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With the X2 hot going out of production, Callaway had to find a replacement, and man did they do a good, no, a great job in designing the replacement; the Callaway XR irons. Despite the shafts being of the same length as the X2, apparently, the XR are 12 yards longer. How you may ask? Continue reading this Callaway XR irons review to find out as we take a detailed look at the already legendary irons.
To see our ultimate buying guide to irons, click here.
Irons That Fit Right In
For quite a while now, the question has been how to bring technology from woods into irons. Attempts always resulted in irons with a lot of booty, but engineers at Callaway have found a workaround. They managed to incorporate most if not all technology from the woods into more traditional looking irons and voilà! the XR irons came into being. One of these is the 360 cup face technology which allows the face to flex more resulting in the 12 extra yards (more on this later).
They were designed to fit between the Big Bertha and Apex irons and they fit right in. For distance, they are longer than the Apex irons but not as much as the Big Bertha. They will offer more control than the Big Bertha but not as much as the Apex and are more forgiving than the Apex but not as much as the Big Bertha.
A more in-depth analysis of the XR only goes to show how ‘fantabulous’ (was difficult picking any one word to describe these irons) these irons are. Not only do they have great performance, they also feature a standout design.
Not to force these irons onto anyone but they are a must have.
If the Callaway XR were human, I think it would be one of the most tech savvy. The fact that Callaway engineers managed to fit all these techs into a cavity back is no mean feat, given the small sole they have to work with. Hats off for Callaway engineers.
The XR irons feature a vibration dampener (a bit on this later), 360 cup face technology which allows the face to flex more, heat treated face, variable face thickness, and internal standing wave technology.
So, what is the meaning and relevance of all these technologies?
The 360 cup face technology is a thin piece of metal wrapping around the bottom and top of the face then attached to the rest of the chassis. This allows the entire face to flex increasing the spring-like effect. The result; higher ball speeds.
This is made possible because the face is heat treated. By dual-heat treating the face, it increases the strength and thus the face can be made ultra-thin which is a major aspect of the 360 cup face tech.
Another stand-out technology of the XR is the internal standing wave technology (funny that something internal can stand out). This is a line of metal which looks like a breaking wave. It lowers the Center of Gravity (CG) and moves it forward increasing MOI. It is a stand-alone feature and doesn’t touch the face.
Build and Looks
These irons are definitely not for the purists. They are a bit chunky which will put them off. However, for the mid handicapper who these are meant for, the chunkiness will inspire a lot of confidence at address.
The Callaway XR has everything you want to find in a game improver. Thick topline, wide sole - though not as wide as super game improvers, and off-set which drastically reduces in the pro version. On the face, the lowest two grooves are painted making alignment of the club easy.
It’s funny, though, that at address, you cannot tell the XR apart from the X2 hot irons. They are so alike.
It also features a shiny chrome finish on the toe and heel, with the pro series featuring a brushed chrome finish, but has a darker finish through the face.
For a game improver, Callaway spared no expense. The refinement and attention to details really stands out when you look at these irons, they went all out until they got everything right. Definitely the meticulous craftsmanship that you and your game deserves.
Sound and Feel
Meaty is the only way to describe the sound from the Callaway XR irons. It is a surprise that the XR irons don’t sound as chunky as they look.
Different pundits have described the feel of these irons in different ways. Some say it is incredibly hot while others claim it’s more of a buttery feeling. One thing that is undeniable is its slingshot feel. The Callaway XR are too easy on the joints for an iron. A lightweight shock absorber, thanks to the vibration dampener, gives great stability through the set.
These irons will have you going gooey once you start swinging them. You will instantly feel the benefit of the speed features as there is a slingshot feel at impact which is more noticeable in the long and mid irons than in the short irons. This is to be expected because the shorter irons have smaller heads and thus the face cannot flex as much as in the long irons.
The response from these irons is also worth noticing. It’s unlike anything out there.
Briefly put, the Callaway XR irons are easy to hit irons with considerable distance gains, more forgiveness, and more workability which is a difficult compromise to achieve. These results are all thanks to the technology discussed earlier.
The XR are some of the longer game improvement irons currently available thanks to the 360 cup face technology. The spring-like effect from these technologies increases the ball speed increasing the carry distance. Callaway was right after all claiming they were 12 yards longer. De-lofting of the irons also contributes to the increased distance, though this is not a concept that is exclusive to Callaway irons.
As for forgiveness, you will achieve incredible distance no matter where it is that you strike the ball. The ball will also fly down the intended target line thanks to the cavity back these irons are. The cavity allows for perimeter weighting which enlarges the sweet spot. So whether you are a sweeper or not, strike the ball on toe or heel, the results will be the same or close.
Forgiveness and workability are features that are difficult to find on the same iron. Increasing one means compromising on the other. Typically elite player irons are more workable and less forgiving while those meant for high handicappers are anything but workable. However, with Callaway XR, it seems they have managed to work out a balance. Or shall we say an acceptable compromise?
Workability on these irons is a result of their progressive shape. It makes them more workable than the X2 irons, helping mid handicappers achieve high flights without ballooning.
I guess I’m allowed to say that these are some of the best if not the best game improver irons.
- Workable – the Callaway XR will allow for more shot-shaping and will get you out of most tight lies
- Forgiveness and accuracy – wherever you strike the ball, toe, heel, or smack center, the ball will fly down the intended target line and there will be no major difference in distance
- Looks – decent to say the least. The contrast between the shiny chrome finish on the heel and toe and the darker finish across the face is just impressive
- Easy to launch – the internal standing wave tech which lowers the CG makes these irons incredibly easy to launch
- Pretty inexpensive – Will not call them cheap, but for irons this great, they are pretty inexpensive
- Feedback - for irons the response is just incredible. Unbelievably easy on the joints
- The chunkiness will not appeal to purists
- Not suitable for guys with fast swings or quick tempos. It will result in loose results
- Lots of offset and clicky sound may not appeal to all
The Final Verdict
We are all guilty of wanting to play better player irons when we know we cannot handle them. None of us golf aficionados wants to be seen carrying around game improver irons. It’s funny how you will find most pro players playing game improver irons. I would not be surprised if they were XR irons.
The Callaway XR irons are a must have for the mid handicapper and I don’t think it can get any better than these irons. A perfect cross of the Big Bertha and Apex irons, they have a perfect balance of forgiveness and workability, incredible carry distance with Callaway stating they are 12 yards longer than the X2 hot which they replace, easy to hit, and are always on point both in looks and accuracy.
I don’t believe you can go wrong with the XR irons. Try them out; you will thank me later. I hope you liked and found this piece useful. Share your thoughts with us by leaving a comment, otherwise share (Sharing is caring). Till we meet again, enjoy your XR irons.