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Nike's betting that a new proprietary material will power the next revolution in balls
NIKE ENGINEERS noticed that most jumps in ball performance went along with the introduction of new materials, so five years ago they hooked up with DuPont to explore the idea of a resin—essentially plastic—core. After 340 versions, the product they developed is lighter than Nike's rubber cores, yet has more rebound. Since it's lighter, the designers could put more weight around the perimeter of the ball, which lowers the moment of inertia, so the new 20XI ball (available April 29) spins less off the driver but just as much on shots around the green. According to Nike, the ball comes off the club face 2 to 3 mph faster than its other balls.