CATEGORY: Game Improvement Drivers
WE TESTED: 9° (adjusts 8° to 11°), 10.5° (adjusts 9.5° to 12.5°), 13.5° (adjusts 12.5° to 15.5°) with Fujikura Speeder Evolution 565 graphite shaft
KEY TECHNOLOGIES: Positioning more mass lower and deeper in the head increases MOI by 10 percent over last year’s XR.
DISTANCE: With one or two exceptions, an aerial specialist that eats up yards faster than a hungry gopher; responds well at high speeds—most testers can mash the accelerator and dig out some extra mileage; inspires a hard cut for some guys and seems to play even longer on the course.
ACCURACY/FORGIVENESS: The strongest feature of one of the best tested models this year—a thump-it-straight-ahead type of club with a sweet spot the size of Texas; mis-hits get nearly a full measure—the XR’s looking out for you, even if you haven’t found your swing.
FEEL: Testers give it high marks; a macho club, with good, steady heft and a spring-loaded crunch at impact; excellent balance— the shaft’s a great match for the head, loading up and pouncing on the ball; doesn’t draw you a map, but gives you an idea where you hit it.
PLAYABILITY: A naturally high flier that likes to go straight; for a few guys, light draws and fades are in play, but it’s best to let it do its thing; simple adjustments seem to get the job done.
LOOK: The XR 16’s matte finish continues to pick up fans; the tribal graphics are unique, at least, and they help center the ball; for some, the decals seem to fade a bit after some use.
The graphics don’t agree with everyone—for the bulk of our group, they’re at best busy and at worst cheap; spin is a problem for a couple of guys, and a few shots get lost in the wind; most testers rate the Great Big Bertha slightly higher, but the margin is slim.
BOTTOM LINE: The Callaway XR 16 driver is a bring-your-lunch- pail sort of driver that seems to churn out impressive, straight-ahead distance every time you tee it up. High launch, ample forgiveness and an extra gear make the new XR an effective option for anyone who just wants to step up and slug it—at $100 less than the Great Big Bertha.
HOT STIX'S TAKE: Staying with the theme of lighter overall weight, this driver is all about distance. It’s more aerodynamic than last year’s model and offers great forgiveness on heel/toe misses. Launch: Mid; Spin: Mid
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MORE INFO ON THE CALLAWAY XR 16 DRIVER
From GOLF.com, January 4, 2016:
The goal of the XR16 driver ($349) design is to produce maximum speed through the swing with more forgiveness than the previous model.
With help of aerodynamics experts at Boeing the new shape of the crown creates approximately 30% less air resistance than the previous XR driver while the clubface creates 10% less, leading to more speed and more distance. A thinner clubface that's 9g lighter than the previous model also contributes to increased ballspeed while also enhancing MOI and forgiveness by allowing weight to be positioned lower and deeper in the clubhead.
Specifically these changes produce a CG that's 15% lower than in the previous XR driver and a 10% higher MOI. A Fujikura Speeder Evolution 565 shaft comes standard. The XR16 comes in 9-, 10.5, and 13.5-degree lofts. -- Michael Chwasky