If by now you have already read my reviews of the Callaway XR Driver and Callaway XR Fairway, then you will have a fair idea of what we are dealing with now the XR Hybrid is in my paws.
Design wise, we are heading down the Face Cup road again, where the wrap around design allows the face to transfer more speed to the ball because the weld join with the head is not on the face.
Then Callaway has redesigned the internal standing wave within the head so that it moves weight low and forward, but does not touch the face so that it has space to flex to generate that extra ball speed.
So far, so XR.
However one extra little spin on this XR is one you students of golf industry personnel will be nodding your heads in a knowing way. Chip Brewer is the CEO of Callaway and is a real product guy and prior to his current lofty position, he was CEO of Adams Golf, who you will knowingly nod as being great at hybrids.
One of the features of Adams hybrids was the high toe that increased the forgiveness and guess what the XR face now has? That's right and this is proving a popular theme this year with the TaylorMade R15 hybrid doing a good Adams impression too.
Now, it's not exactly the same for obvious legal reasons, but inspiration is the sincerest form of design flattery and it is always nice to occasionally dig your Carlsbad neighbours in the ribs.
Callaway XR Hybrid Review
The first of the two XR Hybrids is the standard model which Callaway says has the lowest CG and the hottest face of any hybrid they have done to date. The CG in the XR is 46% lower than the X2 Hot hybrid with an 8% increase in MOI.
The tall face has a variable face thickness to give a CT of between 225 to 242 and that generates an extra 2mph ball speed.
The head is a lovely generous size and sits very well behind the ball. Even if it looks marginally pointy, I do like the fact that there is not a big offset on the XR like there has been on past Callaway hybrids.
Swinging the XR Hybrid was a joy and the club effortlessly sent the ball away on a mid to high flight for a hybrid. However the real benefit was that it was so forgiving wherever you hit it on the face and I could see a lot of high single figure handicappers and upwards finding this hybrid extremely playable.
The sound and feel were lovely with the almost traditional Callaway 'zing', which was very pleasing on the ears. It is a little on the light side, which again is fine for this market, but better players may struggle with getting the right shaft for this type of club, hence why Callaway has created a Pro version too.
Callaway XR Pro Hybrid Review
For better players this is a real gem as it has a little bit heavier and is therefore a lot more consistent at higher swing speeds.
The head is a little compact when you put it at address, but it builds a lot of performance in there and is more forgiving than it looks.
Compared to the X2 Hot pro the CG is 77% lower and the MOI 22% higher so this is a big improvement and so it felt. It had a lower flight than the standard XR, but again the sound and feel was everything you would expect from a quality better player hybrid.
There are four options including a 1 hybrid at 16°, which is great to see a 1 on the sole of a club again, right up to a 4 hybrid at 23°.
The length of the head in the 4H is the same as the 4-iron in the XR irons so you are not really gaining head size with this hybrid. It did really like it, but I think I would prefer something a little more generous, so try it out and see if the size fits for you.
Overall I think both clubs are very good performers, as you would expect from Callaway. It's hard to pick fault with them, but at the same time I am not as excited as I was over the XR driver and fairway.
The standard XR hybrid does the job very well, but I am not bowled over by the looks as the head looks a bit toe heavy for my eye and certainly not as visually rounded as some other game improvement hybrids.
The XR Pro has a more balanced head style, but in a smaller package that is maybe a little too small for all but low handicap players. Again there is nothing wrong with this per se, but again there are other models around that combine the better player spin profile in a larger head.
Callaway are promoting the speed and distance that these clubs give and they certainly deliver there. This means that you could potentially go for a hybrid with more loft than before and get the same distance with a steeper landing angle so it stops quicker.
However hybrids are not really distance clubs, so make sure you get the right lofts to fit into your set so that there is not too big a gap either side to your longest iron or shortest fairway wood.
They are competitively priced so if the XR hybrid fits your budget, your bag and your eye then you won't go far wrong.