Most new equipment is released with a presser and little else. Having access to the person behind the marketing machine offers insider access to the timeline of the project, product or company. Dave Neville of Callaway Golf took time after the PGA Show in January to answer our series of questions regarding new products and future plans for Eli’s company.

1. Please introduce yourself and give us a bit of background on your role with the company and your years at Callaway.

Sure, I’m Dave Neville and I’m the Sr. Marketing Director here at Callaway, and recently my particular focus has shifted to drivers and wedges. In my role, I oversee all of our marketing initiatives. I joined the Company in the Summer of 2014, and it’s been an incredible experience in the time I’ve been here. We’ve continued to be an industry leader in technology, we’ve launched phenomenal products that golfers have loved like the new XR 16 Driver, and we’ve been the leader in constantly engaging with golfers and producing compelling and innovative content. It’s been a lot of fun to say the least.

2. While we’re at it, how about a brief timeline on the Callaway driver, to bring us from its genesis to the present day?

We’ve been a leader in driver technology spanning all the way back to the original Big Bertha Driver. And in the 25 years since, we’ve remained at the forefront of driver innovation, which leads us into today where we have a tremendous lineup of drivers at retail like the Great Big Bertha and our new XR 16 Driver. We have always been passionate about making drivers that will help all golfers add distance and play better golf. Similar to Mr. Callaway’s Mantra: Demonstrably Superior and Pleasingly Different. It still applies today.

3. For 2016, you entered into a partnership with Boeing, a company known for its work on airplanes and rockets. How did this union come about?

For the XR 16 Driver, our goal was to reach a level in performance we’d never reached before. So our R&D team engaged in some initial discussions with Boeing about how they might be able to help us improve our aerodynamic performance on this driver. And the team at Boeing was very excited about being a part of this project and working with us to build our most aerodynamic driver. It was an interesting challenge for them. And this short documentary we filmed really speaks to how we built this partnership.

4. Staying with the Boeing connection for a moment, what unique perspective did its team members bring to the R&D table, that allowed you to advance toward release of your newest drivers (that we will inquire about in question 5, so no spoilers!)

As you would imagine, working with the team at Boeing allowed us to learn more about aerodynamics and aerodynamic efficiency, certainly beyond what we had learned before. Their expertise in laminar versus turbulent airflow, which they learned from designing the 787 Dreamliner, was crucial to the design of the new XR 16. This roundtable we did with them helps provide even more context.

5. No delays, then: In 2016, you will release the XR16 and XR16 Pro drivers. Tell us about these drivers and how they represent an advancement from the XR and Big Bertha Alpha 815 from 2015.

The XR 16 is really a major advancement for us both in forgiveness and speed. We’ve reached an unprecedented level of aerodynamic performance for us from our parternship with Boeing, and by promoting more forgiveness and more clubhead speed. Specifically, they helped us to re-engineer our Speed Step, which is our name for the aerodynamic feature on the top of the club. The design, positioning and aerodynamics of the Speed Step made the driver very, very fast. This in turn allowed us to stretch the shape of the driver to make it more forgiving. As compared to last year’s XR and the Alpha 815, the new XR 16 has much higher MOI, meaning it is much more forgiving on off center hits.

6. Could the XR16 driver for everyone? We know that specific shafts truly fit a club to a golfer, but tell us more about the clubhead and how its specific characteristics favor certain golfers or all golfers.

Absolutely, this is a driver for everyone, and we’ve already seen that from the high-handicap players to Tour pros like Marc Leishman, Matt Every, Morgan Pressel and Danny Lee who have put it in the bag. As we’ve mentioned this is a driver where forgiveness meets fast, and both of those features can benefit any level of player. Even on Tour, players like to have forgiveness that can still give them distance and good dispersion when they don’t hit the center of the face. Every golfer can take advantage of more speed and forgiveness, so it really is a driver that’s suited for all players.

7. Speaking of that Alpha 815 driver, one of your most exciting staff players, Lydia Ko, currently has it in her bag. Does she have plans to test the XR16 or is she happy with the driver that helped win her first major championship in 2015? \

It certainly might be tough to get that 815 driver out the bag when she won so much and had so much success with it last year, but Lydia has been testing XR 16 during the offseason. We’ll be keeping a close on that as she gets her season underway over the next few weeks.

8. Will the features of the XR16 be extended into your lines of fairway metals and hybrids, or is that mixing apples and oranges?

It’s too early to tell at this point, but this has been a tremendously beneficial partnership for us and if we’ve learned anything from the XR 16 Driver, it’s that they’ve helped us greatly improve our aerodynamics to help create more speed. And that’s something that can benefit all golfers.

9. What question haven’t we (or anyone else) asked, that you would love to answer? Ask it and answer it, please. Thank you for your time today.

If your readers really want to geek out about aerodynamics, laminar vs. turbulent airflow and how it impacts driver design, we encourage you to check out our Boeing specific content page. You’ll hear from some of the world’s foremost experts on airflow and aerodynamics.