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How Boeing helped build a better golf club

Image: Callaway XR16 golf club
Boeing drew upon lessons learned from airplanes to build a better golf club. (Credit: Boeing)

What do aerospace and golf have in common? For the Boeing Co. and Callaway Golf, it’s a new line of golf clubs that have been tweaked to optimize the air flow for a faster, surer swing.

The results of one of Boeing’s most unusual collaborations will hit the market on Jan. 29, in the form of Callaway’s XR16 drivers. (Even the name sounds like an experimental aircraft, doesn’t it?)

The XR16 is a stretch version of last year’s model, redesigned to produce a higher moment of inertia. That keeps the head more stable when a golfer takes a swing. But a bigger head also typically means more aerodynamic drag, which would slow down the swing. That’s why Boeing was brought into the picture.

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By Alan Boyle

Mastermind of Cosmic Log, contributing editor at GeekWire, author of "The Case for Pluto: How a Little Planet Made a Big Difference," president of the Council for the Advancement of Science Writing. Check out "About Alan Boyle" for more fun facts.

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