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This is a full review of the Callaway XR OS iron, a Golf Digest Hot List 2016 gold medal winner designed to be forgiving, long and easy to hit.
With wider soles and Callaway’s leading 360 Face Cup technology, the XR OS iron is supposed to be a best friend to high handicappers. Is it really?
Read on to find out just what it’s really made of so that you can make an informed purchasing decision.
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.
Rating: 9.1/10 (Excellent)
Pros and Cons: See the review box at the bottom of the review.
Best suited for…
- golfers who like large clubheads with a ton of forgiveness, high launch and reliability
Best Places To Buy Online
There are a couple of really good options. Because these irons have been out for a few years, you can get some pretty amazing deals (under $400).
If you’re looking to buy a used set, I highly recommend checking out this page on Callaway Golf Pre-Owned.
They have a fairly large selection with a 12-month warranty, 90-day buy-back policy, and condition guarantee.
Aside from that, the best place to find new and used XR OS irons is eBay. You can find some pretty incredible prices there.
Want a high-resolution look at the XR OS irons? Click on the composite image at the top of the page and navigate the photos on the left-hand side of the screen.
What are the reviews like?
The reviews are extremely positive overall, both in the consumer space and critic space.
Including the ladies version of the XR OS as well as the hybrids (not reviewed here), the iron has average customer ratings of 5/5 on the DSG website, 4.8/5 (96% recommended) on CGPO, and 4.7/5 on Global Golf.
What People Like
- added distance (high ball speeds resulting from hot 360 Face Cup)
- added forgiveness over the regular XR
- solid feel
- easy hit
- straight and high ball flight
What People Don’t Like
- large head can feel a bit clunky with touch shots around the green
- for some players (particularly strong swingers) trajectory is too high and distance is underwhelming
What are the features?
Not surprisingly, the features and technologies of the XR OS are similar to those of the XR.
360 Face Cup Technology
We start with Callaway’s “industry-leading” 360 Face Cup: they have designed it to produce faster ball speeds than ever before.
It has a multi-piece construction, has undergone a new heat treatment in the face cup for increased ball speeds and a soft heat treatment on the body for softer feel at impact.
The center of gravity (CG) in these irons is positioned low and back for high launch and high MOI (and hence better forgiveness).
Further contributing to the forgiveness is a wider sole that squeezes more distance out of mishits.
Progressive Lofts & Lengths
Iron lengths and lofts are both progressive, with lofts increasing and lengths decreasing as you move from the long to the short, to optimize distance through the set.
You have the option of replacing the long XR OS irons with XR OS hybrids if you prefer; the hybrids are typically easier to get up in the air and are longer than equivalent numbered irons.
While I don’t discuss the hybrids in this review, you should look out for a full review of them to be posted on Golfstead some time in the near future.
The stock shafts offered are the True Temper Speed Step 80 in steel and the Mitsubishi Fubuki AT in graphite. I thought the TT shaft, which I used during testing, provided nice balance through the swing and was light yet stable, although this can depend on the flex and the individual.
Here are the specs of the irons:
|Name||Loft||Standard Length||Lie||Offset||Swing Weight (Steel)||Availability|
How do these irons perform?
The XR OS are definitely one of the longer irons I’ve tested in terms of pure ball speed potential, but perhaps not the longest. What’s important about these irons though is their ability to send the ball in the air with both speed and height for soft landings into greens.
It’s easy to control your distances once you groove in your swing; once I did that, I was hitting my numbers very consistently.
This is arguably the iron’s strongest attribute. Hits toward the heel and toe often see minimal loss in ball speed.
How minimal? Well, for all but the worst of shots, mishits during my testing usually reached the green instead of coming up short. I can’t say the same for many other modern irons I’ve tested (even some GI irons).
The XR OS irons also tend to straighten out slices and hooks and keep your ball from sailing too far off line.
Yes, true to the claims, these are quite a bit more forgiving than the XR. Quite impressed overall.
Natural trajectories are high and straight, but with some effort, the flight can be altered.
The XR OS irons are terrific for getting the ball up in the air from a wide variety of lies; rough, bunker, fairway, you name it, I found them to be playable and reliable in just about every situation.
What about look, sound & feel?
As a more forgiving alternative to the XR, the XR OS naturally has a very thick top line, wide sole, large cavity and good amount of offset. This iron actually has one of the thickest top lines I’ve ever seen.
One thing I’m not really crazy about is the look of the short irons at address: the shorter, round blade coupled with the ultra-thick top line makes for a look that’s a little too fat and stout for my tastes, but I can understand how it would inspire confidence for beginners and high-handicappers. It’s larger than the XR, there’s no doubt.
Shape aside, the XR OS has a similar badge design to the XR with a Callaway logo in the bottom-left and a blue/red/white striped XR logo through the center. These irons really look awesome in the bag.
The Sound & Feel
The XR OS irons feel stable and solid across the entire face.
During my testing I found that center strikes tended to have a touch of “clicky” hollowness that differentiated it from mishits which felt more solid and muted.
This means that you get a confidence-inspiring feel at impact without completely throwing useful feedback out the window; kudos to Callaway for managing to pull this off.
Where should you buy these irons online?
Back in the day, it was difficult to find prices lower than the manufacturer-set price for these irons. Now though, you can get some serious savings pretty easily.
The XR OS irons are perfect for the golfer who wants more forgiveness, excellent ball speed potential, more height on their iron shots, and a larger head than the original XR can provide.
This is a serious contender in the game-improvement market, one that I recommend all beginners and high-handicappers who have the budget at least try.
Have you tried the XR OS irons? Do you have any questions about them? Feel free to leave a comment below.
Callaway XR OS Iron
Sound and Feel9.5/10
- Better forgiveness and distance than the XR
- Feels good across the face yet provides enough feedback to recognize mishits
- High launch helps slow swingers and low hitters realize more distance with softer landings
- Large head inspires confidence for an easier hit
- Short irons and wedges in particular look too fat/thick at address than many players prefer
- Touch shots around the green with wedges can feel a bit clunky for more skilled players
- High trajectory encouragement doesn't suit everyone