Driver Test: XR Speed vs M4

Callaway XR Speed v TaylorMade M4 driver

If you’re in the market for a brand new driver, but don’t want to spend more than £350, there are some great options – and the latest is Callaway’s XR Speed, launched in May 2018.

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Callaway’s “jailbreak” technology (two titanium rods attaching the sole to the crown) features in its Rogue and Epic drivers, but the tech is costly to produce, which means those two models are some of the most expensive on the market.

So, in a bid to have a more competitively priced driver on the market, Alan Hocknell, Callaway’s chief of R&D, challenged his design team to create the best non-jailbreak driver they could. And the new XR Speed is the fruit of their labours. Callaway says the new XR Speed is faster and longer than any competitor’s driver it’s tested, even though ball speeds are 1-2mph slower than the Rogue, which launched earlier this year.

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To see if the claims stand up, the Uk’s #1 Golf Magazine – Todays’s Golfer, pitted the new XR against TaylorMade’s similarly-priced M4.

HOW THEY DID IT

TG test pro Andy Thorpe hit both Drivers with their standard stock shafts (and 10.5° of loft) on a launch monitor. They wanted to replicate how the majority of golfers who’d buy these drivers would buy straight off the rack. Thanks to Andy’s repeatable swing it ensured an accurate comparison between both models. After all shots were hit, the data was compared to see how each performed.

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HOW THE XR SPEED COMPARES TO M4

To hit mass market golfers (and sell in decent numbers), drivers need a combination of a good technology story alongside strong performance and a competitive price (just like the TaylorMade M4 and Ping G400), so the XR scores highly on all fronts.

The XR’s head looks great sat behind the ball, it sounds decent and it comes with a quality Project X HZRDUS shaft.

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The data (SEE BELOW) suggested it’s every bit a match for the M4. But while M4 has already won on tour in the hands of Dustin Johnson and Jon Rahm, the XR is unlikely to make it into the top players’ hands.

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Callaway’s jailbreak tech certainly delivers more ball speed, but we know it becomes more effective as swing speeds increase. Callaway worked out how the R&A and USGA conformity tests are run at relatively low swing speeds.

That means a head can conform at the designated test speed, but perform differently at higher speeds. For average golfers, that should increase the XR Speed’s attractiveness even more, as it’s likely to perform much like a Rogue, but also save you over £100.

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