DuPont Co. and Nike Inc. are joining forces to make golfers' dreams come true with a golf ball that goes farther and straighter, thanks to a core made from a DuPont plastic material.
Wilmington, Del.-based DuPont and Nike the sports giant based in Beaverton, Ore. unveiled the Nike 20XI golf ball on Feb. 15. The ball which will be commercially available in late April has a core made of DuPont's HPF-brand ionomer, a specialty thermoplastic resin.
In testing, the HPF core increased ball speed by an average of 2-3 miles per hour. Each mph gained typically adds 2-3 yards to the length of a golfer's drive off the tee, DuPont's James de Garavilla said in a Feb. 15 phone interview.
So, in essence, golfers can expect a gain of almost 10 yards thanks to the new miracle ball.
The HPF core also creates a steeper spin slope on a struck ball, which means the ball will have a flatter and straighter trajectory, improving both its accuracy and distance, added de Garavilla, who serves as DuPont's global golf ball technology leader.
The ionomer [core] creates unprecedented balance and resiliency, he said.
DuPont and Nike began working on the golf ball project together in 2007. The two firms had long been partners on numerous footwear projects, where Nike uses various DuPont materials. The grade of HPF used in the new golf balls also contains up to 40 percent renewable content.
DuPont has been the ideal partner for us on the 20XI ball, Rock Ishii, Nike golf product development director, said in a Feb. 15 news release. They are the world leader when it comes to materials, science and innovation.
Previously, DuPont's Surlyn-brand ionomer had been used on the covers of numerous golf balls, but not on balls used on the PGA Tour. The 20XI ball which already is being played by touring pros does not have a Surlyn cover.
The ionomer used in the 20XI balls is made at a DuPont plant in Orange, Texas. Nike operates golf ball-making facilities in both the U.S. and Asia.
There's a tremendous amount of excitement about what [the 20XI ball] brings to the game, DuPont global golf ball marketing leader Jon Kemp said by phone Feb. 14.
Neither de Garavilla or Kemp have tried the ball themselves, but Kemp said he'd like to.
I'm not that great a golfer, so [the 20XI ball] would help, Kemp added.