The 2011 Masters officially began early this morning, when legends Arnold Palmer and Jack Nicklaus, teed off from the first hole at Augusta. And while that's part of the decades long traditions that surround this event, there are some new things making their debut this weekend.
has three technologies that are being put to tournament use by their team of touring pros, including Stewart Cink, Lucas Glover, Paul Casey, Anthony Kim, and yes, even Tiger.
That pic on the upper left shows what was inside the box that arrived at my house last week, containing two of the new technologies Nike developed, both of which are limited edition.
First is their new Lunar Control shoe
. Launched in January, and designed in collaboration with Paul Casey, the Lunar ($190), is made to combine stability and comfort with its familiar saddle design fused with innovative materials and construction technologies you'll find in Nike running shoes, like Lunarlon Foam for comfort and cushioning, and Nike Flywire for support that won't give out over time. And the Power Channel in the forefoot gives you more flexibility and greater natural motion through that swing you've been working on.
And for The Masters, Nike is offering the Lunar Control in a (very) limited edition, complete with a green and black sole. Watch for Paul Casey, Anthony Kim, Carl Pettersson, Francesco Molinari and Charl Schwartzel to be sporting them around Augusta's ridiculously manicured greens this weekend.
Next is the introduction of Nike's newest radical golf ball technology, the 20XI
. Gone is the widely used rubber core, in favor of a new resin. Why resin? Because, according the tech wizards at The Oven, Nike Golf's R&D facility, resin is a "highly neutralized polymer thatís faster and lighter material engineered to produce longer distance and more controlled shots."
How much better is the resin ball?
After four years of testing, they've found it delivers three critical things all golfers dream about: More distance off the tee; Straight ball flight; Increased control around the greens. And they achieve this because the resin delivers faster ball speed. Up to 2-3 mph faster. And with every 1 mph giving you 2-3 yards carry distance, the 20XI ($58), just helped you add nearly 10 yards to your drive.
For The Masters, watch the players tee up special 20XIs with a green swoosh. A couple of sleeves of green swoosh balls were in my package, but don't expect to see them at your local retailer when the 20XI become available to the public on April 29. Those will have the regular black swoosh. And will be available on 20XI S for more spin and control, and 20XI X for greater distance.
And finally, Nike has improved on their Method putter released just last year -- used by Stephen Ames, Paul Casey, Stewart Cink, Lucas Glover and Justin Leonard -- and is introducing the new Method Core
. After capturing two majors last year with Glover using his Method during his U.S. Open win, and Cink employing his around the greens during his win at The Open Championship, the new putter gets a unique new polymer-aluminum insert.
This distinctively red insert "lessens impact vibrations, providing a pure sound on contact, and grabs the ball at impact, resulting in a smooth, more controlled forward roll." And this is important, because it helps eliminate backspin which causes skidding and mis-direction. And that, according to Nike Golf athletes, is an important ingredient to their putting accuracy, distance control and ultimate putting success. The less backspin, the more "true" the putt will roll. And we need all the "true" help we can get.
The new Method Core putter will be available in five models, 3 of which are blades, 1 mid-mallet and 1 mallet, for $159.99.
Grab these, and other new technologies and Masters limited edition gear, at NikeGolf.com