Here I will be reviewing the game-improvement Callaway XR driver. The XR’s main selling point is speed; the thin and light face is designed to give the XR an edge in ball speed over previous drivers like the X2 Hot.
Is the distance and forgiveness worth shouting about? Does Callaway deliver on their claims? Read on to find out all you need to know.
What are the reviews like?
The XR driver has been received very well. It has a 4.3/5 star rating on Amazon (click here to see the customer reviews), a 4.6/5 customer rating on the Dick’s Sporting Goods website, and a 4.7/5 customer rating on the Callaway website (with 91% recommending the driver).
Reviewers have praised the driver for its power (many report increasing their distance off the tee by at least 10-20 yards), ease of use, adjustability, forgiveness (great for managing slices and hooks), impact feel and sound. That’s pretty much… everything! Indeed, it seems as if this driver doesn’t really have any prominent weaknesses.
Getting fit is ideal, but otherwise, just selecting the loft and shaft flex that suits your swing speed should be fine. A few people have been dissatisfied with the hit feedback and the distance of the XR and feel there are drivers that are better in those respects.
Overview and Features
According to Callaway, the XR driver is built for “outrageous speed” through an R•MOTO clubface, an aerodynamic crown and the load of the Project X LZ stock shaft. Below, the features are discussed in more detail:
- a “Speed Step Crown” combined with an aerodynamic head shape. Callaway states that the XR is aerodynamically efficient, and this contributes to less drag and more clubhead speed.
- a face technology called “R•MOTO” that allows for a 10% reduction of face weight and a thinner face. This results in a more efficient transfer of energy and an increase in ball speeds across the face, particularly in mishit areas. It also enables the center of gravity (CG) to be moved lower and increases moment of inertia (MOI), which leads to more forgiveness.
- a Project X LZ stock shaft that loads during the downswing, transfers more energy to the ball and leads to additional distance.
Based on Callaway’s own testing, the effects of the aerodynamic shaping and R•MOTO together can increase ball speeds by up to 5 mph over drivers like the RAZR X Black.
The hosel has an adjustable dial that can be configured to 8 different loft settings (+2°/-1°); it allows you to dial in your optimal launch conditions and maximize distance. The Project X LZ 50 Blue shaft is relatively light and long. The specs of the men’s driver and stock shaft are summarized in the tables below. As you can see, there are four standard lofts available. More info can be found on the official Callaway website.
|Loft||Hand||Lie||Volume (Head Size)||Length||Swing Weight|
|12°||Right/Left Custom Only||Adjustable||460cc||46"||D3|
|13.5°||Right/Left Custom Only||Adjustable||460cc||46"||D3|
How does the driver perform?
Distance and Trajectory: The XR generally produces very respectable distance with plenty of carry, and it will likely be a gain over older drivers in the Callaway line for most individuals. Loss in ball speed and distance is very minimal for strikes that are slightly off center. Under the proper conditions, the XR consistently delivers a solid medium trajectory, and flight shapes can rather easily be modified by more experienced players if desired.
Forgiveness: The XR, with its large sweet spot and 460cc clubhead, is known to have great forgiveness, and it tends to reduce sidespin to alleviate any otherwise severe slices or hooks. While it won’t cure your swing problems, and while substantial misses will probably still find the rough, minor misses have a great chance of staying in the fairway. The XR driver certainly lives up to its game-improvement classification.
What about look, sound and feel?
Look: The 460 cc XR has a footprint that is average-sized. The crown has an attractive matte black finish that, due to the greatly reduced glare, allows you to focus on the shot relatively undistracted.
The molded chevron alignment aid blends nicely into the crown, and although it appears slightly off-center along the face (towards the heel), it is actually pointing towards the sweet spot at the center of the clubface. One concern I have is that the appearance of an off-center alignment aid and the protrusion at the top of the clubhead may cause some golfers to hit a little bit closer to the toe — I personally didn’t have this problem when I was testing the XR.
Sound and Feel: Center strikes on the XR feel clean, solid and stable, and they produce a medium-loud sound that is sharp without sounding hollow or metallic. The contact sound becomes softer as you move away from the sweet spot, and this makes the sound a good indicator of where you make contact on the face. The XR tends to absorb impacts to produce a feel that’s a little muted, so feel isn’t necessarily the best indicator of feedback in this case.
The stock Project X LZ 50 Blue shaft (an excellent shaft) is 46 inches long and weighs 53-56 grams depending on the flex; this combination of light weight and long length may make it difficult for some golfers to control and consistently make sweet-spot contact with the ball. If you’re someone who is having a poor experience with the stock shaft, note that Callaway does have a large selection of custom shaft types (some at no extra cost) and shaft lengths to choose from on their website.
Where should I buy this driver?
You can find new XR drivers at amazing prices (standard price is $299) on this page here; just be mindful of the return policies and make sure you’re getting the loft and shaft flex that you think is right for you. You can also buy it new at a discounted price over at this Amazon page. The only instance where I would recommend buying from the Callaway website at a higher price is if you’re looking for special customization (shafts, shaft length, grips, etc).
What about a used one?
This search page on eBay is arguably the best place now to find used XR drivers at lower prices. In fact, eBay itself is one of the best places to find used golf equipment in general. Check it out!
Pros: Good distance even on mishits, adjustable hosel is great for finding optimal launch, forgiveness is exceptional particularly when it comes to reducing sidespin, nice look and impact feel, some will appreciate the light weight of the shaft
Cons: Not as adjustable as other drivers in Callaway’s stable, can take some time to get used to the feel depending on your previous driver, some will find the stock shaft to be too long and a bit difficult to control, feedback isn’t terribly distinct
The Callaway XR driver is a great offering from Callaway, ideal for mid-to-high handicappers looking for more forgiveness without sacrificing distance. It’s more affordable than the Big Bertha Alpha 815 driver and will likely be a better option for golfers who don’t need the extra adjustability that the 815 provides.
If you have any thoughts or opinions about the Callaway XR driver, be sure to leave a comment below!