Every manufacturer is claiming huge distance gains with their new irons and Callaway is no exception. In this case, their claims are very close to reality, but not quite. Claiming a full club increase in distance would be huge but in comparison to last years X2 Hot and X2 Hot Pro, it is maybe a half a club. Our testers compared 6 irons for both models against the respective models of the X2 Hot and X2 Hot Pro. The distance comes from an increase in smash factor (efficiency of club speed to ball speed), which means a hotter face and slightly lower spin. Of course, all of our testing is done with the iron head matched to a shaft that matches our testers so we take that variable out of the equation.
The new XR line appears to have a slightly thicker top line but no big deal as the satin finish makes it appear smaller. Sound is a little “tinnier”, especially on toe shots. The biggest improvement our testers saw, in addition to the half-club distance increase, was tighter dispersion, especially on off-center hits. That is where the true advantage to the thinner face comes in since Callaway was able to move more weight to the perimeter of the club to improve MOI and reduce loss of distance and direction on miss-hits. All in all, our tester thought this was a very worthy replacement for the popular X2 Hot. If you have not upgraded your irons in say, the last 4 years and are looking for a solid improvement in both distance and accuracy, you ought to give the XR a shot.