Physics tells us velocity multiplied by time equals distance. Distance is something that all golfers are looking for. We all want it; frankly we can’t get enough of it. But just telling golfers that you are going to give them more distance just doesn’t work anymore. We are tired of hearing it. Heck, if it were true I would be hitting 320 yard drives last season. We just won’t believe you anymore.
So Callaway has come up with a creative strategy for telling us their XR line of drivers are going to help us hit it father. They don’t simply tell us we are going to get more yardage, they tell us we are going to get more speed. Speed is really a simplified version of the velocity ingredient in our physics lesson above. The XR line of drivers is designed and built for outrageous speed. I for one appreciate the creativity from their marketing department and after getting to try their XR Pro driver I also appreciate their engineering department as well.
For this review I was given a 10.5 degree Callaway XR Pro driver with a stiff Project X shaft. Let’s see how it performed.
Technology and Design
As discussed above the name of the game for the XR line of drivers is speed. The entire club design was based on speed. A big marketing feature on the XR line was the speed step crown, on the Pro model the step crown is noticeably missing. The speed step crown is designed to better manage the airflow going over the top of the clubhead helping to reduce friction and deliver the club with more speed. The fact that it is missing may be attributed to the fact that the Pro model is a smaller clubhead and thus may have less friction to begin with. Callaway states that the Pro model is designed with an aerodynamic head that maximizes speed.
One of the key features that Callaway has utilized before is the use of multiple materials in the head to help to lighten the driver and also add weight around in the clubhead where the designer can better utilize it. The traditional go to material for Callaway is composite. Its characteristics of being both strong and lightweight make it an ideal candidate for clubhead design. The XR Pro is no different. The head has a Forged Composite Crown all in an advanced aerodynamic head design that maximizes the speed. By moving the weight around they have lowered the center of gravity by 53% and lowered the spin by 300 rpm versus the extremely popular X2 Hot Pro. The driver also comes with what seems to be a moveable weight in the clubhead but I was not able to find much regarding if that weight can be adjusted and what it would adjust if you did adjust it. It may be that it is adjustable only through a professional fitter.
The main technology feature that Callaway is promoting on this driver is the R-MOTO which removes weight in the face of the clubhead to increase you guessed it ball speed. It also creates a more efficient energy transfer across the face helping you to get more ball speed at every location on the face, even when you mishit it. In addition by removing weight from the face of the club the designer again has weight to move around in order to lower the center of gravity.
The XR Pro utilizes the Callaway OptiFit Adjustability which allows the golfer eight different loft and lie configurations to optimize their ball flight and launch conditions. The OptiFit has been offered on multiple products now and has now become more or less a standard, or better yet, required feature for all drivers.
The last ingredient for increasing the speed is the shaft. Callaway has chosen the Project X LZ which produces maximum shaft load during the downswing to transfer more energy to the ball. The shaft is an extremely critical aspect to the performance of today’s driver and the Project X shaft is well respected in the golf industry.
My first thought when I picked up the driver was that it reminded me of the stealth bomber. The driver has a strong black color scheme with the top of the driver done in a matte black finish making it look very fast. I have said in my previous reviews of drivers that I am a huge fan of black matte finishes on drivers. It reduces glare, is easy to keep clean, and looks modern. So when picking up this driver I was immediately a fan of the look. The design of the clubhead is described by Callaway as a players shape.
The bottom of the driver still has the black theme, but the black is very shiny and was done in contrast to the black on the top of the clubhead. The driver has the logos of the XR line done in white outline and grey and black inside the lines. The additional color scheme mixes in red and blue lines as the only color that has been added. The main feature you will notice is the red circle which is a weight that looks as though it can be changed but there is little information available on their website on if that weight can be changed. The weight itself has a stainless steel like finish and certainly stands out when looking at the bottom of the clubhead. Next to the weight is the phrase “R-MOTO Technology” which is done in white lettering towards the toe on the bottom of the clubhead there is standard Callaway logo done in a very soft grey which is nicely done.
The face itself is a different type of matte finish but still black but different from the top of the clubhead. The face also has some scoring lines in the shape of a X as well as standard lines towards the toe and heel of the clubhead. The hosel is also done in black to keep the black stealth theme of the driver. The shaft is done in black but offers a very light grey cross hatching which is a nice look for the driver. It is very subtly done as not to take away from the black theme but offer a change to the overall look of the club.
The headcover is also a favorite of mine. It is done in red but is more of a throwback type of headcover. Although the throwback appears quite popular now, still I like the design quite a bit. The main material is made to look like leather although I doubt it is with the inside being a soft flannel. The bottom is done in white to offer the contrast to the main red color scheme.
So the big question is, does all this talk of speed mean you will hit the ball farther. In short mostly no, but I can say that on occasion I could get a few more yards than I was expecting. I took the driver to a FlightScope session and did record some of my highest ball speeds ever for me. So there is something to what the engineers have done with this driver. I wouldn’t guarantee you will hit it farther by buying this driver, but you might find a few more yards.
Because this is a Pro model the driver was not overly forgiving. That said I did not notice that I would lose a bunch of yardage when mishitting the ball. I was particularly impressed with drives that came of the bottom of the clubhead. Some had no yardage loss at all, which was quite impressive. However on occasion a really bad swing would produce a very humbling result. I could be 15-20 yards where I felt I should be. The driver is not designed for the golfer who is more than a single digit golfer. I recommend if you are a high handicapper that you take a look at the standard XR model.
The sound of the clubhead was excellent. Better players demand the clubhead not have a overly aggressive sound and this driver fits well within that requirement. I did try to mess around a bit with the OptiFit capability and found that generically it works as well any other club manufactures model.
I found the driver to have a solid feel and the ball was launched high. I did find that my spin rate would get slightly higher than optimal on a few of my well hit drives. For example a couple of well hit drives made ball marks on the fairway. This might have been due to my not fully optimizing my settings but I feel for golfers who have too much spin I recommend going for a fitting if you are looking to add this driver. In the summer this is fine for me, but as we get our wet winters here in the Pacific Northwest the issue of plugged drivers could be something to watch out for. Spin rates are a delicate balance and I feel that this driver and shaft are on the upper end of the spectrum which is surprising for a Pro model of their driver.
I can remember when Callaway announced the X2 Hot driver line that it was well received by the market. It had a great deal of buzz surrounding it. The X2 Hot has led sort of a resurgence for Callaway that has them once again very relevant in the driver and iron market space. The XR line release also has golfers talking once again. My experience with the XR Pro driver was pleasantly surprising. I found that on occasion I was able to find a few more yards and the driver will be staying in my bag. I found myself drawn to the traditional but stealthly look of the clubhead and how solid it felt when swinging it.
With all of the drivers available on the market today it is hard to know which is the best one to play. Callaway has set up fitting locations where you can go hit the drivers and find the best one for you as shown on the SandTrap forum here. Two members had a fitting experience and found the driver that best suits their game.
If you are in market for a traditional looking driver with geared toward the better player, I highly recommend you give this driver a whirl. I doubt you will be disappointed with your experience.