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
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.
simple: the XR Pro driver
features a glare-free
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
Callaway's driver comes with
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.
Pro driver comes stock
with the Project X LZ
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.
Project X LZ Pro shaft is handcrafted
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
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.