Pros: The XR has a shallow-face design that makes it easy to launch the ball. The XR Pro offers a more compact head shape and slightly more fade bias. Both fairway woods are exceptionally long and forgiving, and come with great stock shaft options.

Cons: They’re not adjustable.

Who’s it for: These are two of the longest, most forgiving fairway woods of 2015, and will work for a wide range of players.

Callaway’s XR fairway woods were voted a 2015 Gear Trials: Best Fairway Wood. They were considered one of the Top-6 fairway woods currently available by our 2015 Gear Trials Panel.

The Review

Yep. That’s the response you’ll get when asking what the new XR and XR Pro fairway models from Callaway can do. High launch, low spin? Yep. Forgiving, yet workable? Yep. Good looks, playable from anywhere on the course and available in a wide range of lofts? Yep, Yep, Yep.

Callaway’s XR 3 Wood has 15 degrees of loft.

Callaway’s XR fairway woods are the company’s larger, easier-to-elevate model. They have a shallow face, which is great for golfers who struggle to elevate shots from the fairway. Conversely, the XR Pro fairway woods have a distinctly smaller footprint, which makes them less forgiving. Because of their deeper face design, they are also more of a challenge to elevate from the fairway, and their flatter lie angles and more open face angles give them more fade bias than the XR fairway woods.

Notice the slightly deeper, or taller face on the XR Pro fairway wood (bottom).

Distance isn’t always a determining factor in selecting a fairway wood, but both models offer phenomenal ball speeds all over the face. That’s thanks to Callaway’s updated Forged Hyper Speed Face Cup. Additionally, the fairway woods’ “internal standing wave” moves their center of gravity lower and closer to the face. This means less spin, a higher launch and for most players, more distance.

No slots, no problem: Callaway’s Hyper Speed Face Cup technology offers some of the fastest ball speeds we’ve seen in testing.

GolfWRX’s 2015 Gear Trials: Best Fairway Woods has spoken and the message is loud and clear. The XR and XR Pro are the best of the best. That said, if you find the 43.5 stock length on the XR a bit long — especially for shots from the fairway — don’t be afraid to shorten it a bit to fit your swing. I got better results at 42.5 inches with my shaft of choice. Your mileage may vary.

Callaway's XR fairway wood has a "Chevron" alignment aid, while the XR Pro offers a cleaner look at address.
Callaway’s XR fairway wood has a “Chevron” alignment aid, while the XR Pro offers a cleaner look at address.

The feel of a club at impact is entirely subjective — fortunately, Callaway’s 2015 XR and Big Bertha Alpha 815 lines run the gamut. If you want to tinker and lust after that dense “thwack” of a hammer nailing a 2-by-4, give the Big Bertha Alpha 815 a run. If you want something a bit more electric and vibrant, both the XR and XR Pro are right up your alley.

Both the XR Pro and Big Bertha Alpha 815 move through light rough with a bit less effort, but all of the models pick it clean from the fairway and tight lies. If you miss a fairway and immediately reach for your fairway wood to play your next shot, the XR Pro and 815, with their slightly smaller heads, provide for consistently cleaner contact when there’s grass in between the club face and the ball.

The XR Pro (left) is slightly shorter heel to toe as well as front to rear when compared to the standard XR (right).
The XR Pro (left) is slightly shorter from heel to toe and from front to rear when compared to the standard XR (right).

The data below was recorded with the stock shaft to provide an accurate comparison of off-the-rack models. The combo platter isn’t always the best item on a menu, but in this case, I’d love to see Callaway offer both the XR and XR Pro with the same selection of stock shafts. Given the small difference in MSRP — $239.99 for the XR Pro and $229.99 for the XR — I can’t think of a good reason not to. In addition, the stock shaft in the XR was not an ideal fit for me, but with the correct shaft, it became something quite special.

Finding the correct loft is more challenging with the XR and XR Pro than the Big Bertha Alpha 815, because they’re not adjustable. The best advice is to make sure you demo different lofts and don’t be afraid to go with more loft than you’re currently using. Both heads are likely lower spinning than what’s currently in your bag, which opens up the possibility for a higher launch and less spin — keys to hitting the ball farther for most players.

The Numbers

Head: Callaway XR (15 degrees)
Stock Shaft: True Temper Project X LZ (Stiff)

  • Average Ball Speed: 151 mph
  • Average Backspin: 3300 rpm
  • Average Launch Angle 17.2 degrees
  • Average Carry Distance (at 5000 feet): 262 yards
  • Estimated Carry Distance at Sea Level: 235.8 yards

Head: Callaway XR Pro (14 degrees)
Stock Shaft: True Temper Project X LZ Pro 6.0

  • Average Ball Speed: 154 mph
  • Average Backspin: 2850 rpm
  • Average Launch Angle 15.2 degrees
  • Average Carry Distance (at 5000 feet): 267 yards
  • Estimated Carry Distance at Sea Level: 240.3 yards

Gamer Head: Callaway Big Bertha Alpha 815 (15 degrees)
Gamer Shaft: Mitsubishi Rayon Fubuki ZT 70X
Specs: Weight back

  • Average Ball Speed 152 MPH
  • Average Backspin 2900
  • Average Launch Angle 16.7 degrees
  • Average Carry Distance (at 5000 feet): 266 yards
  • Estimated Carry Distance at Sea Level: 240

The Takeaway

Not many golfers will need this little loft on an XR Pro fairway wood. Make sure to try the 16-degree!

If you’re not going to have adjustability, you better have pretty much everything else. The XR series does. It has distance, it has forgiveness, and it has a blend of technology that results in almost everything a player could want in a fairway wood.

If you’re looking to replace your fairway woods this season, there’s no way the XR or XR Pro isn’t on your short list of clubs to demo. If adjustability is a deal breaker for you, try the Big Bertha Alpha 815 fairway woods. If not, the XR line might very well be the beginning and end of your fairway wood search for 2015.

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I didn't grow up playing golf. I wasn't that lucky. But somehow the game found me and I've been smitten ever since. Like many of you, I'm a bit enthusiastic for all things golf and have a spouse which finds this "enthusiasm" borderline ridiculous. I've been told golf requires someone who strives for perfection, but realizes the futility of this approach. You have to love the journey more than the result and relish in frustration and imperfection. As a teacher and coach, I spend my days working with amazing middle school and high school student athletes teaching them to think, dream and hope. And just when they start to feel really good about themselves, I hand them a golf club!


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  1. Really enjoy your reviews Chris. I live in NM at high elevation as well. I love having the adjustability of clubs for when I go play lower elevation (thicker air).

    Will you be reviewing the xr pro irons?

    • Matt – Thanks for the kind words! Like you, I typically enjoy adjustable clubs, but I have to tell you the XR 15* has a very firm spot in my bag. As far as the XR Pro irons go, I’d love to give them a run – I don’t always know what I’m going to work on next, but I’ll certainly reach out and see if that’s a possibility.

  2. Just bought the XR 3 wood last week and took it back for the XR Pro 14*. The XR was super easy to hit and felt great. Set up was nice but after a few days with it, I just couldn’t keep it out of the left side unless I slowed down my swing. Picked up the Pro Saturday and it worked much better. It’s launch is fairly high for a 14*, but it’s long and doesn’t go left unless I put a bad swing on it. I’m enjoying it!

    • Sometimes you don’t know exactly how a club is going to work until you actually get it on the course. For me, I love the XR at 15* – It’s shallow enough I can pick it clean from the fairway and I just make sure to tee it fairly low if I”m using it instead of my driver off the box. That said, I think the Pro is a monster for the right player…glad you found one that works for you!

  3. I don’t see why adjustability carries so much importance. Virtually everyone I know with adjustable clubs have them set to neutral. Personally I still prefer a clued head.

    • I think this is a great topic….and personally, I love the adjustability of clubs, but once I get them set, I generally leave them at whatever optimal setting I’ve found – Maybe it’s the idea that I could change a setting (easily) if needed? Or perhaps change loft if I needed to for a particular course, etc…Nevertheless, your point is well taken. Thanks for the read!