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Callaway Golf swoops for former Nike golf ball innovator Rock Ishii

Rock Ishii has joined the ranks of Callaway Golf after 15 years of service to Nike following the company’s decision to end its equipment and golf ball ranges.

Rock Ishii was responsible for the design of every single golf ball Nike created, including those used by Tiger Woods and Rory McIlroy. It is a huge coup for Callaway, which is looking to further enhance its own golf ball ranges as it strives to draw in the Nike players seeking a new brand to play.

Ishii has 25 years of golf product development experience, and his arrival will only strengthen Callaway, which is the fastest growing major golf ball brand since 2013, according to Golf Datatech.

This looks to be a very bold step for Callaway, especially during a time when many golf companies are scaling back. President and CEO Chip Brewer said: “At a time when other companies within the golf industry are pulling back, Ishii will help Callaway further strengthen its technical position and build for the future.”

Ishii will also help investigate new construction methods, and improve Callaway Golf’s evaluation of golf ball performance, according to Dr. Alan Hocknell, the company’s senior vice president of research and development.

Nike opted to pull out of the golf equipment business in August, focusing fully on apparel instead. It meant that some of the top minds in research & development — such as Ishii — were free to move elsewhere within the industry.

Score one for Callaway Golf.

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