Callaway XR Irons Review

Callaway XR Review
John Scott
4.7/5 stars

Pros and Cons of the Callaway XR Irons

Callaway XR irons have continued in the time-honored quest of game improvement irons in attempting to add both distance and forgiveness to their design. Most irons in this category have done this by increasing the size and shape of the cavity. Callaway has gone outside the box, so to speak, and borrowed their innovative “Face Cup and Internal Wave Technology” from their popular XR driver/fairway wood/hybrid series and introduced them to the XR irons. Even though Callaway offered this technology on their Big Bertha irons, the XR are markedly different in that they do not have the massive enclosed cavity of the Big Bertha irons.

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According to Callaway, their Face Cup technology is as follows; “the Cup 360 is a single piece of thin metal for the face that wraps around at the top and the bottom and then is attached to the rest of the chassis by a thin piece of metal. This allows the face to flex at impact and increases the ball speed so you get more distance”. The Internal Standing Wave contributes to the added ball speed by altering the CG (Center of Gravity) lower than anyone thought possible. The CG is actually placed closer to the front of the face. This line of metal does not touch the face at all, but rather contributes further to the flex in the face for added ball speed.

Here are the key technologies in the Callaway XR irons:

  • 360 Face Cup

Increases distance and consistency-especially for shots struck one groove low

  • Low CG, High MOI

More consistent across the face-added distance on mis-hits


Added distance from increased ball speed is the norm for game improvement clubs and the XR irons do not disappoint in this regard. The face is hot right from heel to toe. Even off-center strikes are not affected distance wise very much. The delofting of the irons also contributes to the increase in distance, although most manufacturers are going this route now.


There is a different feel to these irons. I attribute that to the aforementioned face cup and internal wave technologies. Although they are not ridiculously long, the ball seems to explode off the club face. The feel is a lot like a well-struck fairway wood when it leaves the club face. It is especially more noticeable the longer the club. The shorter irons do not have quite the same feel.


The XR irons are replacing the old X2 Hot model. Although the XR’s are forgiving, there is not much to choose between them and the X2 Hot. The forgiveness that is noticeable is the distance forgiveness. Hit it anywhere on the face and you should see near maximum yardage. Don’t get me wrong…these irons are forgiving. I guess the issue is that Callaway has always been a leader when it comes to Game Improvement irons and maybe the envelope has been pushed to its limit?

Looks and Sound

All of the things one might look for in an iron in the Game Improvement category are seen in the Callaway XR’s; thick topline, wide sole, offset club head and over-sized club heads. The bottom two grooves have painted white lines in classic Callaway fashion. This aids in alignment of your shot. The finish is shiny chrome in the XR and a brushed chrome in the XR Pro.

This might be hard to explain, but these irons don’t sound as chunky as they look. This is not to disparage the irons at all. It is just that the sound is somewhat unexpected.

Custom Fitting Options

Since Callaway changed from their through hosel design, the custom fitting for their irons has got increasingly more streamlined. Although you can still only really get no more than a 2 degree +/- lie adjustment, they can be tweaked somewhat if you find a club repair facility that you trust.

All of the standard fitting issues should be addressed when ordering these irons; length, lie angle, loft, shaft, and grip.


  • Men’s RH/LH (D2 swing weight)
  • Shafts: Steel True Temper Speed Step 80, graphite Project X SD (reg and stiff)
  • Ladies RH/LH (C2 swing weight)
  • Shaft: Graphite Project X SD (ladies flex)
  • Available 3 iron through LW (LW RH only)

Pro Option

The XR Pro irons are a throwback to the days of the X-12 Pro or the X-14 Pro where the design was significantly different from that of the standard Game Improvement model. The topline is thinner, the club heads are smaller and there is less offset.

Although they are not as good as some of their competitors in this category, they have come out of the dark ages and made some steps to appeal to that “better player that now needs more forgiveness” type of golfer.


Playability: Very easy to attain the high launch angle that is now a desired trait in Game Improvement clubs. Enough club mass to glide through bad lies in the rough.

Accuracy/Forgiveness: Optimum forgiveness for this Game Improvement club. Off-center hits are seemingly unaffected from heel to toe.
Distance Control: An out-and-out mauler; eye-opening length.

Feel: Seem to be almost shock-dampening in their nature…great for the joints…stable feel on all types of strikes.

Look: Nice sharp look from top to bottom. Not as chunky as other Game Improvement irons.


Gapping: Special attention needed when ordering these irons from a wedge gapping standpoint.

Feel: Little to no feel for greenside pitching and chipping.

Are These Clubs For You?

The Callaway XR irons are built for players wanting maximum distance and forgiveness out of their clubs. Don’t expect to get the type of feedback that will allow you to work on bettering your golf swing. It is just not there. It offers the mid to high handicap player exactly what he/she needs…a club that makes the game easier to feel good about.

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About the author

John Scott

John Scott is a 3 hcp elite golfer and certified club fitter, with over 40 years of golf experience. He is a former Club Champion at Priddis Greens, 2 times Champion of Chinook Valley Mens Open, former Alberta Interclub Champion, and a professional golf writer.