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

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  1. 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?

  2. 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.

    • 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!

    • 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.

  3. 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?

    • 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!

  4. 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

  5. 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.

    • 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!

  6. 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?

    • 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.

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