CALLAWAY XR 16 FAIRWAY WOOD
CATEGORY: Game Improvement Fairway Woods
WE TESTED: 3 (15°), 5 (19°) with Fujikura Speeder Evolution 565 Red graphite shaft
KEY TECHNOLOGIES: The light, aerodynamic crown allows mass to be repositioned low and back to boost MOI.
PLAYABILITY: Strong off the tee box, with a sole design that makes it just as capable from the fairway or rough; even gets down into really thick stuff to blast balls out; XR wants to go straight ahead, but can summon gentle fades and draws.
ACCURACY/FORGIVENESS: Well-hit shots are rewarded with arrow-straight results, while slight mis-hits still hug the line; even big misses wind up in playable spots.
DISTANCE: Average length, with a bomb from time to time, which guys like off the tee or chasing down a par 5 in two; at least as long as the X2 Hot on steady swings, with misses getting more of a pardon.
FEEL: Heavy feel during the takeaway but positively zips through the downswing; flush contact at impact leaves guys wanting more; light vibrations and twist on mis-hits help players identify errors.
LOOK: Comfortable pear shape with a popular matte finish that reduces glare; a faint arrow on the crown aids alignment, while the wild paint job on the face help to line up the ball with the club's sweet spot; red shaft wins rave reviews.
If testers had their way, they'd make the crown's visual aid more pronounced and soften the artwork on the face; the occasional rocket can add a layer of uncertainty to approach shots; a few guys need more help getting balls airborne.
BOTTOM LINE: One of the better models in the test. A steady all-around performer, the XR 16 offers the length, versatility and forgiveness that'll make it a go-to club on tight driving holes as well as long approaches.