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Boeing helps Callaway design aerodynamically-sound XR16 drivers

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In the current driver market, golf equipment companies have a tall task — make drivers that are even longer and more forgiving than the ones currently available. Making things more challenging is that two very important factors in driver design, aerodynamics and forgiveness, have a somewhat inverse relationship; a longer crown improves forgiveness, but it is also generally less aerodynamically sound.

The major issue is that as a driver head moves through space, air wants to leave the crown as it passes over the face. That increases drag and decreases club head speed, a bad thing for distance. For Callaway, solving this problem meant working with aerodynamics experts at Boeing — the world’s largest aerospace company, which designs and engineers jets, spacecrafts and planes for NASA and the U.S. Air Force.

Related: What you need to know about Callaway’s XR16 and XR16 Pro fairway woods. 

So the people who typically design wings to help airplanes fly through the sky were assigned the task of helping design golf clubs that make golf balls fly farther. The result was Callaway’s new XR16 and XR16 Pro drivers. 

XR16Boeing

Turbulence from the raised crown makes airflow “stick” to the surface.

The new crown design on Callaway’s XR16 drivers features raised portions of titanium just behind the top line that help keep airflow tight to the surface, thus reducing drag and allowing golfers to swing the club head faster on the downswing into impact.

CallawayXR16

A close look at the crown of the XR16 driver head.

The aerodynamic improvements also allowed Callaway to stretch out the crown of the XR16 drivers, raising moment of inertia (MOI), a measure of a club’s forgiveness. The combination makes the XR16 drivers faster and more forgiving.

XRFace

Changes inside the head include improvement to Callaway’s R-Moto technology, which debuted in Callaway’s Big Bertha Alpha 815 drivers. R-Moto is a supportive rib structure that allowed engineers to make the XR16 driver faces 9 grams lighter and 19 percent thinner than their predecessors. The result is more ball speed, regardless of where shots are contacted on the face, along with better launch conditions.

CallawayXRPro16

A look at the crown of the XR16 Pro driver, with a slightly different design than the XR16.

Another weight-saving tactic from Callaway was implementing a lighter, 8-1-1 Titanium body. It offered 2 more grams of discretionary weight compared to the original XR drivers, and while that doesn’t sound like a lot it can make the difference between flying a fairway bunker and being plugged in its lip.

Callaway XR16 Driver

XR16DriverCallaway

Compared to the XR16 Pro driver, the XR16 has a bigger, deeper footprint for more forgiveness. The 460cc driver comes stock with a Fujikura Speeder Evolution 565 shaft, and several other premium shafts are available at no upcharge.

  • In stores: January 29
  • Lofts: 9, 10.5 and 13.5 HT options
  • Price: $349.99

Callaway XR16 Pro Driver

CallawayXR16Pro

The XR16 Pro is designed for better golfers. It’s lower spinning than the XR16, creating a more penetrating trajectory because of its lower CG and deeper-faced, 450cc club head. It comes stock with a Fujikura Evolution II TS 665 shaft, but several other premium shafts are available at no upcharge.

  • Comes to retail: January 29
  • Lofts: 9 and 10.5 degrees
  • Price: $399.99

See more photos of the XR16 and XR16 Pro drivers, as well as comparison pics.

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He played on the Hawaii Pacific University Men's Golf team and earned a Masters degree in Communications. He also played college golf at Rutgers University, where he graduated with a Bachelor of Arts in Journalism.

36 Comments

36 Comments

  1. ButchT

    Mar 8, 2017 at 11:15 am

    Dont try to confuse me with facts – it is fun to buy new clubs. Its like a second marriage, a triump of hope over experience!

  2. lewis

    Jan 8, 2016 at 4:06 am

    Had a 10.5 tour issue pro driver in hand last night. It look and sat amazing. Didnt get a chance to hit it however the Pro who had it was loving it.

  3. Dumbo

    Jan 7, 2016 at 4:45 pm

    Total farse. How many yards can you gain if you don’t hit center due to aerodynamic improvements? ZERO. Even if you do hit dead center at 115mph ss, can callaway empirically prove an increase in yardage vs. this same driver with these turbulators? What would that number be? 1 yard? 5?

  4. dan360

    Jan 7, 2016 at 1:28 pm

    Ah Callaway…another attempt to recycle technology with a fancy big name to operate as best supporting actor.

    Remember the Ruger Titanium?

    Remember the Lamborghini carbon fiber?

    Now the Boeing ‘turbulators’?

    What’s next?

  5. cb

    Jan 6, 2016 at 5:06 pm

    so callaway went to an aerospace company and found out turbulators help with club head speed, but ping found this out completely in house and a couple years ago. wonder which company is more revolutionary…

    • Steve

      Jan 7, 2016 at 8:42 am

      But can say it was developed by experts at Boeing? These guys make planes, PLANES! How dare compare it to a Ping.

  6. Gareth

    Jan 6, 2016 at 3:52 pm

    To be fair, I own an x2 hot pro after the xhot. Can’t hit anything better than that, tried the XR, big Bertha etc, I actually bought one as a spare!!
    Everyone finds THE driver that suits then eventually. don’t agree that these drivers outplay predecessors by 10 yards, only people find a head and a shaft that suit the swing more, due to readily available custom fitting?!!

  7. fp

    Jan 6, 2016 at 12:15 pm

    Looks like a Ping, hits like a Ping, sounds like a Ping

  8. Barry S.

    Jan 6, 2016 at 12:07 pm

    I have a prototype driver head designed by an iconic long driver who has passed. The head is F-17 aerodynamic and makes the new XR look like a Model T in comparison. Would love to show it to Taylormade or Callaway but from what I’ve heard they would probably steal the design and leave me high and dry.

  9. Busty McGoo

    Jan 6, 2016 at 10:05 am

    So does this mean we’re officially done with the whole sliding weights bs they’ve been pushing for the last couple of years?

    • Numb-E

      Jan 7, 2016 at 3:51 am

      Different model entirely.

      • Busty McGoo

        Jan 7, 2016 at 12:27 pm

        I can see that it’s an entirely different model. Thus my question. If the sliding weights thing is so damn good, why didn’t the designers integrate sliding weights into into this model too? Or does that come later after they’ve convinced a lot of people to buy this model?

        All these tech ‘advancements’ just make it more clear than ever, companies have hit a wall with current technology. Maybe PXG found something new recently, but has anyone actually seen their scores improve because they switched to the newest and latest driver? Also, have you actually tracked the distance of every drive to know you’re getting something more than you were before?

        • EKR

          Jan 7, 2016 at 10:39 pm

          Different model entirely. One line for adjustable weights, the other with a simpler set up.
          For me, when I all of a sudden hit over a bunker I used to go into on a regular basis with the same swing same tee box same ball within the last 3 to 4 years in the same condition at the course, then yes I’m definitely getting something more.

  10. Steve

    Jan 6, 2016 at 8:36 am

    This is it the final piece to my perfect golf swing. I was always telling everyone that my drivers werent aerodynamically enough and I was right. This driver is the break through I have been looking for. It has raised pieces that reduce drag, this is awesome. Should I buy this one or wait for the one with wings to be released? These guys keep raising the bar everytime.

  11. Chuck

    Jan 6, 2016 at 12:11 am

    Tell that boy to ease up

  12. christian

    Jan 5, 2016 at 9:59 pm

    I had a Vega DAF (Dual Air Flow) driver yeears before the other major OEMs thought about aerodynamics..Vega bought the airflow patents from Makser, the real pioneers of modern aerodynamic driver design. Remember many of my buddies teased me about the Vega claims, now they talk themselves blue about turbulators etc etc

  13. Frank McChrystal

    Jan 5, 2016 at 6:32 pm

    True that.

  14. Max

    Jan 5, 2016 at 6:10 pm

    Callaway making some great stuff in the past 3-4 years.

    Love the looks and styling of all of their clubs lately.

  15. moses

    Jan 5, 2016 at 3:14 pm

    What’s that good for? Maybe .25 mph at 100mph clubhead speed for about half a yard?
    Anywho keep em coming!!! More drivers to buy for $150 at the end of the product cycle. 🙂

  16. MP

    Jan 5, 2016 at 2:26 pm

    I played 4 drivers last year (M1, ALPHA, G30, D13) and they all had different characteristics, shafts and science behind them. Every time i switched i would hit the new driver long and straight. After a few weeks i was hitting it just like the old driver. Not sure i buy into all this science but i love tinkering even though i see very little benefit in the long term. My golfing buddy plays a 2009 Cleveland with very little science incorporated to its design and he hits it longer and straighter than any driver i have played. We both play to a 13 handicap with swing speeds around 106 mph.

    • Numb-E

      Jan 7, 2016 at 3:53 am

      Totally useless non-technical post, but do go on

  17. Rob

    Jan 5, 2016 at 1:53 pm

    “It offered 2 more grams of discretionary weight compared to the original XR drivers, and while that doesn’t sound like a lot it can make the difference between flying a fairway bunker and being plugged in its lip.”

    Sorry but no, 2 grams won’t make that kind of difference. Sorry but 2 paper clips worth of weight just can’t cause that much change.

  18. Chuck D

    Jan 5, 2016 at 1:45 pm

    Callawaybulators!! Welcome to da party pal! I can’t imagine how much pressure the modern day club designer must be under.

  19. joe

    Jan 5, 2016 at 1:09 pm

    Callaway, the new TaylorMade.

    • Desmond

      Jan 5, 2016 at 5:58 pm

      It’s once per year. Last year, same time, the XR Series made its debut replacing the X2Hot.

  20. Mat

    Jan 5, 2016 at 12:18 pm

    I spy Turbulators…

  21. Chuck Hahn

    Jan 5, 2016 at 11:29 am

    A new driver from Callaway, I’m shock I tell you!!!

  22. Leon

    Jan 5, 2016 at 11:18 am

    Great. Three months later, they will release another driver with design aided from Aliens on Mars

    • Desmond

      Jan 5, 2016 at 7:13 pm

      Next drivers are due in late August if the trend remains…

    • t-ball

      Jan 6, 2016 at 11:09 am

      I agree ! Seems Callaway, and Taylormade. are both on a ” New driver every 6 months ” cycle.

  23. Mat

    Jan 5, 2016 at 10:57 am

    Will the increased lift help top the ball better?

  24. Desmond

    Jan 5, 2016 at 9:59 am

    And I thought the XR Drivers of 2015 were too light! Wow. At least they got rid of the Project X shaft. Not a fan. The Fuji is a better shaft.

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Equipment

GolfWRX Spotlight: TaylorMade SIM Max Rescue review

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TaylorMade on the tech features of the TaylorMade SIM Max Rescue

  • V Steel Sole design

    The v-shaped sole allows for clean turf interaction and provides additional versatility when playing from tight or difficult lies

  • Twist Face

    Uses corrective face angles designed to overcome inherent golfer tendencies on mis-hits and to produce straighter shots

  • Thru-Slot Speed Pocket

    Our breakthrough Thru-Slot Speed Pocket technology delivers enhanced sole flexibility to create additional ball speed as well as improved forgiveness on low-face mis-hits

  • C300 Ultra-Strong Steel Face

    High-strength C300 steel allows for a stronger, faster face engineered for explosive speed performance *Only SIM Max Fairway and Rescue

How it looks: TaylorMade SIM Max Rescue

I’ll be honest here: I hate hybrids. They look goofy and I hit em high and left 101 percent of the time. However, every once in a while I’ll find one that I can warm up to. It’s happened twice in the last five years: PXG Gen 2 and SIM Max. I’m not sure what it is exactly, but this hybrid looks like it’s gonna get into the turf and I’m actually gonna hit a good shot. The color scheme is clean and simple. The lines are sleek and not boxy, which is always a bonus. Sometimes hybrids look like a brick on a stick to me. This one does not.

How it feels: TaylorMade SIM Max hybrid

This is where I got really intrigued: the feel. It’s solid. Really solid. Now, I must say that TM didn’t reinvent the wheel with this thing, but the SIM Max is just a simple solid hybrid that is easy to hit and gets through the turf. The V Steel helps that I reckon. It has a nice heavy hit which is good since this is supposed to transition from woods to irons.

Overall: TaylorMade SIM Max Rescue

It’s a winner. Not hybrid of the century or anything, but a club that could stay in the bag for a while and produce solid results. Look, we have 14 slots to play and they all have a job to do. You cannot go wrong by giving this one a slot in the starting lineup!

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What GolfWRXers have spent more money on – Drivers vs Putters

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In our forums, WRXer ‘2down’ has got our members talking about their purchase history and whether drivers or putters have taken more of their money. For ‘2down’ the answer is putters, who has a respectable seven flat-sticks sitting around his home, and our members divulge their history with drivers slightly edging it so far.

  • getitdaily: “Putters, but I change drivers more frequently…how does that make sense? When I change putters I will go through 7-10 of them until I find my bride. Then I stick with my bride for a while. I’ve had 2 brides…an old scotty newport beach studio stainless. Took about 10 putters to find it and then played it for like 12 years. Current bride is a spider tour plumbers neck. It’s been in the bag for 1.5 years now. Took about 8 putters to get to it, including a somewhat long term relationship with a 2ball fang. Since 1996 I think I’ve had 10 drivers total. 4 in the last 4 years.”
  • platgof: “I would say 24 drivers and 12 putters thereabouts. Took a long time to find what I wanted. I am still looking all the time though, it’s a disease, totally incurable. Now it is the wedges, and the SM7’s have my eye for now!”
  • CDLgolf: “Thats a really good question. At the moment I have 4 putters and 2 drivers. Over the last 25 years I’d have to say I’ve bought more drivers.”
  • Ray Jackson: “Definitely drivers as have used the same putter for at least the last 5 years. In that time frame I’ve probably had 4 drivers.”
  • dekez: “Drivers for sure. I go 6 – 7 years before even thinking about a putter switch.”

Entire Thread: “Your history – Drivers vs Putters”

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Whats in the Bag

WITB Time Machine: Phil Mickelson WITB, 2016 Waste Management Phoenix Open

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  • Equipment is accurate as of the Waste Management Phoenix Open (2016).

Driver: Callaway XR 16 Sub Zero (8.5 degrees)
Shaft: Mitsubishi Fubuki J 60 X (tipped 1 inch, 45.5 inches)

3-wood: Callaway X Hot 3 Deep (13 degrees)
Shaft: Mitsubishi Fubuki J 70 X (tipped 1.5 inches)

Hybrid: Callaway Apex (18 degrees)
Shaft: Mitsubishi Diamana S Hybrid 100 TX

Utility iron: Callaway Apex UT (21 degrees)
Shaft: KBS Tour-V 125

Irons: Callaway Apex Pro ’16 (5-PW)
Shafts: KBS Tour-V 125

Wedges: Callaway Mack Daddy PM Grind Wedge (56-13, 60-10, 64-10)
Shafts: KBS Tour-V 125

Putter: Odyssey “Phil Mickelson” Blade
Grip: Odyssey by SuperStroke JP40

Ball: Callaway Chrome Soft (2016)

Grip: Golf Pride MCC Black/White

WITB Notes: Mickelson uses the rearward weight setting in his XR 16 Sub Zero driver.

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