Callaway XR Iron Reviews (2015)

by | September 3, 2015

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Callaway XR Iron Reviews (2015)

Here I will be reviewing the Callaway XR iron set, which was the Hot List Gold Medal Winner for Golf Digest in 2015.  As is the case with other clubs in the XR family, these irons are built to produce high ball speeds.  Read on to find out what you need to know about these top-quality golf irons to make an informed purchase.

What are the reviews like?

Well, let’s see: a perfect 5-star rating on Amazon (where I would recommend buying from), and a 4.7/5 rating over 80 reviews on Callaway’s official website.  That sounds pretty darn good to me.  In fact, these are very popular irons and one of Callaway’s biggest successes.  Reviewers have lauded these irons for their great feel, relatively large sweet spot and crazy long distance.  They’re also a noticeable improvement over the previous model X Hot and X2 Hot irons.

Overview and Features

The XR game improvement irons are Callaway’s first to feature cavity backs and what Callaway calls “360 Cup Face Technology”.  This technology effectively improves clubface flexing, as well as distance (ball speed), feel and performance all across the face — this means that off-center strikes, such as hitting low on the face, will produce better results.

XR irons have a low center of gravity (CG) and a higher moment of inertia (MOI), which increases the ability of the clubface to flex and twist and thus provide additional ball speed.  The clubhead itself consists of a 2-piece construction and is “dual heat treated” — I’m not exactly sure what this means, but Callaway says that it results in a “precise, meticulous craftsmanship”.  Make no mistake, these irons are a very high quality construction.

Those interested can find the iron specifications below.

NameLoftLength (men)Length (women)LieOffset
318°39.5"38.5"59.75°0.27
420.5°38.875"37.875"60.5°0.26
523°38.25"37.25"61.25°0.25
626°37.625"36.625"62°0.24
730°37"36"62.5°0.23
834.5°36.5"35.5"63°0.22
939°36"35"63.5°0.21
PW44°35.75"34.75"64°0.20
AW49°35.5"34.5"64°0.175
SW54°35.25"34.25"64°0.150
LW59°35"34"64.5°0.125

What about look, sound and feel?

The XR irons have a really nice look.  I like the look of the logo on the back and the splash of red and blue; the lines along the cavity are visually appealing, and everything is presented cleanly.  There is a fair amount of offset (as you can see in the image at the top of the post), and the top line is fairly thick, as is typical with game improvement irons.

In terms of feel, these irons are among the best out there.  Shots feel fantastically solid for a cavity-back regardless of where contact is made on the clubface.  At contact there is an audible “click”, and this together with the solid feel makes for a satisfying shot that seems to spring off the face.

Compared to a muscleback iron, you won’t be getting as much feedback simply because your off-center hits will feel similar to your sweet spot hits.  They won’t feel identical, however, so you should be able to tell if you made contact towards the toe, heel or low on the face.  Nonetheless, if you’re someone who wants much more obvious feedback, you may want to go with musclebacks such as the RAZR X or Apex.

How do these clubs perform?

Are these irons all they are hyped up to be in terms of distance and forgiveness?  The answer is yes.  They are generally longer than older iron models like the Tour X20 and RAZR X — many people have reported a 10-20 yard increase in distance after making the switch over from their old set of irons.

As I’ve mentioned, the XRs are very forgiving.  The difference in ball speed between shots that hit close to the heel/toe and shots hit in the sweet spot is very minimal.  Similarly, you will still get a very solid height on your trajectory even if you hit it thin.  A flush strike will tend to produce a ball flight similar to that of a strong-lofted iron.

Where should I buy these clubs?

The price of the XR irons are protected by the manufacturer (Callaway), and so you won’t typically be able to get a deal price for a new set.  Any supposed new set being sold at a much lower price compared to what is listed on the Callaway website is most likely counterfeit.  If it sounds too good to be true, it probably is!  Your best and safest bet is to get them from Amazon here (XR irons for women can be purchased here), eBay here or from Callaway’s official website.

What about a used set?

If you would rather experience the XR irons at a lower price, I would recommend going through eBay (link directly above) or this Amazon page.  There are a ton of listings for used (and new) sets there that you can look through, and you’re protected fully by their respective guarantees.

Conclusion

Pros: Shots tend to fly high and straight, excellent forgiveness across the face, extremely long, easy to swing, great feel and stability
Cons: Mis-hit feedback is not terribly distinct, hot face is sometimes inappropriate for certain shots off the green, golfers with quick swings may have some trouble with consistency

The Callaway XR irons are excellent irons that I believe are definitely worth the price.  They’re not the most expensive irons on the market and they provide a really solid balance of distance, feel and performance.  If you’re a slower swinger, a mid-to-high handicap golfer interested in taking your game to another level, or if you just want to experience out some of the latest technology,  you really should consider these irons.  They’re among the best that Callaway has to offer right now.

If they’re within your budget, just try them out for yourself and discover if they are or aren’t for you.  If you aren’t having the success you were hoping for, look into getting a custom fitting; sometimes they are the key to you making a breakthrough with your game.

Think the XR irons might be an option for you?  You’ll probably want to check this out here!

If you have any thoughts or opinions about the Callaway XR irons, be sure to leave a comment below!

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Images courtesy of:  Amazon

4 thoughts on “Callaway XR Iron Reviews (2015)

  1. Liz

    I am looking for a new set of clubs, although I would be happy with just a new driver. These irons look fantastic! I typically like to try them out first, because I am short and most clubs are way too long. I also like to get a feel for them before I buy. Any ideas of where to do that? I think I will check out your link and see what they have to say. Thanks!

    Reply
    1. Paul Post author

      Hi, Liz. Since Callaway doesn’t appear to sell a women’s model of the Apex, what you’ll want to do is go in for a custom fitting, where the shaft can be shortened. On the Callaway website you can look at a map of authorized fitting locations near you. You can either buy a standard set and get those fitted or get a new set fitted completely for you before you buy — I’d recommend the latter.

      If you want to practice with them on the range or the course before you buy them, you’ll have to arrange something with your local golf/pro shop, though it’s possible that they won’t allow it. Alternatively, you can buy and then return them later; just make sure that the retailer accepts used returns.

      Reply
  2. Karissa

    Hello,

    I have been wanting to get some irons of my own so I wont have to keep borrowing them from my friends. I need to find some cheap ones because i don’t have a lot of money, but I also want them to be good quality. Would you recommend the XR for me?

    Reply
    1. Paul Post author

      Hi Karissa. There are a huge number of factors to consider when recommending irons; for starters, you need to know your budget and know how flexible it is. I don’t know these pieces of information, so my ability to answer your question is limited. Your ideal iron also depends on your preferences. Regardless, I will point you to this eBay page (arguably the best place to get clubs in good condition for low prices) for women’s XR irons and let you decide if the prices are too much for you. As a general guideline, if you’re taller than 5’6″ you should try out men’s clubs with a lighter flex.

      Remember that the XR is a game-improvement iron, which can certainly be a good fit for an amateur or a beginner. In terms of pricing, it’s a bit on the high end relatively speaking, but there are plenty of other quality irons in the game-improvement class (and other classes) that are cheaper — for that, I would direct you to my club reviews page where you can match your needs and budget with other options.

      If you can give more specifics in terms of your situation, I’ll be able to offer more help. Good luck.

      Reply

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