Martin Hopley
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The Callaway XR driver replaces the very successful X2 Hot driver and it has a lot to live up to as the previous model was one of the best selling drivers in the market.

Unlike the last few drivers Callaway has released, the XR has no gravity core, no moveable weights or any other Centre of Gravity (CG) moving technology. Apparently it is just built for "outrageous speed" and the "race inspired" graphics certainly look like someone in the design team is a BMW M sport fan.

Callaway XR Driver

Despite, or maybe because of this slimmed down approach, the X2 Hot was a driver for all golfers from Tour Pro's to mid handicappers and the XR driver successfully follows in its footsteps.

The only concession to adjustability is the usual Callaway Optifit adjustable hosel that enables you to change the loft across a range of 3° and two different face angles.

Callaway XR Driver Optifit Hosel

As I have mentioned before in Callaway reviews you need to get the right initial loft as if you want 10° then you need to come up 1° from the 9° head as you can't get there by coming down from the 10.5° head.

The speed freak claims are all down to two tried and trusted technologies and one new feature that combine with the tighter manufacturing tolerances to maximise the ball speed through the face.

Firstly you have the R MOTO face design that was first introduced on the Callaway Big Bertha Alpha 815 driver. Effectively this allows the face to flex more at impact and enables weight that is removed from between the ribs to be useful elsewhere the head.

Callaway XR Driver R Moto

The effect of this, amongst other things is to reduce backspin by around 277rpm, increase the size of the sweet spot by 16% and the Moment of Inertia (MOI) by 9%.

Secondly, within the club, an improved internal standing wave helps lower the CG as well as moving weight closer to the front of the club to increase ball speed. This is effectively a ridge of metal on the inside of the sole and the extra energy this provides works with the R MOTO face to create all that extra ball speed.

Callaway XR Driver Toe

Finally, the new feature you can see is the Speed Step Crown where a double ridge is embossed from the inside of the head to help reduce turbulence and get it moving faster through the air.

Callaway XR Driver Crown

During a launch briefing from Callaway I was shown video of the speed step moving through one of these wind chambers and the pattern of air flow changed markedly, particularly over the toe section of the crown.

So does it all work? Callaway claim it is 2.3 mph faster than the X2 Hot driver, which would probably add another 5-10 yards for most mortals, and it certainly felt pretty powerful at impact.

On Trackman at a Callaway fitting session the ball spin was around 300-400 rpm more than the Big Bertha Alpha 815 I reviewed recently, which was to be expected. Overall for me and my 100mph swing speed, it was spinning in the mid 2000's which is still good.

At address it sat very well and had the classic Callaway look, if you know what I mean. The Speed Step Crown is visible and frames the Callaway chevron alignment aid and I think it looks pretty good.

Callaway XR Driver Optifit Hosel

The sound was also traditional Callaway, with a lovely zing at impact and really good feel. It actually felt very light to swing and that is due in part to the standard 46 inch, 50g Project X LZ50 shaft.

This is a really good shaft and I was pleased to see a nice dark finish to it as well. It is also a long shaft, but if you go and get fitted by Callaway then there is a wide choice of shaft types and lengths available at no extra charge, which is good to see.

Callaway XR Driver Project X Shaft

My favourite thing about the Callaway XR driver is that it is plug and play. Just get the right loft and swing, because it takes over and does the rest thanks to a very forgiving face that looks and sounds great. The retro headcover looks pretty good too.

Callaway XR Driver Headcover

There is also a XR Pro model with a smaller 440cc, lower spinning head, but I think golfers of all levels should look at the standard model because it does seem to cover a lot of bases.

With a price that is very competitive for a premium driver and eerily similar to a couple of other aerodynamically finned, adjustable drivers from Ping and TaylorMade, 2015 seems set for a heavyweight showdown of light drivers that all claim a speed advantage.

The Callaway XR is a real contender and I want a front row ticket for this bout, because it is too close to call.

Golfalot Rating: 5 stars
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Callaway XR Driver - Product Details

Launch UK20 February 2015
Launch USA20 February 2015
Launch RRP£279
Handicap Range
Low
High
GolferMens, Women
Hand AvailabilityLeft, Right
Left Handed Lofts9°, 10.5°, 12°, 13.5°
Right Handed Lofts9°, 10.5°, 12°, 13.5°
MaterialTitanium
Head Volume460 cc
Club Length46 inches
Swing WeightD3
AdjustabilityLoft
Shaft NameProject X LZ
Shaft TypesGraphite
Shaft FlexRegular, Stiff
Shaft Weight50g
Manufacturer's WebsiteCallaway Website

User Reviews

June 2016

As a 63 year old with a 14 hcp, my new XR driver gives me growing confidence that I have finally found the driver of my dreams. I get 10 more yards and straighter hits.

June 2016

I'm a low handicapper and usually go for the smaller headed drivers but I liked the look of this so I thought I would take a chance. Great driver and it has added at least 20 yards to my drives and is very consistent for ball carry, distance and flight. Very happy.

May 2016

Just bought the XR. I own 6 drivers all made in the past 5 years. I am not one to fall for "tech brag" but rather hang my hat on results. I get 10-20 yards farther carry, on average. That's huge. It also looks, feels and sounds great and seems to forgive a bit more as well -10 HC hoping to get to Single digits with this and the new XR 4 wood I ran out and got after loving the Driver that is way more forgiving than anything I have owned and really easy to hit same great sound and feel as well. _XR Fan!

April 2016

I am 75 and somewhat set in my ways. My concession to Father Time has been to take advantage of the "Senior Tees". The 2009 Taylormade Burner TP had been my driver for six years. None of the recent "gizmo" driver innovations have been of interest to me, but the XR caught my attention. I love its appearance. I am now the proud owner of a nine degree, stiff shafted XR and I'm pleased with it. If longer (10-15 yards) and straighter (fewer slices) is meaningful, then it has exceeded my expectations. You can't go back but you can go long. I'm thinking of returning to the Member Tees.

March 2016

I've never felt comfortable with a driver because of a tendency to push the ball a long way right and have always hit driving/long irons from the tee. After 25 years of playing I felt it was about time for me to man up and get used to it, as it was the only way I was going to cut shots from my score. I am currently a 20 handicapper and the from the first ball I hit with the club I knew it would improve my scores. I found the club very forgiving and by adjusting the loft to a higher degree than standard it became far easier to hit consistently straight tee shots. I average 250-260 yards with this driver and if I can manage to hit this club straight more often than not then I am sure most other players would find it equally as pleasing to use. Best £250 the Mrs has ever spent on a birthday present for me.

March 2016

First off,as an owner of an X2 Hot and an XR, people that say the XR is " way longer " umm...no.I'm 55, an 11 handicap and I'm sorry, it's not "way longer" overall, I'd say on miss hits , it seems to be forgiving and give better distance but I use the same shaft in both heads. I always clean the face after each drive to check for contact points. As for pure "smash factor " I'd say it's equal to the X2 as I caught one square centre with a swing speed of around 97 mph, landed same spot as my X2, perhaps you gentleman claiming massive distance gains should check into shafts?

March 2016

I'm 69 years old, 14 handicap. I've been using Callaway drivers (and fairway woods) since the original Big Bertha days. I was using the X2 Hot until I decided I had to have the XR 2016 for my birthday. Wow! I thought my X2 hot was long. This new XR is way longer and so easy to swing. Great job Callaway.

December 2015

60 year old 16 handicapper. I'm a tried and true Titleist guy, but I purchased the XR after comparing to the new Titleist and TaylorMade models. I was hitting this club 10-15 yards farther and the feel is noticeably better for me. Very happy with this club.

September 2015

62 years old 18 handicapper who has tried every driver in the shop on the launch monitor. This one won by a long shot, no pun intended! Then tried it on the range. Great distance, goes where you want it to go. Very pleased!

August 2015

Brilliant Driver as an 18 handicap Golfer I have found it easy to play with good loft. Highly recomended BGR Derby

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