Callaway 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
Recommended for: Professionals, low-handicaps and golfers looking to challenge themselves to improve their driving game without totally sacrificing distance and forgiveness.
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!
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:
Model Loft Availability Length Lie CC Swing Weight
9° Adjustable (8°-11°) RH/LH 45.50" Adjustable 450 D3
10.5° Adjustable (9.5°-12.5°) RH/LH 45.50" Adjustable 450 D3
Manufacturer Flex Shaft Weight Torque Kickpoint
Fujikura Regular 63 low-mid mid
Fujikura Stiff 65 low-mid mid-high
Fujikura X-Stiff 66 low-mid mid-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.
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.