their flight better in the wind. I’m able to get the long irons up in the air a little bit. That’s something I look for, being able to control the trajectory. I kind of imagine the shots that I want to hit, and the 718s are coming out on the flight that I want them to.
The good folks in New Bedford, Massachusetts, were kind enough to furnish us with some details about Kizzire’s setup.
Titleist tells us Kizzire switched to from the 915D4 driver to the 917D3 the first week it was available at the Quicken Loans National last year. He switched to the 718 irons to start the 2017-18 season at the Safeway. After missing the cut at in Napa, he has finished T10 (Sanderson Farms), 4th (Shriners Hospitals Open for Children) and then won the OHL Classic.
Titleist Tour Rep J.J. Van Wezenbeeck had this to say about working with Kizzire.
“Patton likes traditional look throughout his bag but needs vertical help with his angle of attack. A 10.5 degree 917D3 helps him with launch but still controls his swing. The shaft is based on a platform he had success with us early in his career and he really loves the feel.”
“The 917 F2 was a perfect fit for Patton early on. He loved the ball speed and having a 16.5 allows him get great launch out of a club he has had trouble with in the past. Titleist Tour Rep Jim Curran worked extensively on finding him a shaft that felt good, was the proper weight, and yet still launched the way Patton wanted. Tour Blue 95 fit the bill – and Patton has been in it for a year.”
“Patton loves the look of traditional irons and the 718 MB fit the bill for his look and his desire to control flight. Now, as he moves up through his bag, he has multiple options in 718 which really helps his game. He moves to 718 CB at his 5 and 6 irons, and then carries the 718 T-MB at 4-iron which helps gapping and ball flight at the top of his set.”
Vokey Design Wedge rep Aaron Dill regarding Patton’s wedges:
“Patton has a old school approach to wedge selection. When he finds a wedge he likes he will rarely make a switch. He doesn’t blame the wedge for poor or mishit shots. His technique is smooth and accurate with mid to high ball flight. His 52 and 56-degree wedges have been in the bag for a while now, and his 60 has changed a little keeping the width but changing the bounce angle for conditions. He likes an old school look which is why we add offset to his 60.”
Kelley Moser on Kizzire’s Cameron GoLo:
“Patton has been using a Scotty Cameron GoLo model since his mini tour days. The one he is currently using was a backup that was made for him when he first earned his PGA TOUR card. He had a stock shaft and silver head version that he used for a long time, but he wanted to shake it up a little so we made him one with a black shaft and a dark finish. He loved it and after his victory said he’s pretty sure this one is in the bag permanently.”
Many thanks to Patton for the talk and the folks at Titleist for sharing some insights on the newly minted PGA Tour winner’s WITB.
You can see Kizzire’s full WITB here.
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