Callaway XR Irons Review – Hot Ball Speeds

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Callaway XR Irons - 3 Perspectives

Here I will be reviewing the Callaway XR iron, which was a 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 golf irons to make an informed purchase.

Note: Unless otherwise stated, stock shafts and stock grips are used when evaluating this club. In most cases, the golf clubs reviewed on Golfstead are acquired temporarily for testing purposes and are not purchased. The review that follows is based on the personal experience and research of the author. Because everyone’s swing and body are different, results with a particular club may differ from person to person.

What are the reviews like?

The XR irons have excellent customer ratings: a 4.9/5 (96% recommended) on Callaway Golf Pre-Owned with thousands of reviews and a 4.8/5 on Global Golf. That sounds pretty darn good to me.

In fact, these are very popular irons and one of Callaway’s greatest successes.

Golfers have lauded them 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 & 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, meaning 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 reduces 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

How do these irons 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 are 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.

What about look, sound and feel?

The Look

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.

The Sound & Feel

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 MB. Or consider hybrid-type irons like the Apex.

Where should you buy these irons online?

At one point, the price set by the manufacturer (Callaway) was protected, so you couldn’t really get deals.

Now, since the XR irons are many years old, you can get them at huge bargain prices online.

If you’re looking to buy a used set, I highly recommend checking out this page on CGPO. They have a large selection with a 12-month warranty, 90-day buy-back policy, and condition guarantee.

You can also check the current stock on Global Golf (check their current coupon deals).

Aside from that, the best place to find new and used XR irons is eBay. You can find some pretty unreal deals there.



  • shots tend to fly high and straight
  • excellent forgiveness across the face
  • extremely long
  • easy to swing
  • great feel and stability


  • 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 (now much more affordable) 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 some of the latest technology, you really should consider these irons. They remain one of Callaway’s best offerings.

If you can afford a discounted set, just try them out for yourself and see how you do with them.

If you have any thoughts about the XR irons, go ahead and drop a comment below!

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  1. Liz September 6, 2015
    • Paul September 6, 2015

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