Callaway XR Speed Driver

Would the new XR Speed outperform the outgoing XR16? We found out...

Callaway XR Speed Driver Review
Golf Monthly Verdict

While we struggled to control the clubface at times, but our clubhead speed did increase over XR 16 and slower swingers will certainly get the benefits from the lightweight feel more, while everyone will love the distance and forgiveness on offer from a modern-day driver coming in at under £350.

Reasons to buy
  • +

    Much improved looks over previous XR drivers and with the performance to match. Very good all-rounder considering the modest price tag.

Reasons to avoid
  • -

    Lightweight feel may reduce control of the clubface for some.

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Callaway XR Speed Driver Review - GM Technical Editor Joel Tadman tests the new XR Speed up against the outgoing XR16 driver to see if the performance has improved

Callaway XR Speed Driver Review

Aimed at The Callaway XR Speed driver is aimed at golfers with slow and moderate swing speeds for whom a lighter feel may increase club speed for added distance.

Key technology Callaway claim the new XR Speed is its longest and most forgiving XR or ‘non-jailbreak’ driver to date thanks to the introduction of a host of innovations, like a new X Face VFT (Variable Face Thickness) and a Speed Step near the face as well as some new shaft offerings. The new carbon composite crown is 45 per cent lighter than that on the previous XR16 for improved forgiveness and efficiency.

How we tested We hit the XR Speed in both the stock Project X Hzrdus and our custom-fitted Aldila Rogue shaft indoors to gather GCQuad launch monitor data as well as on the course.

callaway-xr-speed-testing-web

GM Review

Looks The XR Speed has a much more cutting-edge aesthetic with the blue carbon fibre crown with red trim, Speed Step at the front and slick graphics underneath as well as the trademark rounded Callaway profile. This all contributes to a driver that is easy to align and looks forgiving behind the ball.

Callaway XR-Speed-driver-address

Performance When testing against the previous XR16 Pro, the XR Speed delivered faster ball speed, 300rpm lower spin on a stronger ball flight and eight-yard-longer carries on average but it wasn’t quite as accurate overall.

This might be down to the lighter feel, which for many will take some time to adjust to but in the long run, clubface control should improve depending on your tempo. Golfers should also factor in the added forgiveness over XR16, helping mishits fly straighter and with less of a loss of distance.

Callaway XR Speed v XR16 data

The XR Speed is certainly a considerable improvement over the XR16 driver. It looks far more pleasing and interesting to the eye, feels and sounds significantly more explosive and has the added performance to back it up.

It’s a very user-friendly offering that the majority of handicaps, after a shaft/loft fitting, will be able to get on with straight away. For us, it didn’t quite reach the heights of the Rogue family, but it was only a few yards short and felt just as solid.

Joel Tadman
Technical Editor

Joel has worked in the golf industry for over 12 years covering both instruction and more recently equipment. He now oversees all product content here at Golf Monthly, managing a team of talented and passionate writers and presenters in delivering the most thorough and accurate reviews, buying advice, comparisons and deals to help the reader find exactly what they are looking for. So whether it's the latest driver, irons, putter or laser rangefinder, Joel has his finger on the pulse keeping up to date with the latest releases in golf. He is also responsible for all content on irons and golf tech, including distance measuring devices and launch monitors.


One of his career highlights came when covering the 2012 Masters he got to play the sacred Augusta National course on the Monday after the tournament concluded, shooting a respectable 87 with just one par and four birdies. To date, his best ever round of golf is a 5-under 67 back in 2011. He currently plays his golf at Burghley Park Golf Club in Stamford, Lincs, with a handicap index of 3.3.


Joel's current What's In The Bag? 

Driver: Titleist TSR3, 9° 

Fairway wood: Titleist TSR3, 15° 

Hybrid: Titleist TSi2, 18° 

Irons: TaylorMade P770, 4-7 iron, TaylorMade P7MC 8-PW 

Wedges: Titleist Vokey SM8, 50°, 54° and a Titleist Vokey SM9 60° lob wedge 

Putter: Evnroll ER2V 

Ball: 2021 Titleist Pro V1x