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The Callaway Steelhead XR irons may be the return of a classic name in the Callaway lineup, but this modern take is forgiving, long, and easy to hit.
The first set of irons I bought when I decided to get back into golfing seriously was a set of Callaway X16 Steelhead irons. Man, I LOVED those irons, but as I was playing more and more, my game evolved, and I moved on to different clubs. When I heard that Callaway was bringing back the Steelhead name, the nostalgic guy in me got excited to take a trip down memory lane to see if these new Steelhead XR irons were as magical as I remembered my old X16s being.
Longtime Callaway Steelhead iron fans will find the Steelhead XR size and shape to be familiar and assuring. The offset, thicker topline, and longer head at address should be appealing to a player that looks for their game improvement irons to scream forgiveness and easy contact. The badging in the cavity is more inline with modern Callaway lineups but isn’t over the top with bright colors and excessive branding. For an added touch of fun, the “Steelhead” on the cavity badge has a holographic sheen.
Sound & Feel
The goal of the Callaway Steelhead XR irons is to achieve an increase in ball speed, added distance, and maximum forgiveness. Designing a club to do all of these things that still sounds and feels good isn’t easy. The Steelhead XR’s 360 Face Cup technology and steel-infused polyurethane layer located behind the face of the club play a huge part in the sound and feel. The face is hollow and the polyurethane layer is there to dampen the vibration in the club. You end up with an iron that feels pretty much the same across the entire face unless you catch the extreme toe or heel, and a sound that I can only describe as a wet slap. When you catch one well, you feel a little strike in your hands and a rubber band snap off the face.
Callaway is no stranger to high performance game improvement irons, and the Callaway Steelhead XR irons only add to their legacy. Each iron plays 2-3º stronger, so players will get added distance, and the face is extremely forgiving on mishits. I have to give the Steelhead XR a ton of credit here. There were a lot of shots that I absolutely laced, but they were well off-center. The moral of the story is that I had to miss the center of the face by an extreme amount (read: almost shank) to experience any significant loss in speed and distance. For the game improvement audience, this is some of the best forgiveness I have seen in an iron in terms of speed and distance degradation on mishits.
It should also be noted that the Steelhead XR irons are designed to have a high and easy launch with the long irons but a lower launch with high-spin in the shorter irons. I did notice the long irons to be extremely easy to hit, and the middle irons had more of a mid flight, but I didn’t necessarily experience the advertised results with the short irons. The short irons have the same large game improvement profile as the rest of the set, and for me they created fairly high ball flights. In fairness, my club head speed is probably higher than the player these irons are aimed at which may be responsible for the higher ball flight.
I loved my Callaway Steelhead X16s many years ago, but wow, golf club technology sure has come a long way since then. Aside from a similar profile, the Callaway Steelhead XR is a completely different iron than its Steelhead ancestors and players looking for a game improvement iron should certainly consider testing it. If you’re looking for easy performance and strong forgiveness, the Callaway Steelhead XR is going to be a top player this season.
Buy the Callaway Steelhead XR Irons HERE
Callaway Steelhead XR Irons Prices & Specs