Callaway XR Speed Driver Review - GM Technical Editor Joel Tadman tests the new XR Speed up against the outgoing XR16 driver to see if the performance has improved
Callaway XR Speed Driver Review
The Callaway XR Speed driver is aimed at golfers with slow and moderate swing speeds for whom a lighter feel may increase club speed for added distance.
Callaway claim the new XR Speed is its longest and most forgiving XR or ‘non-jailbreak’ driver to date thanks to the introduction of a host of innovations, like a new X Face VFT (Variable Face Thickness) and a Speed Step near the face as well as some new shaft offerings. The new carbon composite crown is 45 per cent lighter than that on the previous XR16 for improved forgiveness and efficiency.
How we tested
We hit the XR Speed in both the stock Project X Hzrdus and our custom-fitted Aldila Rogue shaft indoors to gather GCQuad launch monitor data as well as on the course.
The XR Speed has a much more cutting-edge aesthetic with the blue carbon fibre crown with red trim, Speed Step at the front and slick graphics underneath as well as the trademark rounded Callaway profile. This all contributes to a driver that is easy to align and looks forgiving behind the ball.
When testing against the previous XR16 Pro, the XR Speed delivered faster ball speed, 300rpm lower spin on a stronger ball flight and eight-yard-longer carries on average but it wasn’t quite as accurate overall.
This might be down to the lighter feel, which for many will take some time to adjust to but in the long run, clubface control should improve depending on your tempo. Golfers should also factor in the added forgiveness over XR16, helping mishits fly straighter and with less of a loss of distance.
The XR Speed is certainly a considerable improvement over the XR16 driver. It looks far more pleasing and interesting to the eye, feels and sounds significantly more explosive and has the added performance to back it up.
It’s a very user-friendly offering that the majority of handicaps, after a shaft/loft fitting, will be able to get on with straight away. For us, it didn’t quite reach the heights of the Rogue family, but it was only a few yards short and felt just as solid.
While we struggled to control the clubface at times, but our clubhead speed did increase over XR 16 and slower swingers will certainly get the benefits from the lightweight feel more, while everyone will love the distance and forgiveness on offer from a modern-day driver coming in at under £350.