Golf Monthly's Callaway XR 16 driver review, a model with a raised crown section that reduces aerodynamic drag for more clubhead speed and distance
Callaway XR 16 driver review
Loft: 9°. Shaft: 65g X-stiff Fujikura Speeder Evolution II TS 665
The Callaway XR 16 driver replaces the XR model
The matte-black finish from the XR continues, but new for the XR 16 is the shape and colouring of the raised section on the crown. The Speed Step has moved closer to the leading edge and isn’t as tall, and so has grey sections to highlight the new shape and frame the ball more prominently.
While the name and colour scheme remains similar, the new design is a little more eye-catching, especially with the cavities on the sole that create a streamlined effect and improve the sound at impact. Promises of more speed will also encourage golfers to give the XR 16 a try.
The lightweight Speeder Evolution 565 shaft features stronger materials in key areas to increase kick speed, leading to greater clubhead speed. It feels stable during the swing, and works well with the head to create distance, but control wasn’t helped by the 45.75” length. Many other offerings are available at no upcharge.
Callaway’s R-Moto face-to-sole connection system is stronger, thinner and lighter, and has longer ribs to allow the face to flex a little more at impact. Lighter titanium also brings the head weight down.
Compared with the XR, the XR 16 has a larger profile at address. Callaway says the higher the swing speed, the more effect the Speed Step crown should have. There is also an XR 16 Pro version, which is smaller (450cc), has less draw bias and offers lower spin. It has an RRP of £329.
No sliding weights feature, but Callaway’s OptiFit hosel offers eight independent loft- and lie-angle settings through two circular cogs.
The XR 16 was quite high launching, perhaps down to the combination of a more active kick in the shaft and a lower CG in the clubhead. As a result, a loft of around nine degrees worked well to create a long, towering ball flight with plenty of run on landing.
A 2g lighter body and 9g lighter club face means 11g of weight
has been moved to the perimeter of the clubhead, thereby increasing forgiveness. The CG location has also moved lower and deeper in the clubhead. This, along with a more stretched back shape, raises the stability of the head at impact on mishits.
Feel and sound
The XR 16 is a solid, powerful-feeling driver with a louder- than-average sound to match. The sound is managed by cavities on the sole that look very slick and actually help reduce the volume at the front of the clubhead, allowing the driver to be made longer from front to back.
Swing speed hovered just above what would normally be expected, leading to some very competitive distance carries. Faster swingers should achieve better overall performance with the XR 16 Pro model, which offers less spin and a heavier shaft as standard. This combination works to create the optimum ball flight, while also offering more workability.
Whether the new Speed Step crown results in more clubhead speed will vary from golfer to golfer, but the XR 16 improves on the XR in other ways, notably looks and in offering more forgiveness. Faster swingers are likely to prefer the lower spinning Pro version, which at 450cc is also more workable. Excellent value for money on offer here.