Tiger Woods has unveiled the secret behind the prototype ball from Nike Golf that he has been competing with for the past month – a three-cover golf ball construction, the first performance ball of its kind on Tour. Nike Golf will introduce the new construction next week under the name Nike One.
In his quest to create the perfect ball – long off the tee, wind boring and controllable from the fairway, with extraordinary responsiveness around the green – Nike Golf’s lead golf ball engineer Rock Ishii discovered that by combining three covers of varying width and material composition with an incredibly hot core, near-perfection could be attained. In short, he says that the Nike One is arguably the most complete golf ball ever created.
“It’s aptly named because this is the one ball that does it all,” said the world’s number one golfer, speaking at his US Open press conference.
Woods also worked with Ishii on his first ball technology switch – to the solid core Tour Accuracy TW in 2000. Ishii solicited Woods for feedback on the new construction design during the developmental stages of the Nike One, which resulted in Woods’ adoption of the new ball as a prototype.
Over the past four years, golf ball technology has evolved from a primarily wound-ball construction to the solid core/two piece construction to the double-core/four piece construction. The features typically resulted in a ball that was relatively long off the tee or responsive around the green but no one had created a ball that could benefit golfers at the highest levels of performance at both ends of the course.
“That ‘Holy Grail’, if you will, has always eluded engineers,” said Stan Grissinger, category business director for Nike Golf’s golf ball division. “We think the Nike One is as close as anyone has come to reaching perfection and that ideal is now only slightly out of reach.”
Throughout extensive R&D studies, Ishii determined that by meticulously varying the layers or covers surrounding the core he could induce different reactions from the ball when struck and thus he opened the path toward the creation of a ‘perfect’ ball.
Last autumn, at about the same time Nike Golf introduced its hottest core to date, Ishii settled on a combination of three covers that, when applied to the new core, worked in concert to provide optimum results. It’s the first ball with three covers that is designed to respond to swing speed and club angle to maximise distance and regulate spin. In layman’s terms, the Nike One is designed to react according to where the golfer is on the golf course.
While Woods will put the Nike One technology in play at the US Open this week, golfers in Europe will have to wait a little longer to get their hands on the ball which will retail at £40 per dozen.
Due to the expected requests for “the exact ball that Tiger Woods plays,” Nike Golf will make a version of the Nike One with Woods’ specifications in very limited quantities. The Nike One TW will give Tiger fans the opportunity to tee up a ball with the same spec as their hero.
The difference in the Nike One and the Nike One TW lies with Woods’ desire to play a ball that has a lower trajectory than the average golfer may play. The cover of the Nike One TW is slightly softer to enhance Wood’s creative short game and the spin rate is slightly higher. The end result of the Nike One is a ball that flies higher than the one Woods uses in competition but responds comparably from the fairway and around the green.
Nike Golf www.nikegolfeurope.com.
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