Long and Forgiving: Callaway's New XR OS Irons
12 Jan 2016
by Rusty Cage

see also: Equipment Reviews

Easier to hit and more forgiving XR OS iron from Callaway
Easier to hit and more forgiving XR OS iron from Callaway

There’s no such thing as an iron for everyone. But Callaway believes they have in their new high-launching, very forgiving XR OS irons a set of clubs that will make the game easier and more enjoyable for recreational players looking to hit longer and more accurate golf shots.

Callaway re-examined their first- generation XR iron which they released a little over a year ago and felt they could leverage additional improvements in ball speed more effectively over the previous offering without radically changing the iron chassis. Technically, the new XR OS is an oversized iron that most golfers would classify as a super game improvement club, but the new irons do retain much of the same design philosophy that made the originals a success among mid- handicappers.

“The advantage of having one more year of R&D between two irons has led to improvements in ball speed from the face cup,” said Dr. Alan Hocknell, Senior VP of R&D at Callaway. “The face of an XR OS iron isn’t particularly any larger than a regular XR iron but we’ve been able to work on the way we were able to thin out the material within certain parts of the face and in the areas around the edge of the face.”

Callaway's industry-leading Forged 
Face Cup
Callaway's industry-leading Forged Face Cup

Re-engineering the face to improve ball speeds across a larger surface area is only part of the story. Callaway also restructured the design of the head to give the XR OS irons more back-weighting to improve forgiveness while simultaneously lowering the center of gravity to allow golfers to hit their irons (especially the low and mid-irons) a little higher.

The new XR OS irons will appeal especially to those players who prefer to play a combo set of irons or are simply looking for better gapping options. The loft and length progression in the set has been adjusted to improve gapping and distance so that you don’t have situations where a player hits two different long irons nearly identical distances.

CG is low and back to improve MOI
CG is low and back to improve MOI

“We actually added loft in certain irons but at the same time increased shaft length,” said Hocknell. “That takes that power of a higher COR in the cup face and effectively increases carry distance for all types of golfers. So for the ones who struggle to get the ball airborne there’s an advantage in that these irons are easier to hit. And for those who struggle with gapping, there’s an advantage in that we’ve focused more on carry distance through separation of the irons using both length and loft together.”

As mentioned before, the XR OS irons are an ideal set for anyone looking to substitute the new XR OS hybrids in place of the longer irons. Hocknell has said that the progressive design in the XR OS irons allows for a much smoother transition between the longest iron a golfer chooses to play and the first hybrid in the set since the performance characteristics are very similar.

TPU Material in the head improves 
TPU Material in the head improves feel

From a product-positioning standpoint, the XR OS irons will fill the gap between Callaway’s Apex CF 16 and Apex Pro 16 set designed for highly-skilled players and the Big Bertha line which is intended to ease new golfers into the game.

"It’s not just for people with low head speed,” said Hocknell about the XR OS irons. “There are people with relatively high head speed, but who have difficulty hitting the ball straight - they need inertia benefits and center of gravity in the right position. Then there’s people who may have had higher ability in the past. They’ve been accustomed to being able to hit long irons and they want to be able to do that again and they’re not prepared to give that up and move into hybrids just yet.”

Features at a glance:

  • Industry-leading Face Cup features a new heat treatment process and better use of face material to improve ball speeds across a wider surface area.
  • Adjustments to head shape and design moves the center of gravity low and further back to increase launch and carry distance.
  • Progressive lengths and lofts throughout the set improve distance with each club while maintaining smoother transitions between hybrids and mid-irons.
  • Improved feedback and feel from a TPU-material that is fitted between the back of the head and the back of the face to filter out unwanted vibrations.

Callaway’s XR OS irons will be available for retail on January 22nd. The stock set will feature lofts from 4-iron through sand wedge. The irons will be priced at $799.99 for steel and $899.99 for graphite. The steel set is paired with a True Temper Speed Step 80 shaft. The graphite models comes stock with a Mitsubishi Fubuki AT shaft.

Callaway will also offer a combo set that retails for $899.99 (steel) and $999.99 (graphite). Female players can also order a set of XR OS irons tailored for their playing capabilities featuring wider soles, graphite shafts and lighter swing weights for added distance.

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