With golf balls, as with physical exercise, you've got to focus on the core to get meaningful results. That's how Nike and DuPont developed what they are calling a revolutionary advance in designing a golf ball that goes the distance yet provides good control around the green.
Merging ball speed, distance, and stability with control has been the holy grail for golf ball manufacturers, says Jim de Garavilla of DuPont Packaging & Industrial Polymers (P&IP). A new resin composition for golf ball cores from DuPont P&IP combined with an interlocking design developed by Nike reportedly gets the balance just right.
"We knew we hadn't pulled 100% of the energy that we could out of the existing RZN core," says Rock Ishii, Senior Director, Nike Golf Product Development. "Working in partnership with DuPont, we were able to develop a softer and faster RZN material and created an interlocking core design to reduce energy loss at impact."
Nike's proprietary Speedlock RZN core technology uses DuPont's HPF advanced ionomer resin in a design that has a surface area similar to a waffle iron. The compression layer forms a tight bond and helps promote better energy transfer at impact than previous technology, says Nike.
The resin is based on a patented ionomer technology that enables ionic crosslinking to deliver a combination of high resilience and low compression previously reserved to thermoset polybutadiene rubbers, according to DuPont P&IP. Sustainability is a fringe benefit, since as much as 30% of the core material's weight is derived from renewable sources.
And how is the next-generation RZN golf ball doing where it really counts? The proof is in the putting: The first weekend the golf ball went on sale to the public, three Nike golfers using it won tournaments in the United States, China, and South Africa.
The golf balls started hitting retail store shelves this month.