WILMINGTON, DEL. — It may be difficult to imagine just how much science, not to mention rubber and plastic components, go into a golf ball. But global giant DuPont Co. believes that it has found the holy grail of golf balls with a new product comprised of ionomer resin technology.
DuPont's science is at the core of Nike Inc.'s next generation RZN golf ball (known as the resin black ball), which was designed to deliver more energy at impact for faster ball speed, longer distance and a more stable ball flight. Released commercially this spring and retailing at more than $40 per dozen, the Nike Golf RZN ball has “broken the linear relationship between soft and fast,” according to Janice Granato, DuPont global golf ball segment director.
“For years, you have had soft balls, which are great around the green, and harder balls, which are perfect for distance,” she said. “But we have taken it a step further and now have the most advanced ball available.”
DuPont “broke the paradigm,” she said, with a new resin composition for golf ball cores that provides compression (softness) and speed for golf balls. Nike's proprietary Speedlock RZN core technology uses this science of DuPont's engineered advanced ionomer resin technology to achieve both distance and control.
These balls are based on a patented, advanced ionomer technology that enables unprecedented levels of ionic crosslinking to deliver a combination of high resilience and low compression previously reserved for thermoset polybutadiene rubbers.
DuPont has been involved in developing the material science of golf balls for more than 50 years, helping to pioneer “cut resistant durability” in the 1960s and evolving into high-performing balls over the past decade, Granato said. The company provides material science for virtually all golf ball manufacturers, and has professionals dedicated to golf ball technology in three locations around the U.S.
“It's a huge challenge because a significant breakthrough in new (golf ball technology) science can take many, many years,” she said. “This industry moves so quickly that we have to come up with new and exciting material science on an annual basis.”