NASA didn’t stop at shoes, though. It also helped spice up the game of golf. And while Nike does have an increasing popular line of golf gear, perhaps no company is more directly affected by space-age advances than Callaway (NYSE:ELY), which gets all its sales from golf gear.
For example, the Ben Hogan Company — today, one of Callaway’s brands — used imaging technology to help give its ball the best possible flight. Wilson Sporting Goods Co. also used NASA’s three-dimensional computer graphics to perfect the surface of a golf ball, and the medium-sized dimples it found were optimal soon became the gold standard.
For Callaway, that means improvements to a product that made up just less than 20% of its sales in 2011. And NASA also helped some of the remaining 80%, improving golf clubs thanks to the agency’s development of graphite composite.