Callaway launch new XR 16 Driver and Fairway

If you want to make something go faster through the air, who do you turn to for advice? When Callaway had that question, there was only one answer: Boeing.

So the two formed a partnership and this is the result – the most aerodynamic drivers Callaway has ever made.

The XR 16 and XR 16 Pro feature a raft of new tech designed to help you wring every ounce of clubhead speed from your swing. 

Callaway’s R&D chief Alan Hocknell told TG: ”We worked with Boeing to redefine what’s possible with ball speed.

“We engineered our most forgiving shape ever and Boeing made it fast with advanced aerodynamics and a redesigned Speed Step Crown. This thing is big and fast like you wouldn’t believe. We’ve tried to turn as much power from the golfer into head speed as we could.”

Details: RRP £289, £329 Pro.
Available in 9°, 10.5°, 13.5° (Pro 9°, 10.5°).

Boeing’s aero package
Callaway’s work with Boeing has yielded a very different clubhead design to last year’s popular XR. The head is longer and shallower, there are ridges along the bottom to improve airflow at the back of the club and a redesigned Speed Step on the crown to yields better airflow over the top of it. The result is 30% less drag from the crown and 10% less drag from the face, resulting in 2mph more head speed than the XR.

More forgiveness
Compared to last year’s XR, the 16 has a larger shape for more inertia, a stretched-out crown with a bigger footprint and a centre of gravity that’s lower and deeper. The body is made from a lower-density titanium that is lighter than the old model, so the whole thing now weighs 310g – lighter means it’s easier to swing fast. Callaway’s OptiFit hosel gives total of eight possible loft and lie combinations.

Faster face
Callaways’s RMOTO face (which means ribs for motion control) uses hidden ribs to connect the face, sole, face and crown to improve ball speeds particularly on shots his off-centre. For 2016 it’s lighter and thinner than before, and made from a stronger titanium. The result, Callaway says, is more speed.

There’s a Pro version
The Pro version benefits from aero tech, too, but it has a 450cc head and a more neutral centre of gravity location. Callaway says it provides the distance and forgiveness of the XR16, in a smaller package better players prefer. 

We’ve hit it!

We were among the first people in the world to hit the XR 16 in December. First impressions were of a great looking club that looks huge behind the ball, with a matt crowd that oozes quality. The Speed Step Crown aids alignment, but more importantly the whole aero package was 3mph faster then my current driver. Callaway Tour star Marc Warren also tried the club for the first time on the same day as us – and put it straight in the bag after hitting one 311 yards. 

Q&A - Jeffrey Crouch
Senior Technical Fellow, Boeing

Why did Boeing choose to work with Callaway?
We believe cross-industry collaboration is beneficial to all involved. I thought it would be cool to learn about the physics of golf and to have a chance to apply my knowledge and experience to help improve a Callaway driver.

Can aircraft tech really improve a golf club?
Reducing drag and controlling the flow to achieve the most efficient aerodynamic performance is a critical part of airplane design. Those same principles applied to this project. The speed and size of the club are more like a wind-tunnel model than a full-scale plane, so wind-tunnel test techniques are also helpful.

Were there any specific challenges?
An aircraft moves through space with relatively slow changes in orientation; a driver moves with rapid changes in orientation. As a result, any aerodynamic improvements must be effective over a wide range of flow conditions.

You’ve lost us! Can you explain ‘flow’?
One of the things I work on at Boeing is laminar flow control, which seeks to delay turbulence and increase the amount of laminar flow on aerodynamic surfaces. This reduces plane drag and leads to reduced fuel consumption and lower emissions. For a driver, because of its shape we wanted to trigger turbulence in order to reduce drag. In this case, the goal was increased head speed.

What specifically did Boeing bring to the table?
Boeing helped with flow modifiers or trip steps; specifically the location and sizing of the trip step to help reduce drag from the top of the swing through impact with the ball.