The golf company teams with Boeing to combine impressive forgiveness and optimal aerodynamics.
Golf club manufacturers have collaborated with companies in other industries for a number of years now. In some cases, the other company has benefited from its association with the golf company (TaylorMade designed Porsche golf clubs and CCM’s RBZ hockey stick; Cobra Golf produced Ferrari drivers).
But around the turn of the century, golf companies started taking advantage of a fresh pair of eyes and considerable expertise from big-name companies.
In 1999 TaylorMade began a seven-year relationship with the acclaimed Columbus, Ohio-based Priority Designs that created several of TaylorMade’s best-selling drivers, including 2004’s r7 Quad, the first-ever driver with Moveable Weight Technology.
Nike Golf started working with Priority Designs in 2010, and two years later launched the game’s first cavity-back driver—the VR_S Covert, the foundation of whose design can be seen in the company’s current Vapor series.
Last year, TaylorMade worked alongside Microsoft introducing two new platforms for the Microsoft Band—Golf Tile and myroundpro—that enabled users to calculate distances, track shots, and analyze performance, while Cobra Golf came out with the highly innovative King LTD driver having joined forces with two organizations working on applications in outer space.
And back in 2011, Callaway teamed up with Italian car manufacturer Lamborghini—a partnership that realized the forged composite Diablo Octane Driver.
Last week, Callaway moved from luxury car-maker to commercial and military airplane manufacturer. Boeing knows a thing or two about aerodynamics, and Callaway wanted to harness that intelligence to create the second generation of its XR drivers—the XR16 and XR16 Pro.
Boeing's home page even shows the driver front and center.
This latest cooperation saw Boeing engineers tackle the seemingly irresolvable problem of building a clubhead that was both forgiving and fast. Obviously, the larger the clubhead the more forgiving it is. But large clubheads create more drag, reducing clubhead speed.
The answer, Boeing concluded, was to revise the design of the crown which, thanks to Callaway’s use of 8-1-1 titanium, is 9g lighter than on previous XR models. The flight experts raised triangular sections—called Speed Steps—of the crown just a millimeter or two, very close to the topline—a move that allows air to flow over the head much more efficiently, creating 30% less air resistance.
The combination of a longer clubhead front to back, and the lighter crown lowers the Center of Gravity (CG) and increases the club’s Moment of Inertia (MoI). And newly-engineered R-Moto technology supports a clubface that is 19% thinner its predecessors.
It all adds up, Callaway contends, to greater clubhead speed, greater ball speed and, consequently, longer drives.
Both the XR16 (460cc, draw bias) and XR16 Pro (450cc, neutral bias) feature the same eight-way adjustable hosel present in the first XR drivers. This gives you a choice of four loft settings (-1, standard, +1 and +2 degrees) and two lie angle settings (neutral, draw).
The stock shaft for the XR16 is the Fujikura Speeder Evolution 565, though the Fujikura Evolution II TS 665 (60g), Fujikura Evolution 565 (50g), Mitsubishi Kuro Kage Black (50g), and Bassara (40g) are also available for no extra cost. The club is available in 9, 10.5, and 13.5 degrees.
The XR16 Pro’s stock shaft is the Fujikura Evolution II TS 665, and there are likewise several premium alternatives. It comes with either 9 or 10.5 degrees of loft.
The XR16 Fairway Woods feature larger, more forgiving heads than the previous XR Fairway Wood, and a more aerodynamic body for greater clubhead speed. Callaway’s Forged Hyper Speed Face Cup, which wraps around the front of both the sole and crown, gives creates great spring-like effect, and the forged Carpenter 455 steel alloy clubface is the thinnest Callaway has ever made, which helps generate greater ball speed.
The XR16 Pro Fairway Wood has a more compact head, with a slightly open face and flatter lie angle.
XR16 Driver (9, 10.5, 13.5 degrees) – $349.99
XR16 Pro Driver (9, 105 degrees) – $399.99
XR16 Fairway Wood (14, 15.5, 17, 19, 21, 23, and 25 degrees) – $230
XR16 Pro Fairway Wood (14, 16 and 18 degrees) – $250