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Hybrid Reviews

Review: Callaway XR and XR Pro Hybrids

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Pros: The hottest hybrids in golf. The XR and XR Pro are also exceptionally well-rounded, with pleasing looks, feel and performance from the tee, fairway and rough.

Cons: Not adjustable.

Who are they for? Golfers who desire a more iron-like hybrid will likely prefer the XR Pro, whereas those seeking a slightly larger, more forgiving club that plays more like a fairway wood will find the standard XR a better fit.

The Review

Copy and paste. By that I mean, copy the review for the XR and XR Pro fairway woods and paste it right here. Everything I loved about the XR fairway woods applies to the hybrids, and the criticisms are nearly identical as well. Essentially, these clubs are long, forgiving and visually appealing. The only knock? No adjustability.

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Callaway’s XR and XR Pro (right) hybrids.

Sometimes an equipment manufacturer will redesign a product in hopes of invigorating sales. Sometimes the redesign provides tangible benefits for the player. With the XR and XR Pro hybrids, Callaway has done both.

A redesigned internal standing wave, which boosts MOI, a measure of ball speed retention on mishits, offers golfers more distance regardless of where they hit shots on the face. Couple that with a center of gravity that is as low as Callaway has ever engineered in a hybrid (for a higher launch and less spin), and you have one bad mama jama.

Generally, golfers who opt for a hybrid do so for one of two reasons. They either want a club that performs a lot like a long iron, but is more forgiving… or they want a club that launches high like a fairway wood, but offers more control. Either way, the XR series has you covered. In both on-course and launch monitor testing, both hybrids launched higher than previous models. So if you prefer to see a flatter ball flight, going down in loft or pairing the head with a lower-trajectory shaft will help.

I’ve never hit a hybrid so high while still maintaining an ideal trajectory. Don’t be shocked if you demo either club and find that it launches higher and carries farther than what’s currently in your bag — especially if you currently carry a long iron or driving iron.

With these hybrids, the sweet spot is gone. It’s more like the sweet zone. As long as you can make semi-solid contact, the results are acceptable. If you’re an above average ball striker, you’ll likely find your misses to be decidedly more consistent.

In testing, both clubs excelled as secondary options off the tee, and more than held their own from the ground — even in light and deep rough. That said, where both clubs differentiated themselves for me was on long approach shots or second shots into a par 5. Being able to hit a club high enough (and far enough) to hold a green from 220+ is something the XR series does better than any other hybrid I’ve tested.

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The XR and XR Pro (right) hybrids at address.

A note for better players: The smaller profile of the XR Pro is not indicative of its forgiveness. In fact, I found it to be pleasantly forgiving — much more so than other hybrids with similar shape and playing attributes. Ultimately, if you select the XR over the XR Pro it will be because the XR gave you better trajectory and distance numbers, not because one model was significantly more forgiving than the other. In fact, both models exhibit the holy grail of exceptional distance, hardy forgiveness and precise workability. It’s why no hybrid did better than the XR in GolfWRX’s 2015 Gear Trials: Best Hybrids List. 

The XR and XR Pro hybrids come in a variety of lofts. The XR Pro is offered in lofts of 16, 18, 20 and 23 degrees, whereas the XR is available in lofts of 19, 22, 25 and 28 degrees. Stock length on the 20-degree XR Pro is 40 inches, whereas stock length on the 19-degree XR is 40.5 inches. If you do get fitted and ultimately select one of these models, be sure to discuss length, as the iron you’re replacing is likely at least 0.5-inches shorter.

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The XR hybrid (bottom) has a larger face area than the XR Pro, making it slightly more forgiving.

For people who might only look at the number associated with the club (i.e. 3H = 19 degrees), caveat emptor. In testing, the 3 hybrid had carry distances closer to a 5 wood than a 3 iron. As such, if you’re looking to replace a specific iron, I’d suggest starting at a number one higher than the iron you’re looking to replace. Specifically, if you’re dropping a 3 iron, start by testing the 4 hybrid. In addition, I found the 19-degree XR hybrid to launch nearly identically to the 20-degree XR Pro, albeit with less spin. I can’t help but think that was intentional on the part of the Callaway engineers.

Again, I’d like to see both models with the same array of shafts, as some might look at the stock shaft in the XR and presume the club is geared toward slower-swinging or less demanding players. This simply isn’t true.

The Numbers

Head: Callaway XR (19 degrees)
Shaft: Project X LZ (Stiff)

  • Average Ball Speed: 145 mph
  • Average Backspin: 5400 rpm
  • Average Launch Angle 22 degrees
  • Average Carry Distance (at 5000 feet): 237 yards
  • Estimated Carry Distance at Sea Level: 214 yards

Head: Callaway XR Pro (20 degrees)
Shaft: Project X LZ Pro 6.0 (Stock)

  • Average Ball Speed: 145
  • Average Backspin: 5100 RPM
  • Average Launch Angle 21.5 degrees
  • Average Carry Distance (at 5000 feet): 239 yards
  • Estimated Carry Distance at Sea Level: 215 yards

Gamer Head: Callaway Alpha 815 (20 degrees)
Gamer Shaft: Veylix Rome 988 (Stiff)

  • Average Ball Speed 143.8 MPH
  • Average Backspin 4975 RPM
  • Average Launch Angle 19 degrees
  • Average Carry Distance (at 5000 feet): 238 yards
  • Estimated Carry Distance at Sea Level: 215 yards

The Takeaway

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Callaway’s XR Hybrids received top ratings for distance and forgiveness on GolfWRX’s 2015 Gear Trials: Best Hybrids List.

The XR and XR Pro hybrids from Callaway, with apologies to Tina Turner, are “simply the best” — at least for me. The lone shortcoming is a lack of adjustability, and depending on where you fall on this topic that may not be a significant weakness.

In describing the XR series, one quickly runs short of superlatives. Selecting either model as an upgrade to what’s currently in your bag is akin to throwing a rock into the ocean and hoping it gets wet. It’s nearly a can’t-miss proposition.

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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!

18 Comments

18 Comments

  1. Pingback: GolfWRX: XR Fairway Woods and Hybrids Are “The Best of The Best” – Callaway Golf News and Media

  2. Bert

    May 31, 2016 at 5:51 pm

    Thanks for the article and your experience. It comes stock with the Project X but I believe I’d like the Fubuki better, any thoughts? Doesn’t the Fubuki have a little softer feel?

  3. Kurren

    Nov 4, 2015 at 4:12 am

    Hey Chris, the Pro got very similar numbers to the Alpha. Which would you say is more forgiving?

  4. Julian

    Sep 23, 2015 at 3:34 pm

    I love this club. Get high launch low spin and very forgiving. It is my go to club when I need to hit a fairway and hit it 220-230.

  5. Ray

    May 14, 2015 at 3:11 pm

    XR hybrids are great looking and are a very forgiving club with power. I just wish they came with better looking headcover than the cheap ones they came with.

  6. Aren

    May 14, 2015 at 4:36 am

    Thanks for a great review. As I commented in another posting on Golf Wrx, I am not a good hybrid player. That did not stop me from trying to game them and my last attempt was the G30 2 and 3 hybrids. Worked well for a while and then the dreaded hooks (my normal miss) came back. On the strength of the Golf WRX review of the best hybrids, I went and tested (I always demo a club at an outdoors driving range) the XR Pro hybrids. I was hitting the XR Pro 3 hybrid as far as the G30 2 hybrid and with a soft draw. Bought the XR Pro 3 and 4 hybrid to replace my 3 and 4 irons (Titleist AP2). So far so good and for the first time in a long time I am comfortable gaming a hybrid. Only problem now is the distance gap between my 4 hybrid and my 5 iron as the 4 hybrid is easily 15 yards longer than the 4 iron. Thinking of putting the 4 iron back in the bag and taking the 52* degree gap wedge out to make place for the 4 iron. Although I play to a 1.8 handicap, my driver swing speed is in the mid 90’s, so I don’t think one necessarily need a fast swing speed to game the XR Pro. Thank you again for a great review.

    • Chris

      May 14, 2015 at 10:26 am

      Thanks for the comments! My only thought would be if the the hybrid is flying a bit far and you want to keep the 52* in the bag, there’s nothing wrong with griping down 1/2″ when needed to take a bit off – Just an idea! Glad you enjoy the clubs and play well!

  7. Michael

    May 14, 2015 at 2:03 am

    Thanks for a great review.

    Any comparisons against the X Hot 2 hybrids?
    I use them now and would upgrade of there was a significant difference in forgiveness.

    • Chris

      May 14, 2015 at 10:16 am

      I can’t say there’s a significant difference…but it really matters where you need the forgiveness…If you’re dialed into the X Hot 2 and are getting great numbers/performance, the XR isn’t necessarily going to give you better numbers – That said, it will likely be a little higher launching and slightly lower spinning – If those attributes are something that could help your game, then the XR is certainly worth a test drive.

  8. Matt

    May 13, 2015 at 8:12 pm

    I am still using the most popular hybrid made, yes Adams but I do like and am intrigued by your review. I will have to demo one of these most likely one to replace my 5 iron preferably 23 degrees but since they do not offer that would you say 25 degrees is close enough to give it a try?

    • Chris

      May 13, 2015 at 10:59 pm

      Can’t knock Adams – They’ve had some really awesome hybrids over the years and if you took a look in my garage, you’d certainly see several XTDs in there!

      Yes, I’d give the 25* a run – Because of the spin characteristics, going up a bit in loft certainly isn’t going to hurt you – If it does, you can always bend it open or go down in loft. Thanks for the read!

  9. Matt Wiseley

    May 13, 2015 at 4:22 pm

    Chris,
    Unlike some people on this site, I read all reviews and appreciate the opinions of those writing them. I already own the xr 19* and absolutely love it. I am a 4 and hadn’t carried a hybrid in years due to my ability to hit irons. At the end of the day this went into my bag because it filled a gap for me and is easier to hit than a 5 wood.
    Great review

    • Chris

      May 13, 2015 at 11:00 pm

      Thanks Matt! Appreciate the read and the comments!

  10. rer4136

    May 13, 2015 at 1:47 pm

    It would be all but impossible to write a one size fits all review. There are so many different and unconventional swings that a reviewer couldn’t possibly address them all. The best bet is a demo day trial of a club even though most golfer’s practice swing isn’t like the course swing. It’s a gamble a best. Every time I read a review I don’t run out and buy the club. It is just like a consumers report on cars in that it reflects the opinion of the writer.

    • Chris

      May 13, 2015 at 2:18 pm

      Absolutely – and hopefully the writer does what they can to try and articulate how they feel the club performed for them, but also how they feel it’s likely to be received by the masses. Thanks for the read!

  11. Howard Smith

    May 13, 2015 at 9:32 am

    The owner of WRX has said that one off reviews are useless basically and the head writer has said that data is a disservice to the readers.

    So question is, why continue to do these one-off reviews and why provide data that is useless in your own words?

    • Chris

      May 13, 2015 at 2:31 pm

      I don’t think it’s fair or justified to make such blanket statements about reviews. Hopefully, my reviews give you place to start and if you have swing characteristics similar to mine, that’s great. If not, hopefully you can glean from them whatever you can an go from there. If you have constructive feedback – I’m all ears. By the way, I never stated that data is useless when reviewing clubs – It has a time, a place and a purpose- so I’m not sure where you’re getting information as it’s certainly not correct.

    • Mike

      May 13, 2015 at 4:46 pm

      Why would you write that? Did you think he was going to read your post and then just delete the article?

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Hybrid Reviews

2015 Gear Trials: Best Hybrids

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Following the trend of new drivers and fairway woods, hybrid clubs have become much lower spinning than their predecessors in recent years. It’s a change that has widened their target audience from golfers looking to replace their long irons with clubs that fly higher and stop quicker on the greens, to… just about any golfer.

How do you know if you should consider a new hybrid? If you’ve ever wished that your current long irons or hybrids carried farther, that’s a pretty good indication that an updated model could be good for your game.

Our 2015 Gear Trials: Best Hybrids are plenty long, but they’re also very forgiving. So even if you’re not interested in hitting your clubs farther, you could still find more consistency from one of the six models below.

The Winners

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The clubs and subsequent ratings were selected by our Gear Trials Panel, six of the top-rated custom golf clubs fitters in the world. Our 2015 Gear Trials Panel includes:

Learn more about our Gear Trials: Best Clubs Lists

The Ratings

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While reviewing each of the 2015 Best Hybrids below, remember the purpose of the clubs. They bridge the gap between a golfer’s shortest fairway wood and the longest iron they can hit consistently. Some golfers can make that transition without a hybrid, while others may need several hybrids.

The best way to learn if a hybrid is good for you, or how many hybrids you might need, is to go through a professional fitting — but if that’s not an option for you, you can use our rating to your advantage. The hybrids that scored highest in our Distance Ratings tend to work best for golfers looking to shed spin, while the clubs that score high in our Forgiveness Ratings tend to be more consistent on mishits.

Along with our six winners, we’ve also listed three lower-spinning alternatives: Callaway’s XR Pro, TaylorMade’s AeroBurner TP and Titleist’s 915Hd. These clubs will work best for a smaller percentage of golfers than our six best hybrids, but they’re fueled by the same technologies as our winners.

Note: The list below is in alphabetical order.

Callaway Big Bertha

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  • Headsize: 126cc (3 hybrid)
  • Adjustable Hosel: Yes, 3-degree range
  • Price: $249.99

You might be surprised to see Callaway’s Big Bertha hybrids, which were released alongside the company’s Big Bertha irons in the Fall of 2014, make our list. If so, you probably haven’t hit them.

[quote_box_center]”The Big Bertha is hard to miss,” said one of our Gear Trials Panelists. [/quote_box_center]

The reason to play a Big Bertha hybrid over the higher-rated XR hybrids are:

  1. Their larger size, which makes them appear more fairway wood-like than any other hybrid on this list.
  2. They’re adjustable, which allows golfers to dial in the exact loft and lie angle they need to get the most out of the clubs.

Like the XR hybrids, the Big Bertha hybrids use Callaway’s Hyper Speed Face cups to boost their ball speeds and forgiveness. They’re slightly higher-spinning than the XR, however, which will work very well for their target audience of slower swing speed golfers. But higher swing speed players shouldn’t count them out — particularly the 3 hybrid when adjusted to 18 degrees.

The Big Bertha hybrids are offered in lofts of 19, 22, 25, 28 and 32 degrees.

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Callaway XR

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  • Headsize: 122cc (3 hybrid)
  • Adjustable Hosel: No
  • Price: $219.99

Callaway’s XR is likely the longest hybrid on this list, receiving the highest possible rating of 10 in distance, and thanks to Callaway’s slick engineering, it also ties for first in forgiveness (9.5) with Ping’s G30 hybrid.

[quote_box_center]”This should be the first hybrid you test,” said one of our Gear Trials Panelists. [/quote_box_center]

Like Callaway’s XR fairway woods, the XR hybrids set themselves apart from the competition with a mid-sized club head that offers a high launch, relatively low spin and more forgiveness than its predecessors. They’re offered in lofts of 19, 22, 25 and 28 degrees.

Our lone request for 2016: Can you make future models adjustable, Callaway?

Want a more iron-like hybrid? Callaway’s XR Pro hybrids ($229.99) measure a slim 98cc at 20 degrees, and offer a lower-spinning trajectory that many better players prefer from their hybrids. They’re offered in lofts of 16, 18, 20 and 23 degrees, but we recommend the 20- and 23-degree models in particular as 3- and 4-iron replacements. We wouldn’t be surprised if you carried them as far, if not farther, than your older, lower-lofted hybrids

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Cobra Fly-Z

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  • Headsize: 105cc (3-4 hybrid)
  • Adjustable Hosel: Yes, 4-degree range
  • Price: $199.99

Cobra’s Fly-Z hybrid is sized like a better-player hybrid, but packs the forgiveness we’d expect from a larger model. That’s thanks to its rearward center of gravity (CG), which boosts consistency.

[quote_box_center]”Fly-Z, like [Cobra’s] Bio Cell last year, will still perform for the average player,” said one of our Gear Trials Panelists. [/quote_box_center]

If you’re a high-spin player, however, the Fly-Z might not be for you. It’s one of the highest-spinning models on this list, which is the reason for its relatively low Distance Rating (8).

Like the Fly-Z fairway woods, the strength of the Fly-Z hybrids is their versatility. They’re offered in three models: a 2-3 hybrid that adjusts from 16-19 degrees, a 3-4 hybrid that adjusts from 19-22 degrees and a 4-5 hybrid that adjusts from 22-25 degrees. Its wide-ranging adjustability is a great tool to have if you need to fill a specific yardage gap in your bag.

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Ping G30

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  • Headsize: 110cc
  • Adjustable Hosel: No
  • Price: $229.99

[quote_box_center]”G30 gets the ball up in the air easy, and is on par with the G25 with slightly more ease to height,” said one of our Gear Trials Panelists.”[/quote_box_center]

The G30 hybrids use a new heat-treated 17-4 stainless steel face that boosts their characteristic time (CT), a measure of spring-like effect, 20 points higher than the G25 hybrids. They’re still not as long as other hybrids on this list, but they offer a noticeable improvement in ball speed over past G-Series hybrids, and with their similar trajectory that means they’ll likely carry a few yards farther for most golfers.

There’s no turbulators on the G30 hybrids, due to their smaller, more aerodynamic size, but the shape of the hybrids was tweaked from the G25 to include a flatter top rail and a higher heel section that gives them a more square appearance at address. We like the look, and see it as a change that will be enjoyed by the majority of golfers.

We wish the G30 hybrids were adjustable, but they are offered in five lofts: 17, 19, 22, 26 and 30 degrees. The higher-lofted models, because of the G30’s higher-spinning nature, are great for golfers looking for more stopping power on the greens, while the 17-degree model will be enjoyed by better players seeking a replacement for a pesky driving iron or a troublesome 4 or 5 wood.

TaylorMade AeroBurner

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  • Headsize: 112cc (19 degrees)
  • Adjustable Hosel: No
  • Price: $229.99

What the AeroBurner lacks in forgiveness, it makes up for in horsepower. Golfers may or may not be able to hit it as far as Callaway’s XR, but the AeroBurner offers a unique shape that’s intriguing for those who haven’t found much success with traditional hybrid shapes. It’s also one of the highest-launching, if not the highest-launching hybrid on this list.

The calling card of the AeroBurner, however, is speed — from its Aerodynamic crown shape and its lighter weight, which will convert to more swing speed and more distance for some golfers. The AeroBurner hybrids are not adjustable, but they are available in lofts of 19, 22, 25 and 28 degrees.

Need more fade bias? TaylorMade’s AeroBurner TP hybrids ($269.99) offer golfers a more traditionally weighted hybrid. They’re the same size as the standard versions, but come with heavier heads and shafts that tend to give better players more control over trajectory. They also have a 2-degree flatter lie angle and a 1-degree more upright face angle that will please golfers who have struggled with the hybrid hooks in the past. They’re available in lofts of 19 and 22 degrees.

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Titleist 915H

geartrials_slider_titleist915H

  • Headsize: 118cc
  • Adjustable Hosel: Yes, 2.25-degree range
  • Price: $249.99

Looks aren’t a factor in our Best Hybrids list ratings, but if they were, Titleist’s 915H would likely be the winner.

The 915H’s pear-shaped head is large enough to inspire confidence, but not too large as to limit versatility. While the 915H is not the longest hybrid on this list, or the most forgiving, it’s great in both areas, and offers noticeably more ball speed than previous hybrids from Titleist thanks to the company’s new Active Recoil Channel — a deep slot that extends across the entirety of the club face. For that reason, we recommend trying a higher-lofted version of your current hybrid, if you carry one.

Titleist’s 915H is fully adjustable, and is available in lofts of 18, 21, 24 and 27 degrees. It comes stock with the best selection of stock shafts on this list: four “real deal” models from Aldila and Mitsubishi Rayon that are available in a wide range of weights, bend points and flexes.

Need less spin? Titleist’s 915Hd ($249.99) offers the same technology as the 915H hybrids, and is roughly 100-200 rpm lower spinning. It also has a slightly smaller club head (107cc) that many better players will prefer. The 915Hd hybrids are offered in lofts of 17.5, 20.5 and 23.5 degrees. We recommend the 20.5-degree model as a 3-iron replacement for better players looking for more carry distance and consistency.

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Hybrid Reviews

Review: Taylormade R15 and AeroBurner Hybrids

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Pros: The R15 and AeroBurner hybrids offer faster ball speeds and more distance than the SLDR or JetSpeed hybrids.

Cons: The smaller, peanut-shaped R15 might turn some golfers away who like to see more meat behind the ball. Like the driver and fairway woods, the AeroBurner offers no adjustability.

Who are they for: The R15 is aimed at better players looking for a more compact hybrid that still delivers fast ball speeds across the face. The AeroBurner is aimed at any golfer looking for more forgiveness and more ball speed from their hybrid, even on slight mishits.

The Review

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The moment you pick up an R15 hybrid, you’ll know that this club was built for versatility. The smaller, tour-inspired shape is designed to maximize playability from virtually any lie. I found the club to be equally good from tight lies, off a tee and out of the rough.

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At Address: A TaylorMade R15 hybrid (19 degrees).

The smaller shape, which better players will appreciate, sets up square behind the ball and like the fairway woods, feels like you’ve got a powerful, precision mallet in your hands. Even with the smaller footprint, an open channel at the front of the sole increases ball speeds across the face.

Like other hybrids on the market with adjustable hosels, the R15 also has a 3-degree loft sleeve, which allows golfers to optimize launch conditions. The standard setting promotes a neutral ball flight, something I confirmed during testing.

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The AeroBurner Rescue is a blend of performance and forgiveness. Like the other AeroBurner metal woods, the Rescue has an aerodynamic shape with a raised center crown, the company’s new hosel fin, and a low, forward center of gravity, all working together to deliver maximum speed and distance.

The sweet spot is up to twice as large as previous models thanks to an improved Speed Pocket and Thru-Slot technology, according to TaylorMade, and instead of trying to gain clubhead speed with a longer shaft, the AeroBurner hybrids actually have a shaft that is 0.5-inches shorter the company’s previous hybrids, which will give most golfers more control.

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At Address: TaylorMade’s AeroBurner Hybrid (22 degrees).

Unlike the R15, the Aeroburner Rescue is also available in 5 (25 degrees) and 6 (28 degrees), giving golfers the freedom to drop their 4, 5, and 6 irons from the bag and replace them with more forgiving and easier-to-hit clubs. Even if you want to keep your 4 and 5 irons in the bag, the AeroBurner might fill that gap giving you the chance to hit shots you might never have tried before.

Testing

To this point, I’ve been split between the R15 and AeroBurner metal woods, with the R15 driver and AeroBurner fairway woods performing the best for me during testing. As I always do, I started the testing at the driving range. Just as I saw with the fairway woods, the launch angle, distance and peak height of both clubs appeared to be slightly higher than my current gamer. This time however, the R15 was the stand out. The feel at impact, a stable, neutral-to-slight-draw shot shape, and good distance was exactly what I was hoping to see.

That said, the AeroBurner didn’t disappoint. The flight was slightly higher and with more draw bias, but the distance was extremely close.

Unfortunately the weather has been hit or miss in Georgia, so I had to complete my launch monitor testing indoors. I headed to Golfsmith Extreme in Smyrna, Ga., where I tested the R15 and AeroBurner hybrids with a GC2 launch monitor and an Ernest Sports ES14 Doppler-based launch monitor simultaneously using premium golf balls. To get comparison data, I also tested TaylorMade’s SLDR and JetSpeed hybrids from 2014.

The Numbers

R15_Chart
Launch monitor testing confirmed my initial impressions on the driving range that the R15 was outperforming the AeroBurmer, but not by much. In fact, the margin between these clubs when you look at the numbers alone is razor-sharp.

The R15 produced 1 mph more ball speed and 1 more yard of carry on average over the AeroBurner, with slightly more spin and a slightly lower launch. The shot shape bias was neutral to a slight draw, which is what I was expecting. The AeroBurner on the other hand, produced consistent draws for me.

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The R15 hybrid has a 3-degree adjustable hosel, allowing golfers to dial in launch, spin rate and trajectory bias.

While the margin between the R15 and AeroBurner was extremely close, both clubs outperformed the SLDR and Jetspeed hybrids. The R15 was 5 yards longer than the SLDR and 6 yards longer than the JetSpeed. Looking at the best shots with all the clubs, the longest during the testing session came with the R15 — even though the SLDR and JetSpeed produced very similar ball speeds.

Distance isn’t the only reason we should buy a golf club, and with the R15 and AeroBuner hybrids producing similar numbers, I also wanted to look at the consistency of the two clubs. I did this in two ways.

First, I assessed the dispersion of the shots. In this case, the AeroBuner edged out the R15 with a slightly tighter dispersion, albeit further left of target.

Second, I took a look at the difference between the best shot and the average shots of the clubs. We all love stomping on a shot that ends up flying further than we expect, but the majority of golfers, myself included, prefer reliability and consistency to the rare bomb. In this case, the R15 was more consistent than any of the 3 clubs in every category except spin and peak height, where the AeroBurner was slightly more consistent.

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We found the AeroBurner hybrid (above) to be slightly more forgiving than the R15 hybrid.

With more consistent distance, a compact and versatile head shape, and the ability to adjust the loft with the 3-degree loft sleeve, the R15 rescue has found a place in my bag. That said, the AeroBurner Rescue also comes in a TP version which has a flatter lie angle and a slightly more open face, which might give the R15 a run for its money.

[wrx_buy_now oemlink=”http://taylormadegolf.com/AeroBurner-Rescue/DW-WZ206.html#start=3″ oemtext=”Buy the AeroBurner hybrid from TaylorMade” amazonlink=”http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B00QLVP7AU/ref=as_li_qf_sp_asin_il_tl?ie=UTF8&camp=1789&creative=9325&creativeASIN=B00QLVP7AU&linkCode=as2&tag=golfwrxcom-20&linkId=I37VEEWUWBLIISTJ”]

The Takeaway

The R15 hybrids have a 3-degree Loft Sleeve and come in lofts of 17, 19, 21 and 24 degrees. The stock shaft is Fujikura’s Speeder 77 Evolution hybrid (X, S, R and M Flexes). A TP version is also available for $279 with Fujikura’s Speeder 869 Evolution Tour Spec shaft.

The AeroBurner hybrids ($199) are offered in the following models: 3 (19 degrees) 4 (22 degrees), 5 (25 degrees) and 6 (28 degrees).

For the better player looking for versatility from a classically-shaped club, the R15 is a great option. The larger, more forgiving AeroBurner is an excellent choice for golfers looking to maximize forgiveness.

Also, for those golfers looking to replace their long irons with hybrids, the AeroBurner will allow you the consistency to play the same model hybrid from your 3 all the way to your 6-hybrid.

[wrx_buy_now oemlink=”http://taylormadegolf.com/R15-Rescue/DW-WZ150.html#start=1″ oemtext=”Buy the R15 hybrid from TaylorMade” amazonlink=”http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B00QLVM1JK/ref=as_li_qf_sp_asin_il_tl?ie=UTF8&camp=1789&creative=9325&creativeASIN=B00QLVM1JK&linkCode=as2&tag=golfwrxcom-20&linkId=HZKLNWIIIMZAKKNW”]

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Hybrid Reviews

Review: Srixon ZH45 Hybrids

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Pros: An awesome all-around performer. Top-tier ball speeds.

Cons: Not adjustable. Highest loft is 22 degrees.

Who’s it for: Most hybrid players, and those who don’t know that they are hybrid players yet.

The Review

There are going to be a ton of people who overlook this hybrid. Don’t be one of them.

Because of its calm exterior demeanor and lack of mass company recognition, this club in particular (and the entire Z Series, in general) is likely to kick it on the fringe new equipment discussions for a fair bit. That said, this might be the sleeper of the entire lineup.

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For all the quantitative analysis we like to do and readers like to see, sometimes you have to give some credit to the “it” factor. Srixon’s ZH45 doesn’t have the adjustability golfers have gotten used to (there’s not any adjustability at all, actually) and the two stock shaft options — a 70-gram Mitsubishi KuroKage HBP and an 80-gram Kuro Kage Black — will leave gear heads wanting more. But if your bottom line is performance, this club has it.

To start, Srixon got the size of this hybrid right. It won’t be mistaken for a fairway wood, nor is it a mini hybrid that is often as hard to hit as they long iron it is supposed to replace. It’s right in the middle.

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The ZH45 hybrid’s ball flight, on the other hand, is not so average. It launches on the high side, but spins on the low side — exactly what most golfers want when they upgrade this spot in their bag. And the ball speed is plentiful.

The styling of the ZH45 is decidedly JDM. The clean, obfuscated top line matches nicely with the full-face scoring lines and the dramatically plain glossy black head. The technology is well concealed and the sound/feel are best described as stable and substantial.

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A 19-degree Srixon ZH45 at address.

The hybrids (MSRP $229.99) are available in three lofts: 16, 19 and 22. If you don’t like the look of fairway woods, or have had bad experiences with them, the 16-degree is a good one to try. But most golfers will want to take a few swings with the 19 and 22-degree models, which work wonderfully as 3-iron and 4-iron replacements.

As you’ll see in the data below, the ZH45 was as long, and actually a bit longer than my gamer in its off-the-rack specs. That said, hybrids aren’t entirely about distance. Their purpose is to fulfill a specific yardage requirement and offer the player an alternative to either a long iron or fairway wood. The ZH45 does both.

The Numbers

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Srixon ZH45 (19 degrees with Kuro Kage HBP 70X)

  • Average Ball Speed 148 MPH
  • Average Swing Speed 101 MPH
  • Average Backspin 4325 RPM
  • Average Launch Angle 18 degrees
  • Average Carry Distance (5000 ft.) 251 yards

TaylorMade RBS Stage 2 (19 degrees with Aldila ATX Tour Blue 85X)

  • Average Ball Speed 147 MPH
  • Average Swing Speed 100 MPH
  • Average Backspin 4500 RPM
  • Average Launch Angle 17 degrees
  • Average Carry Distance (5000 ft.) 247 yards

The Takeaway

We wish they had some of the carry overs from the Z Series drivers and fairway woods — adjustable hosels to tweak and face angle, an adjustable sole weight to adjust swing weight — but those things can be overlooked when a company nails looks, sound and feel, as Srixon did here.

A lot of golfers I know seem to always be on a search for a club or two that will fill the gap between their shortest fairway wood and longest iron. Srixon’s ZH45 will be an unlikely candidate for those unfamiliar with the brand, but once they hit the ZH45 they could find themselves seeking out Srixon for their next purchase.

[wrx_buy_now oemlink=”http://srixon.com/clubs/h45-hybrid/” oemtext=”Buy it from Srixon” amazonlink=”http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B00NRM0QH0/ref=as_li_qf_sp_asin_il_tl?ie=UTF8&camp=1789&creative=9325&creativeASIN=B00NRM0QH0&linkCode=as2&tag=golfwrxcom-20&linkId=Y5YKLFBEO3AMP5XZ”]

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