The Local Knowlege

Gear & Equipment

Five questions with Tommy Gainey at Callaway's golf-ball factory

tommy-gainey-interview.jpgTour player Tommy (Two Gloves) Gainey, who once worked on the assembly line at water-heater company A.O. Smith, visited Callaway's Massachusetts golf-ball plant last week to see how his Hex Chrome+ ball is made. He answered five questions from Mike Stachura.

Q: Did you understand the explanation of how a golf ball works?
It's kind of confusing because this deals with a lot of chemistry and physics -- rocket science. I'm pretty smart, but I ain't that smart when it comes to being a rocket scientist.

Q: Does touring a factory bring back memories?
It certainly reminds me of how important teamwork is. When I worked in a plant, I realized it was all about teamwork. Even if you have the right product, you've got to have a lot of teamwork to get that product the way you want it. But I never had a clue as to how many steps it takes to make a golf ball.

Q: What did you learn about the process?
It's more than just putting something in a machine and pressing a button, and it gets made. Everything has to be done within certain numbers, and if it's not between those certain numbers, it's rejected.

Q: It's harder than you thought, isn't it?
I know it's not easy. It might look easy walking through the factory watching these men and women making a golf ball, but it's not, because one mistake ruins the whole batch, and that's 3,000 dozen in a batch. And you can't catch up if you get one bad batch in a day.

Q: Do you think you could do factory work again?
I'm blessed to be doing what I'm doing. I think I'm done working with this kind of heavy equipment. I kind of like the equipment I'm using now.


[Photo: Brent Humphries]