Callaway XR Pro Driver: AmateurGolf.com Staff Review
26 May 2015
by Rusty Cage

see also: Equipment Reviews

The aerodynamic Callaway XR Pro driver<br> blends speeds with forgiveness
The aerodynamic Callaway XR Pro driver
blends speeds with forgiveness

Built for outrageous speed. Perhaps. But I can think of at least a half dozen other superlatives better able to describe the Callaway XR Pro driver. Off the top of my head I would go with classic, efficient, cold-blooded and purposeful. Yes, I’m throwing around a lot of hyperbole, but there’s a lot to like about Callaway’s dark star.

Having had the opportunity to play several rounds with this club, I’ve come to the conclusion the XR Pro driver has all the right attributes that accomplished players look for. Yet the driver is forgiving enough, even if just barely, to tempt decent golfers to step up to the plate and give it a try.

The XR Pro driver is a slightly more compact, streamlined version of the regular XR driver. Similar in design, both clubs feature an ultra-hot face construction (R-Moto) that lets Callaway engineers remove weight from the face to increase ball speed from every impact location. R-Moto also allows Callaway to reposition the center of gravity. It’s low enough, especially on the XR Pro, to deliver low-spin numbers better ball-strikers look for, but the CG isn’t as low as Callaway’s competing Big Bertha 815 driver models. The end result is a driver that delivers a mid-launch, low-spin recipe while providing a more-than-reasonable level of playability for us mortals.

Keeping it simple: the XR Pro 
driver features a glare-free crown
Keeping it simple: the XR Pro driver
features a glare-free crown

Both XR driver models feature a visually subdued, matte-black crown. The smaller 440cc head on the XR Pro is more aerodynamically designed, and frankly, more pleasing to the eye. Unlike the Speed Step crown on the regular XR driver which features a pair of aerodynamic ribs or wings that blend into crown and work as an alignment aid, the pro driver is free from any and all embellishments. There’s no doubt the Speed Step crown offers a slight boost in ball speeds across the face, but I’ll gladly take a slight hit to performance for better aesthetics. And believe me, the crown is gorgeous. On a cloudless day, the finish absorbs the sun's rays like a black hole, reflecting nothing back.

It’s an old-school look and a welcome break from the high-tech and over-the-top design trends that are currently en vogue. In keeping with the back-to-basics approach, the XR Pro driver comes with a retro-looking leather head cover.

I ordered my driver with a stock Project X LZ Pro shaft. I selected the 6.0 (stiff flex) model which weighs 64 grams and cut a quarter inch off the standard 45.5 inch length. In retrospect I feel like I should’ve gone a full half inch shorter; nonetheless, the custom length allows me to have more control over the club. Or to borrow from some commonly overused jargon - to stay a little more on top of it.

Callaway's driver 
comes with a vintage-inspired leather 
Callaway's driver comes with
a vintage-inspired leather headcover

Project X LZ Pro is an excellent shaft and comes with a cool backstory. The "Hand Crafted" label is your first clue, indicating that there's nothing stock about this shaft other than the fact that Callaway gives it away with every XR Pro driver purchase.

Each Project X LZ shaft is made in limited numbers in their prototype lab in San Diego. Each shaft is hand rolled by a highly-skilled technician who ensures that every LZ shaft that leaves the facility is free from any inconsistencies that might more commonly occur in products shipped from high-volume, low-cost foundries. Essentially, Project X is replicating tour-van quality craftsmanship in bulk stock for the rest of us.

The XR Pro driver 
comes stock with the Project X LZ Pro shaft
The XR Pro driver comes stock
with the Project X LZ Pro shaft

The concept behind the LZ (Loading Zone) shaft is a soft mid section which is then reinforced with FlexLok torsional bands, a proprietary material you can actually feel when you run your fingers along the length of the shaft. FlexLok stabilizes torque in this zone, producing maximum shaft load and ball speed with total control.

The shaft I chose has a little firmer tip section compared to the LZ 5.0 model. It has a smooth feel throughout the swing and is pretty stable at impact. Visually, it’s a really good- looking shaft in a finish that mirrors the XR crown. If features a silver Project X logo and subtle weave background that reflects the light at certain angles. As a nice added touch, the flex, weight and torque are all uniquely lettered on the butt and tip sections of the shaft.

The Project X LZ Pro 
shaft is handcrafted in the United States in 
limited quantities
The Project X LZ Pro shaft is handcrafted
in the United States in limited quantities

In terms of performance, XR Pro driver is a lightweight (swing weight D3) model built for distance. Because of the low CG location, high swing-speed players will get more mileage out of the design than golfers like myself. Of course there’s more to performance than distance alone. And when evaluating any club under course conditions, aerodynamics and technological advancements are only part of the story. Golf is a game of confidence and a club has to look a certain way and feel right in a player’s hands.

The XR Pro driver fits my eye and the smaller head is easy to align at address. Shaping shots is not my forte, but I can easily produce a tight little draw with tons of runout so long as I stay within myself. The only time I ever get in trouble is when I reach back and try to put something extra on it. When that happens, I tend to block it - sometimes severely.

To its credit, the driver really does maintain surprisingly good ball speeds even on shots struck near the heel or toe. Unfortunately, driver technology hasn’t reached the point where the average recreational player can expect to rip it like Gary Woodland with no consequence to accuracy. That being said, the XR Pro is one of the best-looking driver offerings Callaway has produced in recent years and is a worthwhile investment for better players who are looking for distance and low spin in a (mostly) forgiving package.

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