Callaway Steelhead XR Fairway Wood Review

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The Callaway Steelhead XR fairway woods come in a wide array of lofts, sizes, and lengths to suit every need.  Easy to launch and forgiving.

Introduction

Callaway has done a great job marketing their high performance Epic line to those that want to be on the leading edge of technology.  Simultaneously, they’ve appealed to those with fond memories of Callaway’s greatest hits with the Steelhead XR line.  The latter now stretches from irons to fairway woods with the release of the Steelhead XR fairway woods.  We wanted to know whether these were clubs with modern performance or just nostalgia pieces.

Looks

Callaway continues to put out some of the best looking clubs in golf.  With the Steelhead XR FW, the black, blue, and carbon fiber scheme is carried through from the headcover to the Lamkin UTx grip.  From every angle, these clubs just look cool.

At address, you’ll notice that the carbon fiber is visible in the rear of the crown.  This has become Callaway’s signature of late, and I love the way it looks through the dark blue crown.  On a fairway wood, this detail is far enough from the ball that it’s not distracting.  Also, my eye is more drawn to the chevron alignment aid between the Speed Steps.

The head size is average, but the shaping and taller face make it appear compact and powerful.

Sound & Feel

To my ear, the Callaway Steelhead XR fairway woods have a perfect impact sound.  It’s medium volume and crisp with a robust metallic quality.  My only complaint in this department is that the feedback is minimal – shots all over the face sound explosive.

Performance

With the Steelhead XR, Callaway is offering one of the widest arrays of heads and lofts that I’ve ever seen.  The 3W and 5W are to be expected.  To that Callaway has added a strong 3W (which is slightly smaller than the standard 3W) and a 4W.  For those that want more loft, there are also 7 and 9 woods.  Finally, the line up includes a Heavenwood which is half a degree stronger than the 7W at 20.5 degrees, but nearly 3W length (42.75″) and head size.  This is a tremendous option for players who need more loft but don’t want to sacrifice distance or forgiveness.

Regardless of the configuration you choose, the Steelhead XR FW is forgiving and easy to launch.  My shots were producing consistent carry distances whether the impact was perfect or thin.  Ball speeds also stayed high when I wandered to the left and right of center.

Callaway is offering two versions of the Mitsubishi Tensei CK Blue shaft in the Steelhead XR – one at 55 grams and one at 65 grams.  With the 65 gram version, I found the club to be light but well balanced.  There is noticeable kick in the shaft, but it stayed with me unless I really swung out of my shoes.  Really aggressive swingers may want to look into Callaway’s other shaft options, but the majority of golfers should be well served with the Tensei CK Blue.

Conclusion

The Callaway Steelhead XR fairway woods draws on the company’s rich history of fairway woods – specifically the Steelhead shape and Hawkeye sole – and adds something to it as well.  This is a versatile, reliable club that golfers can trust on the tee, in the fairway, and even those occasional forays into the rough.

Buy Callaway Steelhead XR Fairway Woods HERE

Callaway Steelhead XR Fairway Woods Price & Specs

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Matt Saternus

Co-Founder, Editor In Chief at PluggedInGolf.com
Matt is a golf instructor, club fitter, and writer living in the northwest suburbs of Chicago. Matt's work has been published in Mulligan Magazine, Chicagoland Golf, South Florida Golf, and other golf media outlets. He's also been a featured speaker in the Online Golf Summit and is a member of Ultimate Golf Advantage's Faculty of Experts.

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3 Comments

  1. I was fortunate to play the Steelhead XR 5wd for 4 rounds and several range sessions over 3 weeks and echo Matt’s comments. I played several courses neear Monterey and out of the box, kept the driver out of play and used the 5 wd off the tee and approaches to get accustomed to the club. I would not call this club a launch monitor star but a real life total distance rocket launcher. The deep face offers gobs of confidence off the tee – just tee it high and let it go.

    I am a tweener flex between Stiff and Regulr, and chose R – a wise choice for me. The Tensei fairway 55, based on the Blueboard, is a smooth shaft, but the ball never ballooned or spun too much. Ball flight was flat and then hit its apex into the distance before descending slowly. I don’t see an issue with stopping on a green. Slight thin hits actually gave you more total distance because of roll – ball took off on a lower trajectory and with dry fairways, I was obtaining 220-230. Slight fats were low, straight but still obtained surprisingly good distance. I drove a few 265 par 4’s in slight downhill conditions. Hit a tee shot 270 total with a slight wind.

    Even though Steelhead exhibits a deep face, have no fear of normal lies off the fairway, The J36 carbon crown lowers the COG to give you launch while keeping spin down. This club also shines out of the rough – the rounded sole is extremely helpful. I also have a 7 wd with the Tensei 65 shaft and it also starts flat before ascending to a higher apex than the 5 wd, as expected. I have no issues with a 55g shaft, having used a 45g shaft in a fairway. Today’s liteweight shafts are more stable at the tip, and the Tensei is a good match for this club – my flight was high-mid to slightly high with a piercing trajectory. Sound is a high, metallic pleasing crack. Good luck.

  2. Having spent more time with the Steelhead 3 and 5 woods, I’ve grown more confident hitting them off the deck and tee. They like to be battered. I am hitting them with a higher flight than previusly stated, meaning an aggressive swing results in a high, yet piercing flight. With the regular flex in a Tensei 55, I was approaching the limits of the shaft, dialed it back and received a more ideal flight and shape.

    While a launch monitor, in most cases, is a factor in evaluating a club, the Steelheads seem to go beyond studio numbers and offer more on course distance and perfomance from a variety of lies due to the cambered sole. Forgiveness is still great due to the cup face. Distance is excellent. Can’t make too many favorable comments about these clubs. For players who want flatter lies and a more forward COG, Callaway has two + models in the 13.5 and 16. An impressive line of fairways at a reasonable price.

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