When it comes to drivers, it’s all about distance. Sure, if the club looks good, that’s a bonus but heck, I’d swing a toaster on a stick if I could launch it 300 yards down the fairway consistently. And that’s the key, isn’t it? Consistency.
Callaway has taken their XR driver to the next level and created the XR 16. This may be the longest, straightest, most forgiving driver I have ever hit. One reason for that is the new aerodynamics of the clubhead, the result of a collaboration with airline manufacturer Boeing. What Callaway was looking to gain from Boeing was an aerodynamic design that would allow players to swing a driver with a larger face and at the same time, gain swing speed. Typically, when you make the head bigger, the aerodynamics get all out of whack. Boeing showed them that they didn’t have to give up one to get the other.
The new XR 16 gains distance not only from a faster swing speed, but also from a higher launch angle at lesser speeds. This was accomplished stretching the clubhead from front to back and moving the Center of Gravity lower and back. This produces a higher Moment of Inertia (MOI) which in turn makes the club more forgiving.
In redesigning the XR 16, Callaway is using 8-1-1 Titanium which contains more aluminum, making it 5-15g lighter. Also of note is the R-MOTO face, which is 9g lighter. The ribs of the R-MOTO face are slightly longer and enable the face to flex a little more at impact, thus increasing the ball speed.
Also redesigned for 2016 are the Speed Steps on the crown of the driver, resulting in 30% lower head drag and a 10% lower face drag than the original XR driver. The speed steps also serve as an alignment aid; something missing from the previous model.
When it comes to sound and feel, the XR 16 resonates with one of the sweetest and purest driver sounds whenever you hit it pure – or not so much. With the XR 16, you’ll know when you hit it good; and it won’t be obvious to you’re playing partners when you hit it bad. Plus, there’s a good chance you’ll be longer than them anyway.
The XR 16 is available in three different lofts: 9°, 10.5° and 12°; each of which can be adjusted up or down 1° or up 2°, with or without a draw bias. This new version of the XR 16 sets up a little less closed than the previous XR, which will probably appeal to a wider handicap range. A Fujikura Speeder 565 Evolution II shaft comes stock on the XR 16 and is available in three flexes: Light/Senior, Regular and Stiff. Callaway offers golfers a wide selection of shafts at no upcharge. The matte black finish reduces the glare on those bright sunny days. Also available is a Pro model with a slightly smaller head.
The perfect driver needs the perfect accompaniment right? Enter the XR 16 fairway woods, which are available in 10 lofts, including seven in the standard size and three in the more compact Pro model.
One “loft” that may be of interest to better players is the 3+ which has a 43-inch shaft and can double as a larger, backup driving club. There’s also a 9-wood and an 11-wood just to keep things interesting.
Perhaps the biggest enhancement over last year is being penalized less for off-center hits. Just like the driver, the clubhead has been stretched farther from back to front, creating a larger footprint and bigger face.
The other thing these fairway woods have going for them is Callaway’s trademark face cup design, where the face wraps around the front of the crown and the sole, expanding the area of the face and creating the most allowable trampoline effect. The high-strength, forged Carpenter 455 steel alloy used in the face cup gets as thin as .043 inches at the perimeter making it the thinnest face the company has designed.
An updated internal weighting structure stretches 40 percent closer to the face gives the new XR 16 fairway woods lower spin and more consistent energy transfer.
The XR16 fairway woods come stock with a Fujikura Speeder 565 FW shaft. Fujikura used newer, stronger materials in several key areas of the shaft to enhance the kick speed. This results in higher clubhead and ball speed which maximizes the overall club performance. At $229 and $249 for the Pro model, the XR 16 fairways are reasonably priced. Lofts available for the standard model are 14°, 15.5°, 17°, 19°, 21°, 23° and 25°. The Pro model is available in 3 lofts: 14.5°, 16° and 18°.
Last Word: The XR 16 driver and fairway woods can be summed up in 2 words: unbelievably long. If I were to add a 3rd word, it would be forgiving and a fourth would be adjustable. In fact, it’s adjustable: -1 to +2 degrees from the marked loft. You can also add a draw bias. It didn’t take me long to get the XR 16 dialed in and once I did, I was hitting drives farther and straighter than ever before. The XR 16 produces a mid to high ball flight and the ball seems to stay in the air a long time. With an extra level of forgiveness and a faster face, you’ll gain a lot of ball speed regardless of where you catch the ball on the face.
I have never hit any other driver as well as the Callaway XR 16 right off the shelf. I’m not sure how much more can be done to help you hit the ball any further off the tee, but I can’t wait to see what Callaway comes up with next. I’ll be surprised if the new XR 16 doesn’t claim the “2016 Longest Driver of the Year” award. The same goes for the fairway would. I actually hit the Callaway XR 16 4-wood farther than my previous 3-wood.
For more information on the Callaway XR 16 line of drivers and fairway metals, or any other Callaway golf gear, visit their website at www.callawaygolf.com.