DuPont science is at the core of Nike Golf’s next generation RZN golf ball, designed to deliver more energy at impact for faster ball speed, longer distance and a more stable ball flight. Three Nike athletes using the ball with Speedlock RZN core technology won tournaments in the United States, China, and So. Africa in the first weekend the ball went on sale to the public.
“The strong relationship we have with Nike Golf invites the type of collaboration that generates breakthrough ideas that help differentiate products through science-powered innovation,” said William J. Harvey, president, DuPont Packaging & Industrial Polymers (P&IP).
Until now, softer golf balls gave better control, and harder golf balls travelled faster and further – but not both. DuPont P&IP broke the paradigm 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 revolutionary science of highly engineered DuPont™ HPF advanced ionomer resin technology to achieve both distance and control.
“We knew we hadn’t pulled 100 percent of the energy that we could out of the existing RZN core,” said 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 the interlocking core design to reduce energy loss at impact. That means more distance, especially with fairway woods, irons and wedges, and softer feel and sound around the greens.”
Nike says the key to this design is core technology based on an interlocking design – with a surface area similar to that of a waffle iron – so the compression layer forms a tighter bond and helps promote better energy transfer at impact.
“The holy grail in the industry is to merge both the best distance ball with the best performance ball,” said Jim de Garavilla, DuPont Packaging & Industrial Polymers technology associate and project team technology lead. “To get that in one golf ball is very difficult. With this technology, we no longer need to sacrifice or compromise ‘speed’ and ‘control around the green.’ It’s exciting what this technology achieves, not only for the pro golfer, but the average golfer as well.”
In addition, the advanced performance resin technology also offers the potential for improved sustainability in golf as up to 30 percent of the core material’s weight is from renewably-sourced content.
Most Nike Golf athletes, including Rory McIlroy and Paul Casey, have put the new ball into play in 2014. To date, five Nike athletes including McIlroy, have won with the new RZN technology on the professional tours around the globe.
“I want something that sounds fast off the club head, and something that sounds soft around the green,” said Casey. “This new ball with Speedlock Technology does that.”
“I’m finding that especially around the greens there is a big difference,” adds McIlroy. “The ball feels and sounds a lot softer. Even from inside 50 yards, it felt like the ball was getting a little more grip and a little more spin. My iron shots were great, and wedge shots were great, too.”
Four new RZN golf balls were added to the franchise and started hitting retail shelves in March 2014.
For more than 50 years, DuPont has been collaborating with innovators in the golf-ball industry. This latest innovative material – DuPont™ HPF high-performance resin – is 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 to thermoset polybutadiene rubbers.
DuPont (NYSE: DD) has been bringing world-class science and engineering to the global marketplace in the form of innovative products, materials, and services since 1802. The company believes that by collaborating with customers, governments, NGOs, and thought leaders we can help find solutions to such global challenges as providing enough healthy food for people everywhere, decreasing dependence on fossil fuels, and protecting life and the environment.