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Callaway’s XR 16 Drivers: Revealing photos from the Boeing Factory

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Recently, I was lucky enough to partake in a tour of The Boeing Company’s Everett Factory near Seattle, and pick the brains of its Aerospace engineers and tour guides. But this is a golf website, why should you care, right?

Well, for its new XR 16 and XR 16 Pro drivers, Callaway Golf teamed up with engineers from Boeing to develop a more aerodynamically sound driver. Read more about the technology here.

Why Boeing? With a mutual interest in how things fly — whether it’s airplanes or golf balls — it “was a great opportunity for collaboration” between the companies, according to Evan Gibbs, head of metal woods at Callaway Golf.

Also, at Boeing, there exists a group of young engineers collectively named O.N.E. (Opportunities for New Engineers), who use their intelligence and passion for problem solving for projects outside their everyday work of making airplane wings more efficient. So when Callaway asked Boeing to help make its new drivers faster and more efficient for golfers, Boeing had just the group of engineers for the job.

So a group of about a half-dozen O.N.E. engineers were given 3-4 months — a significantly shorter period of time than aerospace engineers are typically provided — to design an “add-on” to the crown of Callaway’s new drivers.

As Boeing Aerodynamics Engineer Adam Clark explained, there are many differences and similarities between the aerodynamic puzzles of airplanes and drivers.

XR16Boeing-600x485

I paraphrase:

Both have to do with laminar and turbulent flow. An airplane wing needs to be streamlined to reduce friction, as does the relatively rotund body of a golf driver head. The solution is very similar.

Here’s what the Boeing engineers came up with:

Below, I relay some ridiculously interesting facts, photos and information I learned about Boeing, its Everett facility, its airplanes and its engineering processes. I hope the photos below do Boeing’s airplane assembly factory justice, because the visuals were nothing short of breath-taking.

So we begin, Revealing Photos: The Aero Edition.

Welcome to Boeing

BoeingBoeing1It’s difficult to explain just how big the Boeing Factory really is. You can see how small the plane in the parking lot looks in comparison to the building, but maybe these facts will give it better perspective.

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“Two hangar doors… approximately the size of an American football field.”

That means the Seattle Seahawks could play a football game on two of the hangar doors on the outside of the building (although it would probably be safer to put the doors flat on the ground first).

And in case you ever doubted the passion of Seahawks fans, it’s rare to be at Boeing’s Seattle factory without seeing a flag with the number 12 (12th man) somewhere in your line of site.

Boeing2So welcome to Boeing’s Seattle Facility, home of Seahawks’ 12th men and women. Lets go inside, shall we?

An “aerial” look

Boeing12

Rows of Boeing’s 737s, 747s, 767s and 777s — some of which are made from over 1 million parts — are built by troops of men and women. Contrary to popular belief, the number of the plane refers to when it was designed, not its size. The bigger the number, the newer the design.

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For example, the 777 took its first flight in 1994, while the 737 took its first flight in 1967. Boeing’s first active plane was the 707, which was airborne in 1957.

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If you look closely at the photo above, you can see there are other rooms filled with multiple planes, as well.

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And above is the process the planes undertake while inside the factory.

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Here’s a look at a plane that’s nearing the end of the “assembly line.” Now, there’s a few interesting things of note in the photo above, so let’s zoom in and look.

Boeing17A system of rails that come down from ceiling helps to transport plane parts across the factory, and they’re quite strong. Equipment No. M-3, for instance, has a capacity of 40 tons, or 80,000 pounds.

Boeing16

Hungry? There are 40,000+ employees at Boeing in its Seattle location, and they have the eat somewhere. One of the options is called the “Dreamliner Diner,” which is one of six different eateries inside the facility.

There’s also a dry-cleaner, movie rental shops, clothing stores, massage parlors and convenient stores littered throughout the factory. So employees never really need to leave.

The Dreamliner Diner is named after Boeing’s 787 “Dreamliner,” the most fuel-efficient airliner that Boeing produces, according to the company. Surely, it’s the most food-efficient diner at the Boeing Factory.

A final look before a plane flies out the door.

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Going down

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Now, let’s head to the first floor.

From the ground level

You don’t feel truly small at the Boeing Factory until you’re looking up at one of the 747s (Boeing’s biggest models), or really any of the planes during production.

Boeing3

The wheels were almost taller than me. Below is a short gallery of miscellaneous photos taken of planes while on the ground floor of the factory.

And yes, it’s really weird to see a plane inside of a building.

How do 40,000 people get around a 100-acre building?

Boeing54

Tractors, cars, vans, golf carts…

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Or one of these weird 3-wheeled trolleys, which were commonly seen as a mode of transportation.

Boeing8This guy was showing off how to casually stroll the factory with plane parts that stand nearly twice his height.

Off to the Dreamliner Gallery

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This is where I learned how much goes into the design of the interior of airplanes. Unfortunately, I’ll never be able to take a flight again without noticing…

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The type of carpeting in the cabin.

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The material on the seats.

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The seat styles.

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Or the TV models. I will know, however…

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What sitting in a cockpit feels like.

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And where the flight attendees sleep on long flights.

Boeing38No wonder the flight attendants are always in such good spirits; they get all this leg room while us normal folks are scrunched and miserable in coach. That made the flight back from Seattle even worse, since I knew what I was missing.

Unfortunately, that concludes my tour of Boeing’s Everett Factory.

In the end, how did the final product between Boeing and Callaway stack up against the best drivers currently on the market? Check out our 2016 Gear Trials: Best Drivers Club Test for a full analysis.

Spoiler alert.

XR16XR16ProDrivers

Callaway’s XR 16 Pro (left) and XR 16 Pro drivers.

Callaway’s XR 16 and XR 16 Pro were awarded with 6 total medals (1 Gold Medal, 2 Silver Medals and 3 Bronze Medals), which stacked up nicely against its competitors.

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He played on the Hawaii Pacific University Men's Golf team and earned a Masters degree in Communications. He also played college golf at Rutgers University, where he graduated with a Bachelor of Arts in Journalism.

17 Comments

17 Comments

  1. Lob Wedge

    Mar 10, 2016 at 12:38 am

    Is the Callaway-Boeing link more of a marketing tool than technology implementation? Yes.

    Are the guys hating on this article knuckle dragging trogs? Yes

    Expand your horizons kids.. Or don’t read it.

    Not like the Title and pictures at the start of the article didn’t give away the subject matter.

  2. scooter

    Mar 8, 2016 at 10:17 pm

    Thanks for the article Andrew. I’m probably in the minority, but seeing the immenseness of the Boeing factory and all that is required to produce the technological marvel that a modern day jet represents is pretty spectacular. Of course, I’m biased since I’m and avid golfer who also works in the aerospace industry. The modern day driver head, by comparison, is pretty low tech . . . I hope Callaway didn’t pay too much for that fancy CFD streamline picture at the start of the article. As another poster said, the feel and forgiveness is what will sell the driver to the golfing masses.

  3. Birdy

    Mar 8, 2016 at 12:20 pm

    so which company will get Caterpillar to market the earth moving technology of their wedges or maybe Firestone to market improved traction and roll when it comes to the ball, waterproofing company to lend their support to weatherproof clothes.

    add me to the list who think this is just a clever marketing scheme

    • Peter

      Mar 10, 2016 at 12:05 am

      hey maybe Bridgestone tires could help Bridgestone golf company make some golf balls. i bet bridgestone tire company knows a thing or two about rubber.

  4. Barry S.

    Mar 8, 2016 at 11:22 am

    Played TaylorMade and Adams drivers for years and switched to a Callaway Optiforce 440 about 2 years ago because the sound and feel works better for me without giving up any distance. Last year I purchased an Alpha 815 which I promptly sold because it didn’t perform to the level of the Optiforce 440 for me.

    The other day a guy showed up at the range with an XR16 driver with a Speeder shaft and I hit 4 or 5 balls with it. Just my opinion but this driver is one of the shortest, worst feeling drivers I’ve hit in the last few years.

  5. Tom

    Mar 8, 2016 at 10:46 am

    Bunch of negative Nancey’s on here.

  6. Matto

    Mar 8, 2016 at 2:10 am

    This article should be titled, *A closer look at how PING didn’t need Boeing 2 years ago.

  7. Yaz

    Mar 7, 2016 at 8:55 pm

    Having worked in that factory for years, Particularly at 747 Final Body Join, (the picture from the ground looking at the 747 with the gear next to it), the pictures BARELY do justice to just exactly how impressive that facility truly is. All the armchair “experts” posting here have ZERO clue about that place or the amazing things that are done there.

    • ooffa

      Mar 8, 2016 at 7:02 am

      Ummmm. They build airplanes right. Airplanes are big. They have a big building to build the big airplanes. We get it. I wonder if the airplane hobbyist website is hosting an article on golf club companies seeking publicity today. I doubt they are.

  8. Leon

    Mar 7, 2016 at 8:16 pm

    Great story and pictures of Boeing. Totally marketing gimmick of Callaway.

  9. John

    Mar 7, 2016 at 5:25 pm

    For all the article didn’t have too much to do with golf I thoroughly enjoyed it, great insight into the Boeing factory, very interesting.

  10. Ver

    Mar 7, 2016 at 4:29 pm

    I just flew it on a long distance.
    Not too impressed.
    Lots of rattles and squeaks like before, with the plastic bits clashing with metals bits that are meant to do that, flex and turn with the body shift. But I would have hoped that they would have somehow minimized it with newer materials but it feels the same inside. No improvement on the armrests, the buttons and latches and locks. The seats weren’t much of an improvement either.
    Don’t believe the hype. They put out all this hoopla, yet it’s only slightly improved on the inside for passengers, because they can’t really afford to re-tool everything and create something completely new. I mean Boeing nearly went bust with this plane with all the battery compartment design and window cracking problems anyway.

    • Yaz

      Mar 7, 2016 at 8:53 pm

      Seats and seating configuration is the choice of the airliner, not the builder. Boeing puts in the interiors that the airline chooses.

    • Scott

      Mar 8, 2016 at 10:12 am

      the XR16? Where did you put your luggage?

  11. Theo Erben

    Mar 7, 2016 at 3:39 pm

    “Both have to do with laminar and turbulent flow. An airplane wing needs to be streamlined to reduce friction, as does the relatively rotund body of a golf driver head. The solution is very similar.”
    Boeing makes great planes. I had the pleasure to fly most of their models.
    During my job to help introduce the 737-300 and 747-400 for a renown European airline I learned to know Boeing to use facts and fundamental research to improve the products.
    It seems in this “driver drag” case, Boeing just had the marketing guys have a look at the “problem”
    I think it is a shame for Boeing that they claim they improved something without quantifying what the improvement really is.

  12. ooffa

    Mar 7, 2016 at 12:52 pm

    Written like the reports we had to give after our lower school class trips.
    There might be an airplane website whose visitors would find this interesting. As a golfer I sure didn’t.

  13. orangeology

    Mar 7, 2016 at 12:51 pm

    sure you seem to have had a great trip to the B factory. yet i have no idea what it does with the 2 shots of the golf clubs at the end. better yet, why the heck did i need to see this on golfwrx?

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Modern Classics (Ep. 4): Testing a TaylorMade Burner SuperFast 3-wood

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GolfWRX recently launched a new 8-part video series, called “The Modern Classics,” in partnership with 2nd Swing Golf. Throughout this video series, GolfWRX’s Head of Tour Content, Andrew Tursky, tests out 8 legendary used golf clubs that are still being played on Tour today. How do the older, less expensive products compare to modern technologies?

In the first three episodes, Tursky tested out TaylorMade’s Tour Preferred MC 2011 irons, Adams Idea Pro hybrids from 2006, and a TaylorMade Rocketballz RBZ fairway wood.

For episode 4, we highlight the TaylorMade Burner SuperFast fairway woods, which were released to the public in 2010. Although they’re more than a decade old, we spotted one in Richard Bland’s 2022 WITB.

The Burner SuperFast fairway woods are currently available for $76.99 on 2nd Swing’s website.

Check out the video at the top of the page for more on the product, design, and how it stands up in testing against a modern 3-wood.

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Whats in the Bag

Will Zalatoris WITB 2023 (February)

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Driver: Titleist TSR3 (10 degrees)
Shaft: Fujikura Ventus TR Black 7 X

3-wood: Titleist TSR2+ (14.5 degrees)
Shaft: Fujikura Ventus TR Blue 8 X

Irons: Titleist T200 (3), Titleist T100
Shafts: Nippon N.S. Pro Prototype Graphite on Steel Technology Prototype Hybrid 10 ST X (3), True Temper Dynamic Gold Tour Issue X100

Wedges: Titleist Vokey Design SM9 (50-08S, 54-10S),Titleist Vokey Design WedgeWorks Proto (60-T)
Shafts: True Temper Dynamic Gold Tour Issue X100

Putter: Scotty Cameron T-11 Proto
Grip: SuperStroke Traxion Tour 1.0PT

Ball: Titleist Pro V1x

Grips: Golf Pride Z Grip Cord

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Best wedge for bad bunker players? – GolfWRXers discuss

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In our forums, our members have been discussing wedges for poor bunker players. WRXer ‘gdb99’ kicks off the thread saying “I’m not good out of sand. I used to be, 35 years ago. I blade shots over the green. It’s all technique, and I need a lot of practice. I know that,” and reaches out to our members who have been sharing what they feel are the wedges that can help him the most.

Here are a few posts from the thread, but make sure to check out the entire discussion and have your say at the link below.

  • hammergolf: “Ping Eye2 is the best bunker club ever. If you’re blading it you’re not steep enough. Open the face and hit down on the sand. The bounce will stop it from digging too much.”
  • flubberlange: “Try a Vokey 60* in a K grind.”
  • Fwitz11: “I also struggle with the bunker and have found that an open 60 and hitting just behind the ball is the easiest out I have used. Has helped me a ton with not blading it over the green.”
  • lazyjc4: “I’ve hit the best bunker shots of my life with PM Grind wedges.  I look like I know what I’m doing almost all of the time.”

Entire Thread: “Best wedge for bad bunker players? – GolfWRXers discuss”

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