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Nike 20XI / 20XI-X Balls

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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.

Click here to read the discussion in the forums

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.

Click here to read the discussion in the forums

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.

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GolfWRX is the world's largest and best online golf community. Expert editorial reviews, breaking golf tour and industry news, what to play, how to play and where to play. GolfWRX surrounds consumers throughout the buying, learning and enrichment process from original photographic and video content, to peer to peer advice and camaraderie, to technical how-tos, and more. As the largest online golf community we continue to protect the purity of our members opinions and the platform to voice them. We want to protect the interests of golfers by providing an unbiased platform to feel proud to contribute to for years to come. You can follow GolfWRX on Twitter @GolfWRX and on Facebook.

9 Comments

9 Comments

  1. Roger Ackerman

    Mar 29, 2014 at 10:56 pm

    Hi just got a Hole in one on a par 3. 136 yards with a Nike RZN X . This was at Peninsula Gulf Club Gulf Shores ,Al . They sent a Great Commemorative wall plaque with a picture of the hole,yardage, date, club. Not a thing about the ball. Do you have a way to mount the Ball . So I can Display it by by we’re it should be. After all the Ball made the hole in One . Roger Ackerman. ( my first hole in one )

  2. Nick

    Aug 20, 2013 at 4:27 pm

    Just bought the 20xi-x. I normally play with the prov1x, but I’m looking for a good ball with a smaller price tag. I have a chipping green in my back yard and tried these out chipping against prov1x. The nike feels like a Slazenger raw distance off the 56* and the putter. Awful feel, hopefully I see results with it on the course.

  3. Terry

    Sep 12, 2012 at 2:01 pm

    20xi-x is the worst ball I have played this summer. My swing speed is 95mph for the driver but the ball feels hard off every club including the putter and my distance much shorter and its durability is less than the pro-v, bridgestone, or sixron ball. No wonder they were half price, poor purchase even at $24.

  4. Levi

    Jul 15, 2012 at 5:51 pm

    I’ve tried the 20xi ball and thought it was terrible ball it
    felt terrible around the green and especially with the putter!

  5. gticlay

    May 3, 2012 at 10:03 am

    @Martin – are you using conforming groove clubs or square groove from the pre-conforming days? I ask because this ball must be made to spin properly with the conforming grooves and if you play a ball made to spin with CC and use square grooves, you’ll end up doing what you did. So just curious what you are using.

    thanks!

  6. Pingback: Nike 20XI / 20XI-X Balls | Augusta Blog

  7. Jay

    Apr 30, 2012 at 6:25 pm

    It’s only April and this guy is talking about summer? So you tested this ball in the summer of last year?

  8. JaxBeachNole

    Apr 30, 2012 at 5:56 pm

    ” I love in NE Florida,” I do love typically in NE Florida, but meant live. My apologies.

  9. JaxBeachNole

    Apr 30, 2012 at 5:54 pm

    Great review. I play the X as well as some leftover Tour One Ds and think it’s as good as any ball out there.

    I disagree, however, with the level of spin around the greens. I have found that the X doesn’t zip as much as the current ProV1x. I love in NE Florida and play firmer greens typically but felt that on pitches the 20XI-X rolls out a little more than the ProV1x.

    It is the ball in my bag though and I am happy to see a positive review.

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What GolfWRXers are saying about the best “5-woods under $125”

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@golfexchangeapp

In our forums, our members have been discussing 5-woods, with WRXer ‘gary3aces’ looking for a 5-wood for between $100 and $125. He’s looking to replace his current “M2 5 wood with something a little easier to hit”, and our members have been discussing the best options in our forum.

Here are a few posts from the thread, but make sure to check out the entire discussion and have your say at the link below.

  • C6 Snowboarder: “Take a look at a used Callaway Heavenwood in the Epic Flash model = pretty Friggen sweet. It is Heaven!”
  • Golf64: “Bang for the buck, hard to beat Cobra, but find Ping one of the easiest to hit off the deck. Since you are limited in the funds dept., maybe an older model Ping 5W would do the trick?!”
  • tilasan1: “G400 7 wood turned down or just use it as is.”
  • jbandalo: “Fusion fairways. Highly underrated, cheap, easy to hit and go for miles.”
  • RyanBarathWRX: “PING G fairway would be hard to beat and easily in price range:
  • Nelson.br.1515: “Another vote for the Callaway Big Bertha Fusion. Great stick!”

Entire Thread: Best 5-woods under $125″

 

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What GolfWRXers are saying about “blending Ping i500 irons with Blueprints”

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In our forums, WRXer ‘ballywho27’ has asked for thoughts on combining his current Ping i500 irons with the brand’s Blueprint irons. ‘Ballywho27’ is considering going “i500 in 3-4 iron and blueprint 5-W” and has asked for fellow member’s thoughts on the idea – who have been sharing their takes in our forum.

Here are a few posts from the thread, but make sure to check out the entire discussion and have your say at the link below.

  • jblough99: “I had a combo set for a minute, 3-5 I500 and 6-PW Blueprint. I could not get used to the transition, HUGE difference in looks at address. If I had it to do over I would just go 4-PW Blueprint and maybe a 3 I500 with graphite shaft as a driving, iron.”
  • animalgolfs: “iBlade{5i} – BP{6i-pw}. That’s my combo.”
  • Chunky: “I have i500 4-5 and Blueprints 6-PW. As mentioned above, there is a significantly different look at address. More importantly for me, the i500s are 1/2 to 1 club longer than the BPs (they fly much higher, too). Make sure you account for that added i500 distance when blending lofts or you’ll have a large gap.”
  • howeber: “I’ve done that exact set — 3 and 4 i500 and 5-PW Blueprint. It’s perfect for me since the 3 and 4 are more like a traditional 2 and 3.5. 4 is usually the longest iron I carry, so I like a little extra oomph out of it. At the end of the day though, when I finally tested them vs my MP4s, the Blueprints performed identically, while the i500 launched a little higher (same specs same shafts). Mizzys are still in the bag.”

Entire Thread: “Blending Ping i500 irons with Blueprints”

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GolfWRX Vault: Avoid these 5 club building disasters

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It’s never too late to go back to basics, especially when it comes to club building.

Even with modern new club release cycles the do’s and don’ts of building clubs haven’t changed much in the last few decades except for clubs with adapter sleeves and greater amounts of multi-materials incorporated into the design.

With that in mind its time to revisit an article from the GolfWRX Vault from June 2016.

——————

I’ve been fitting and building golf clubs for more than 15 years, and in that time I’ve seen a lot of really poor workmanship—stuff that would make most GolfWRXers cringe. But like anyone who ever did anything new, I didn’t start being naturally good at putting together clubs. It took a lot of time, ruined components, and trial and error to get where I am today.

I believe my attention to detail now stems from the fact that my dad was a machinist by trade, and anytime we ever worked on something together his attitude was to take your time and do it right the first time. My dad’s approach always had an impact on me, because I feel that if you do something right — even when it takes a bit longer — the job is not only more satisfying but also makes things work better and last longer.

The goal with this article is to help WRXers avoid the most common mistakes and assumptions in club building that lead to broken or ruined clubs, as well as real danger.

Over-prepping a graphite shaft

The shaft on the left has been prepped properly. The one of the right, which has noticeable taper, shows signs that layers of graphite have been removed.

This happens far more than it should, and can ruin an expensive new shaft purchase. To prepare a shaft properly for installation, you only need to remove enough of the paint to make sure that the epoxy adheres to the graphite. This is also true for the inside of the hosel.

Be careful to remove residual epoxy, dirt or rust (common with forged carbon steel club heads that have been sitting around for a while), or some type or solvent like the one used to put on grips, as it can cause of bond to break down very quickly. A proper reaming tool, a wire brush and some compressed air (either a small can or a large air compressor) can make cleaning simple, and prevent a golf club from falling apart.

UPDATE: Over prepping specifically applies to shafts that are designed to go into parallel heads and is especially important for 335 shafts with less material at the tip going into drivers and fairway woods. For information on how to properly taper a shaft to go into a tapered head, check out the video below:

Overheating a Shaft When Pulling it

This is what happens to a graphite shaft when overheated.

This is what happens to a graphite shaft when overheated, and the resin holding the graphite sheets together breaks down. It’s not always as noticeable, but if the shaft starts to fray it means the bonds have been compromised and it’s more likely to fail. 

Overheating a shaft when pulling it is another common mistake that can result in ruining a golf shaft. It also highly increases the chance of breakage. There are quite a few methods I’ve learned over the years to remove a shaft from a club head, from heat guns to large propane torches, but personally I find that using a small butane torch with a regulator for graphite offers the best results. It allows a club builder to easily control and focus the heat only where it’s needed. Bigger torches are fine for iron heads, as long as you don’t damage any plastic badges in the cavity or materials in slots around the head.

One of the best advances in club technology has been the invention and mass adoption of adjustable hosels. They not only help golfers adjust the loft, lie and face angle of club heads, but have also greatly decreased the need to pull shafts. So as long as a golfer is staying with the same metal wood manufacturer, they can usually test several different clubs heads with the same shaft, or vice versa — several different shafts with the same clubhead.

That being said, one of the most important tools that any hobbyist club builder should have or have access to is a high-quality shaft puller. It’s a necessary tool for anyone who wants to do repairs and helps prevent damage to a shaft while pulling it. The more linear pressure that can be applied to the clubhead, and the less heat used to break down the epoxy, the better. It makes sure both the shaft and the head are reusable in the future. For steel shafts, you can use a bit more heat, and twisting isn’t a problem. Again, with increased heat, be careful not to damage any of the badging, or permanently discolor an iron head.

Botching a Grip Installation

Using calipers and two-sided tape, you can replicate the taper of shafts to makes every grip feel exactly the same size in your set.

Using calipers and two-sided tape, you can replicate the taper of shafts to makes every grip feel exactly the same size in your set.

This one seems simple, but when really getting down to professional level detail, it is quite important. We ALL have a preference and different opinion of what feels good in a golf grip, as well as different sensitivities. For example, we all have the ability to figure out what apple is bigger, even if blindfolded because over time we all develop brain function to understand shapes and sizes. This also applies to grips. If you use the same grips on your 13 clubs, you could potentially have 4-5 different final sizes depending on how many different types of shafts you use, because many shafts have different butt diameters.

Some shafts have larger butt diameters, while others taper faster than others. That’s why it’s very important to own a quality set of vernier calipers, and know how to properly use them. It’s also the same for putters, since many putter shafts are smaller in diameter. I have lost count of how many times I’ve had people bring me, putters, where the bottom half of the grip is twisting and turning because the installer never paid attention to the interior diameter of the grip, the exterior diameter of the shaft, and how it changed from top to bottom.

Using epoxy that’s doomed to fail

An example of epoxy that although not completely set, is no longer safe for assembling clubs.

An example of epoxy that although not completely set, is no longer safe for assembling clubs.

I’m a bit of a physics nerd and garage engineer, so this is one of those topics that goes beyond just the physical aspects of club building and into the realm of chemistry.

Here comes my nerd-out moment: In the simplest of explanations for a 0.335-inch driver hosel with an insertion depth of 1.25 inches, the amount of calculated surface area the epoxy can bond between the shaft and the head using the internal dimensions of the head is 1.49 square inches. That’s not a whole lot of area when you consider the centrifugal force being applied to a driver head traveling at 100 mph, and then the forces of torque that also come into play when a shot is struck.

In a PERFECT world, almost zero torque is applied to a shaft when a shot is hit on the center of gravity (CG) of the club head, perfectly aligned with the center mass of the ball, while traveling in the intended direction. This is vectors 101 of physics. Unfortunately, almost every single shot is NOT hit like that, and this is where the epoxy bond is put under the most amount of stress. Lap shear strength of epoxy goes beyond me, but it proves that building a golf club is not just cut and glue after all.

Note: For those of you curious, the most popular epoxies are rated for 4500 psi. 

As far are actually working with epoxy, first things first. Always check to see if the epoxy has a best-before date (yep, just like milk). Also, never store epoxy in direct sunlight. If you are using epoxy from a tube in a dispensing gun, you are using what is an almost foolproof method. Plunge out the necessary amount, mix for about a minute (mix! don’t whip), and remember, the less air that gets into the epoxy the better. If air gets in and the epoxy cures with bubbles in it, then you end up with a club that will often “creak.”

For those using two parts in larger bottles, the best way to ensure proper ratios is to pay attention to the weight ratio rather than volume. This isn’t arts and crafts; it’s chemistry, so by using the weight to calculate the ratio you will get the right amount of each part every time, and help decrease the risk of failure down the road. If you have mixed a larger batch and plan on building quite a few clubs at a time, you really have to pay attention to the consistency and viscosity as time goes on. You don’t want to glue a club head with epoxy that has started to set.

Turning an Extension into a Shank

The difference between a good shaft extension (bottom) and a bad one.

The difference between a good shaft extension (bottom) and a bad one.

This is one of those subjects I don’t even like to talk about. I very much dislike using extensions when building clubs, especially clubs with graphite shafts. Going back to my “do-it-right-the-first-time” mentality, extensions are a Band-Aid fix to a problem that requires surgery. They also counter-balance the club, and by their very nature create a weak point because of the small wall thickness at the butt end of a shaft. The only clubs I don’t mind extending on a regular basis are putters since they are never put under the same level of stress as a club being swung at full speed. I also never extend a club more than 1 inch, because I have been witness to horror stories of clubs that have been overextended that not only break but rip through the grip and cut people’s hands very badly.

If you are going to extend a club, it’s important to make sure the fit is very snug and doesn’t cause the extension to lean in any direction. It’s also best to have the epoxied extension cure with the club on its side to avoid an excess epoxy from running down the shaft and breaking off and causing a rattle.

 

 

 

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