Callaway Iron Comparison: XR Pro vs Apex Pro


One thing is for sure within the Callaway family of irons: you’ve got choices. Even for the better player, you’ve got two highly-advanced, technology driven iron sets from Callaway that can fit the needs of the most skilled amateurs and tour players alike. Despite this, there are some staunch differences between the Callaway XR Pro and Apex Pro irons, so it’s important to know the differences and how they could impact your game.


XR Pro

The Callaway XR Pro iron is full of game changing speed and distance packed inside a player’s club head design. It features a 2-piece head construction with the new Cup 360 ultra-thin clubface specially heated to the rest of the iron body. At the bottom of the cavity behind the Cup 360 face is the Internal Standing Wave, a material first featured in their metal wood lines. Unlike the tungsten weights in the Apex Pro (more on that below), which are only housed in the 2 through 5 irons, the wave is featured throughout each iron in the XR Pro iron set and spans across the entire blade length of the iron head. This technology is responsible for lowering the XR Pro’s center of gravity (CG) for easier launch, increasing the club’s forgiveness over the Apex Pro, and allows the cup 360 face to provide exceptional ball speed without sacrificing control.

The stock shaft option for the Callaway XR Pro iron is the lightweight KBS Tour-V coming in right around 90 grams.  It still carries similar feel and responsiveness to the heavier Tour-V, but this one will feature a slightly higher spin profile and a consistent mid-kick design down through each iron in the set for a repeatable launch profile.


Apex Pro

The Callaway Apex Pro irons were engineered with the best players in mind, incorporating feedback from the majority of its Tour players. This iron body is constructed of 1020 forged carbon steel, the softest, most responsive material construction that the best ball strikers demand. Welded to the frame of the golf club is a much thinner clubface than any preceding forged iron from Callaway. This thin face helps promote faster ball speeds across the entire face, despite being a forged iron. This also allowed for a small pocket to be placed in the lower, backside of the club head in order to incorporate a vibration dampening material, thereby improving the feel off the blade even more.

Additionally, tungsten weighted inserts were positioned in the sole of the 2 through 5 irons of the Callaway Apex Pro, creating multi-material long irons that will lower the CG and deliver the high launch and control needed to come into the green with a less lofted club. A new, wider groove pattern on the clubface also helps deliver the needed control for tour players and higher ability amateurs by providing an improved spin profile, especially out of the rough, which allows you to take on the most aggressive pin locations.

Finally, there are two stock shaft options for the Callaway Apex Pro iron. One is the heavier version of the KBS Tour-V, a joint collaboration of KBS and Callaway staff member Phil Mickelson. This heavier KBS Tour-V shaft provides a lively, yet smooth feel and features a progressive kick point to allow for higher trajectory with the long irons for better control coming into the greens and a piercing ball flight with the shorter irons for spin control. On the flip side, the UST Recoil graphite shaft option is a high performance shaft with great feel and excellent consistency without sacrificing the type of trajectory better players prefer.

Which One Is For You

The Callaway Apex Pro iron is right for you if you’re looking for…

  • Softer, traditional forged feel
  • Thinner sole for more workability of the golf ball
  • Shorter blade length for optimal control and consistency on center strikes
  • Heavier shaft with higher flight in long irons and piercing flight in short irons

The Callaway XR Pro iron is right for you if you’re looking for…

  • More speed and distance with each iron
  • Slightly wider sole for more stability in turf interactions
  • Slightly longer blade length for more forgiveness
  • Lighter shaft for easier and more consistent launch

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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.