50 Words or Less
The Callaway XR driver is a forgiving, light weight driver geared towards creating lots of ball speed and promoting a draw.
While the Big Bertha drivers are the flagships of the Callaway line, the X series has always been the workhorse. At a mid-level price, they’ve delivered forgiveness and distance to golfers for years. With this year’s Callaway XR driver, the focus is on speed – specifically a promise of up to 5 MPH more ball speed, compared to a 2012 Callaway driver. I put this driver through the paces to see if you can expect that kind of boost for your tee shots.
The XR driver has an average-sized footprint for a 460 cc driver, and it has a very pleasing, rounded shape. The “Speed Step Crown” is matte black with a chevron alignment aid.
While the driver sets up square in the neutral position, one thing I found disconcerting was the imbalance of the lines that make up the Speed Step Crown. You can see that the line on the heel side is much shorter than the line on the toe side, and this makes the chevron look off-center towards the heel. Based on my testing, the chevron does align with the actual sweet spot, but whether this heel-side CoG is good or not is going to be up to the individual golfer.
Sound & Feel
The sound this driver produces is a clean, medium volume pop. I like the sound because it enhances the hot feel without being too loud or sounding shrill or metallic.
The Callaway XR driver is fitted with a very lightweight version of the Project X LZ shaft. Depending on the flex you choose, the shaft weighs between 53 and 56 grams. This light weight shaft can certainly be part of the high speed equation, but some players may find it a little too light to control.
There are a lot of pieces to the XR’s high speed equation: an aerodynamic head shape, the Speed Step Crown, the faster R-MOTO face, a longer shaft (46″), and the light weight of the shaft. Some of these parts will benefit for all golfers, but others – namely the lighter, longer shaft – will help some but hurt others. I found that while the head was very forgiving, I had a hard time controlling the shaft and making consistent, center-face contact. To make sure that the XR driver can work for everyone, Callaway does offer a number of premium shaft options at no up-charge. This allows players who prefer a heavier shaft to use this excellent, forgiving head to its best effect.
As I mentioned earlier, the sweet spot of the XR driver is slightly towards the heel. This makes it a good fit for players who tend to hit the the ball off the heel of the club and those who fight a slice. Combined with the very active stock shaft, I think the XR is a great choice for those striving to get their drives to draw.
For players looking to add ball speed through a lighter club and a little more snap in the shaft, the Callaway XR driver is one that’s worth checking out. It also does a good job promoting a right-to-left ball flight, but it has enough adjustability to allow a wide range of players to use it effectively . This is a solid offering from Callaway and a very different driver than last year’s X2 Hot.