The Golf Monthly test team review the Callaway XR irons with 360 Face Cup technology designed to increase distance on strikes across the clubface.
The XR irons are said to be more forgiving, longer and better looking than the X2 Hot set they replace.
Callaway X series irons have always had an attractive look behind the ball, and it’s one that has always appealed to my eye. They inspire confidence without looking enormous at address – it’s a combination that has always worked well, and continues to do so here. The top edge is on the thick side, but the rounded shape and overall look will appeal to many.
The cavity design and overall appearance of the club is much improved compared to the X2 Hot iron from a year ago. Although this doesn’t the affect performance of the clubs, it does mean they stand out on the shelf and in the bag.
Callaway has taken the impressive technology found in its fairway woods and hybrids and applied it to the new XR irons. Primarily, this involves the addition of Cup 360 Technology, which acts like a spring, particularly on shots that impact low on the face. Compared to standard iron designs, this model should boost ball speeds for added distance on shots anywhere on the face.
The centre of gravity position has been lowered, thanks to weighting in the head. This helps make the entire set more forgiving than previous X models. The way the weighting is positioned also gives the face the freedom to flex, therefore increasing distance on shots off the entire face.
The introduction of Cup 360 technology means that the head is constructed using a new dual heat treatment to ensure the production is more precise than ever.
The impact sound and feel is different to previous Callaway X irons, with more of a sharp click off the face. However, it’s one that I enjoyed. This could be due to the two- piece construction of the heads. Those who have used X models previously are likely to notice a different sound and feel.
The XR irons offer a high flight without ballooning. After comparing them directly with the new XR Pro irons, it was clear that my average swing speed was best suited to this set. It’s very easy to hit the longer irons on a pleasing flight, while the shorter clubs stopped quickly on approach shots.
On iron sets primarily focused on improving distance, shots out of the middle can fly considerably longer than those that slightly miss the middle of the club. Particularly bad mishits fly shorter still, as you would expect, but there is more consistency than most distance-focused clubs.
In the January issue, we tested the Callaway Big Bertha irons, which take even more inspiration from wood and hybrid designs. Forgiveness was extremely impressive, however, the XR set achieves the same ease of use while maintaining the look of a classic iron. While the Big Bertha irons are suited to those who really struggle through the bag, the XR model will appeal to a very wide range of abilities.
The set comes with Project X SD shafts as standard – in 4.5 Light, 5.5 Regular and 6.0 Stiff options.
Lots of help to get the ball airbourne and keep it there as well as above average distance. The look at address is one of reassurance that there's plenty of help on offer to assist you in hitting good golf shots.