Callaway XR Package Set Review
In this Callaway XR package set review, Neil Tappin takes a look at the performance on offer both on the course and on the range
An outstanding package set that offers high levels of performance from driver to putter. In particular, we loved how easy to hit the irons and woods were.
Premium, user-friendly aesthetics
Easy to hit through the set
Some may prefer a more specialist-looking wedge
Package sets are often a good option for those golfers who want to remove the headache associated with buying a full set of clubs. The idea is that with just one payment, you get everything you need for the course. Featuring a range of the brand’s technologies, Callaway’s XR offering sits towards the premium end of the package set market. We wanted to see whether it was one of the best golf club sets out there, so I recently tested it on the golf course and at the range to find out.
The first thing to cover is what you get for your money. There are 12 clubs in total ranging from driver to putter. The version I tested featured a 10.5˚ driver, 3-wood and 4-hybrid, then 5-iron to pitching wedge followed by a gap wedge, 55˚ sand wedge and a putter. From a gapping perspective, this composition makes perfect sense and for most golfers, this line-up is more than enough to get you onto the course. The well thought out gapping and performance of these clubs earn it a place in our 2023 Editor's Choice awards.
I’m going to start by focussing on the woods. Having tested a range of package sets, including the excellent TaylorMade RBZ SpeedLite, over the last year, this is the part of the bag where performance can be a little patchy. Even in the best golf club sets for beginners, the woods can sometimes feel a little dull and lifeless. That’s not the case here.
All the woods feature matte black crowns and are shaped to look generous down behind the ball. They all have a smart, aspirational aesthetic that isn’t too dissimilar to the Callaway Rogue ST woods. The driver sits a little closed at address and whilst that’s not necessarily right for me, in designing a set to suit a broad spectrum of golfers, Callaway has done exactly the right thing here. It was easy to flight and I was able to hit a consistent draw. Whilst the distance on offer wouldn’t be quite up there with my PING G430 LST driver, it wasn’t too far behind.
Both the 3-wood and hybrid retain that generous, confidence inspiring footprint down behind the ball. I found these very easy to flight too which many golfers - especially those with slower clubhead speeds - will likely benefit from.
That the Callaway XR is a good quality, premium package set is also clear as soon as you see the irons. The shape is unmistakably Callaway - there is a fairly rounded toe area and the topline is thick enough to inspire confidence without being too bulky and uninviting. I hit a series of mid iron shots on the range and found them incredibly consistent. The distance was good too given the strength of the lofts - the 7-iron is 30˚, which is about average in today’s iron market.
Another impressive performer is the putter. It is an Odyssey DFX #7 with a very simple black and white colour combination. What I love most about the putter is, again, how generous the head size is. There is plenty of alignment help to be had and yet the putter retains an aspirational look. I also love the feel from the soft grip that’s been used here.
The final part of the package to mention is the bag. The grey, blue and red colour combination looks smart and I liked that there was some protection in the 7-way divider at the top of the bag. In truth, it was a little less sturdy than you’ll find from the best golf stand bags but the quality is still one of the best I’ve seen from a package line-up and I liked that it is a spacious carry bag - which means you can use it on a cart, push cart or carry.
Finding a package set that ticks all the boxes is hard but there is no doubt the Callaway XR is up there with the best offerings I’ve tested. Unsurprisingly, that is reflected in the price but this is a top performer in all areas of the game.
In his current role, Neil is responsible for testing drivers and golf balls. Having been a part of the Golf Monthly team for over 15 years and playing off a handicap of 3, he has the experience to compare performance between models, brands and generations. For 2022 he thinks the main trend in drivers is: "In a word, consistency. Whilst all the brands are talking about ball speed (and the new drivers are certainly long), my biggest finding has been how much more consistent the ball flights are. Mishits don't seem to be causing the same level of drop-off or increase in the spin numbers. This means that more shots seem to be flying the way you want them to!" As far as golf balls are concerned the biggest development is in the, "three piece, non-Tour, urethane-covered section. For regular golfers, these models offer superb performance at both ends of the bag without denting your wallet quite as much as the premium Tour-played options."
Originally working with the best coaches in the UK to produce instruction content, he is now the brand's Digital Editor and covers everything from Tour player interviews to gear reviews. In his time at Golf Monthly, he has covered equipment launches that date back well over a decade. He clearly remembers the launch of the Callaway and Nike square drivers as well as the white TaylorMade driver families, such as the RocketBallz! If you take a look at the Golf Monthly YouTube channel, you'll see his equipment videos dating back over a decade! He has also conducted 'What's In The Bag' interviews with many of the game's best players like Rory McIlroy, Dustin Johnson and Jon Rahm. Over the years, Neil has tested a vast array of products in each category and at drastically different price-points.
Neil is currently playing: Driver: TaylorMade Stealth Plus Fairway Wood: Titleist TSR2 Hybrid: Titleist TS3 Irons (4-9): Mizuno JPX 919 Forged Wedges: Titleist Vokey SM7 46˚, 50˚, 54˚, 60˚ Putter: Odyssey Triple Track Ten Ball: Titleist Pro V1X
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