Now that you can't rely on a Volkswagen anymore I have been looking around for an alternative metal based source of emotional comfort and one of the contenders is Callaway fairway woods.
By and large they are historically very good and with the introduction of the Face Cup to recent designs they are back to their very best and the XR 16 fairway combines this with what was once a Callaway strength of a contoured sole.
The Warbird sole on the original Big Bertha fairways was the daddy of all fairway soles over 20 years ago. With the exception of the short lived V-Series woods that brought back a toned down Warbird, Callaway's promotion of recent fairway soles as a 'modern Warbird' were pushing it a little.
Callaway has not alluded to this, it's just my feeling, but the larger contour on the sole from heel to toe combines with another one from front to back to make the XR 16 feel more like the true heir to Warbird, even if it does not look the same.
It provides all the same benefits of creating a beautiful lie angle and address position together with playability from all types of lie and slopes.
The lower central point on the sole also reduces the contact points in longer grass and therefore makes it more playable from the semi-rough too.
The contoured lines on the side of the head are more for style than aerodynamic effect and they give the XR 16 a dramatic look.
What is not for effect is the revised R Moto face ribs that are longer as they extend back from the Hyper Speed Face Cup.
These provide the strength whilst enabling weight to be removed and placed lower and further back in the sole to improve the forgiveness and launch conditions.
At address, the mid-sized head is a lovely shape and frames the ball very well, with the Callaway chevron in relief on the matte black crown as an alignment aid.
The sound and feel at impact were excellent and classic Callaway with just a little hint of a 'zing' when you get it right.
Apparently woods sell better with a red shaft, so the XR 16 fairway is going for it with a red Fujikura Speeder Evolution 565 fairway shaft that looks as good as it plays.
Whether you are hitting it from the tee or fairway, the XR 16 offers excellent all round performance from a 3+ head at 14° right through the seven different head lofts up to the 25° 11 wood.
Callaway XR Pro 16 Fairway Wood Review
As before there is also a Pro version on the XR 16 fairway that features a more compact head that sits a little squarer at address.
It has a shallower head front to back and the toe of the club also looks a little squarer and unlike the XR 16 driver, I prefer the look of the standard version of the fairway to the Pro.
As with the driver though, this is not a visual choice as the Pro version generate less spin and therefore is better suited to high swing speed players who want a more penetrating flight.
Not that there is anything really wrong with the flight of the standard version for better players, as if you get the right loft the standard XR 16 gives you everything you need.
The more compact head also has more aggressive lines on the side of the head that give it that powerful feeling and helps with the contouring of the sole.
The XR Pro 16 is a little less forgiving and a bit harder to get going from the turf. Tee up the 14° or 16° version and you have an ideal driving fairway as the lower spin with a higher launch will get it out there.
The sound and feel are a little more muted and solid than the livelier standard version and some may prefer the 18° model as an alternative to a hybrid.
The XR Pro 16 is a good club too, but unless you have a specific need for the benefits that it can offer, most levels of player from low single figured upwards would probably benefit more from the standard Callaway XR 16 fairway.