Callaway Iron Comparison: XR vs X2 Hot


When you move from one generation of iron to the next, it’s often difficult to produce something new that will give you a significant advantage over its predecessor and still stay within the legal limits of the rules of golf. When the Callaway X2 Hot iron debuted they were the longest iron Callaway had ever produced, up to 5 yards further than the X Hot irons. Which was fantastic in its own right!

In testing the Callaway X2 Hot irons on launch monitors and real life course conditions, I saw an average increase in carry distance of 4-6 yards per club over the Callaway X Hot irons. The claims were justified. With the introduction of the Callaway XR iron, one couldn’t help be skeptical to see what Callaway had made too outperform the highly touted X2 Hot iron. Let’s take a closer look at each iron and examine what separates the XR iron from the X2 Hot iron.


X2 Hot

This iron builds on the overall success of the Callaway X Hot iron by improving the clubhead and sole shaping with a cleaner look, and added technology that increases forgiveness and performance. The clubhead design has been enhanced with a deeper, central undercut cavity behind the face. This cavity provides more forgiveness and easier launch, especially on lower strikes on the clubface, where amateurs tend to make contact the most. On solid shots, the golf ball will launch higher and travel farther so that you can reach those more challenging, tucked pin locations.

Secondly, behind the clubface is a stabilizing arch. It’s a material that improves the overall feel of the golf club , the stability of the head on the off-center hit, and allows the face to flex properly behind the undercut cavity. This stabilizing arch gives you the increased ball speeds and distance gains, as advertised. Finally, the sole is cleaner and thinner than the X Hot iron and its flowing shape from toe to heel improves the playability of the golf club. You’ll be able to work the golf ball in all directions from various turf conditions.



The Callaway XR irons are Callaway’s first ever cavity back iron to incorporate a face cup into the clubhead and they’re built for ultimate ball speed and explosive distance. The main engine behind the XR iron is the Cup 360 face. This face is supported by a very thin piece of steel, which makes it extremely flexible, and makes up the club’s 2-piece construction. A special heat treating process during construction was necessary in order to make the face work expertly in conjunction with the rest of the iron’s thinner body style.

In addition, Callaway has designed a sole that’s thinner than previous X Series irons, but without going too narrow to rob the average golfer of extra forgiveness.  This sole design adds to the flexibility dynamic of the overall club and improves turf interaction. What’s this mean for you? Well, at impact the face produces a trampoline type effect to increase ball speeds on center hits, off-center hits, and all across the face leading to more distance throughout the entire set.

The final dynamic of the Callaway XR iron is the internal standing wave, a technology that has been highlighted in their X Series fairway woods in recent years. This element lowers the overall weight and center of gravity of the golf club. It’s position has been improved so it doesn’t touch the flexible elements of the club head, giving the 360 face cup room to provide the improved ball speed characteristics. The internal standing wave stretches across the entire face from toe to heel and takes the club’s forgiveness to another level, which creates more consistent speed, especially on mishits, and increased distance.


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Chris Wadwick

Chris Wadwick has been a Class “A” member of the PGA of America since 2011. He is a graduate of UNC-Chapel Hill with a degree in Business Administration. He brings a deep understanding of the inner workings of the golf business, especially club fittings, product knowledge, and visual merchandising, working for Dick’s Sporting Goods for over 7 years and Occoneechee Golf Club for more than three years, prior to that. When he is not in the office, you can always find him at a nearby golf course, attending games at his alma mater, or spending time with his wife and four dogs.