Callaway XR 16 Pro Driver Review – New Threshold for Better Players

by | May 4, 2016

Callaway XR 16 Pro Driver ReviewCallaway XR 16 Pro Driver Review (2016)

This is a full review of the Callaway XR 16 Pro driver, similar in a lot of ways to its sibling XR 16 but featuring a deeper face and capabilities better suited for lower handicaps. Like with the standard XR 16, Callaway worked with experts at Boeing to minimize aerodynamic drag and hence maximize clubhead speed through the ball.

So, is the XR 16 Pro a marked improvement over the previous model XR Pro? Is it worth its price tag? What are its strengths and weaknesses? Read on to find out what you need to know to make an informed purchase.

In a hurry?  Here’s the quick overview and verdict for you…

Rating: 4.8/5 (highly recommended)

Pros: Improves on the previous model XR Pro in many ways including speed and feel; forgiveness is impressive for a players driver this effective; workability is great; impact sound and feel are top notch; very long if you have your ball flight optimized

Cons: On the expensive side; can be tricky to dial in your ball flight without a custom fitting

Classification: Better-Player

Recommended for: Professionals, low-handicaps and golfers looking to challenge themselves to improve their driving game without totally sacrificing distance and forgiveness.

Best places to buy online: You can grab big discounts ($50+ new and $100+ used) on this eBay page. It’s also worth checking out the current prices on this Amazon page and this Global Golf page. Currently, free fittings for custom XR 16 Pro drivers are available on Golfsmith right here.

Want a high-resolution look at the XR 16 Pro driver? Click on the composite image at the top of the page and navigate the photos on the left-hand side of the screen!

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What are the reviews like?

Overall reception for the XR 16 Pro driver has been very positive, with average user ratings of 4.6/5 (91% recommended) on the official Callaway website as well as generally positive verdicts from critics.

The driver has been praised for its excellent unmatched impact feel and sound, sweet look, control, good workability and length. In terms of negatives, it seems like if you don’t have the XR 16 Pro properly dialed in with suitable loft/lie settings or a good shaft, you’ll be leaving a lot on the table in terms of results.

What are the features?

The XR 16 Pro predictably shares many (if not most) of the same features and technologies of the XR 16, which are described in considerable detail in the features section of the XR 16 review. There are a few notable differences in design, however. These includes a deeper face and a smaller, more workable 450cc head with lower spin and a more neutral center of gravity (CG) bias.

The XR 16 Pro is essentially a more workable and slightly less forgiving variant of the XR 16, intended for professionals and low-handicaps. For more information on the Speed Step, adjustable hosel and R•MOTO Face Technology, please see the relevant section of the XR 16 review linked above.

The available stock shaft is the Tour Proven Fujikura Evolution II TS 665 graphite. A large selection of premium shafts are also available to accommodate different swing speeds. The specs of the stock XR 16 Pro driver and stock shaft are below:

ModelLoftAvailabilityLengthLieCCSwing Weight
Adjustable (8°-11°)RH/LH45.50"Adjustable450D3
10.5°Adjustable (9.5°-12.5°)RH/LH45.50"Adjustable450D3

ManufacturerFlexShaft WeightTorqueKickpoint
FujikuraRegular63low-midmid
FujikuraStiff65low-midmid-high
FujikuraX-Stiff66low-midmid-high

How does the driver perform?

Over the course of my testing with the XR 16 Pro driver and stock Fujikura shaft, I found the spin rate to be quite a bit on the low side. This can be fantastic for strong swingers who naturally hit their driver high, but not so much for slower swingers who need a little help getting the ball up in the air. This is not really a surprising discovery given the fact it’s marketed as a players driver, but nonetheless, I would suggest that golfers with swing speeds of 90 mph or less try the 10.5 driver with a regular flex shaft. Do remember that the OptiFit hosel is always available to you to adjust loft and lie if desired.

Exact distance and ball flight results will depend on configuration, shaft, swing type and swing speed, but generally, solid strikes produce a straight, low-mid penetrating ball flight that carries and rolls a long way. Workability is very good; capable golfers should have little problem shaping shots at will. Mis-hit forgiveness is acceptable but not a marked improvement over the previous model XR Pro.

What about look, sound and feel?

Look: The XR 16 Pro driver has a streamlined, bulbous 450cc head. Compared with the XR 16, the face of the XR 16 Pro is taller and the footprint is less elongated (obviously). Unlike the original XR Pro which had no markings on the crown, the matte black crown of the XR 16 Pro features a drag-reducing Speed Step and standard chevron alignment aid for easy setup over the ball.

The sole features multiple channels and pits that are supposed to help maximize aerodynamic efficiency for faster clubhead speed. The sole design is, of course, very similar to that of the XR 16 — some will love it and others won’t. I’m not exactly in love with the aesthetic myself, but to each their own.

Sound & Feel: Both are fantastic; this is definitely one of Callaway’s best-feeling and best-sounding drivers available right now. Center strikes with the XR 16 Pro feel extremely solid (not hollow) with a touch of explosiveness and pop. The sound can be described as a concentrated “crack” or pop. It’s difficult to describe the sound/feel in words, but I’m confident that it will meet and exceed your expectations for a quality players driver.

As for hit feedback, golfers should have no problems at all isolating their misses. Moderate mis-hits do not feel disastrous, but in my testing I knew pretty much right away whether I hit towards the heel or toe and how much in either direction. Of course, there is good incentive to try and hit the sweet spot each and every time.

Where should I buy the XR 16 Pro online?

Due to the present newness of the XR 16 Pro driver, there is little to no difference in price across the retail space. With that said, you can actually find substantial discounts ($50+ for new and $100+ for used) off the fixed manufacturer’s price on a certain eBay page; check out the link in the review overview for that.

New XR 16 drivers of all types are also being sold on Amazon and Global Golf (links also above) — both stores have excellent return policies. You can also order off the Callaway website or get fit to an XR 16 Pro driver for free on Golfsmith.

Here’s my conclusion…

The XR 16 Pro driver is without question one of Callaway’s best better-player offerings available. It improves upon the previous model XR Pro in most respects, and it serves as a great option for skilled XR users who are looking for more clubhead speed, premium feel and high-calibre workability without sacrificing forgiveness.

==> Looking to get fit for the XR 16 Pro driver? Check this out here! <==

If you have any thoughts or questions about Callaway’s XR 16 Pro driver, be sure to leave a comment below!

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Images courtesy of:  Amazon

6 thoughts on “Callaway XR 16 Pro Driver Review – New Threshold for Better Players

  1. Anthony Little

    I recently start learning about golf, I’m still in the learning process of my game, but it’s great that you have provided a good product review of the Callaway XR 16 Pro driver. You have increased my knowledge on this particular product. I like that you have included the Pros and Cons. I know the this one is little on the expensive side, but overall it sounds like a very good driver to invest in. I think I may jump into better player clubs like this right away to help my long run game. Thanks and Best wishes.

    Reply
    1. Paul Post author

      Thanks for the comment. As a beginner, you can have great success with this club if you have discipline and the right mindset. Let me know how it goes!

      Reply
  2. Nigel

    Can the XR 16 Pro be compared to the TaylorMade SLDR driver? I notice there are many adjustments on the SLDR which puts me off a little but the reviews are very complimentary. I’m currently looking at drivers as this is where I need improvement. I’m hoping a change of driver improves my performance rather than it be user error!

    Reply
    1. Paul Post author

      The SLDR driver (review here) is quite old; in fact, TaylorMade doesn’t list in on their website anymore. The upside to this is that you can get it at terrific value (even better used) on pages like this and this. The SLDR and XR 16 Pro are similar in that they’re both designed for better players, but of course the SLDR has extra adjustability on the sole that the XR 16 Pro doesn’t have. It’s up to you which way you want to go, but both options have their merits. Do let me know if you have any other questions Nigel.

      Reply
  3. Kyle

    Seeing as I am just a beginner this driver probably isn’t the right fit for me but damn it looks amazing! It definitely makes me want to get my skills a lot better and have this as something to work towards!
    Do you have any recommendations for drivers for beginners?

    Reply
    1. Paul Post author

      The XR 16 Pro is ideal for skilled/low-handicap golfers, but that doesn’t mean that it’s out of the question for beginners; if you don’t want your club to “help” you as much and you want to put yourself through the wringer to really become a good golfer who consistently hits the sweet spot, a better-player driver like this is a great option.

      To answer your question, there are many quality game-improvement drivers out there to look at. Since this is a Callaway review, I would start by pointing you to the standard XR 16 (full review here), a very forgiving club. You can find plenty of thorough reviews of game-improvement drivers of all different ages, features and prices here on Golfstead — just search that keyword in the search box on the right sidebar. Hope this helps!

      Reply

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