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Callaway Steelhead XR irons and hybrids

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Callaway’s new Steelhead XR irons and hybrids each draw from equipment designs and technologies in the company’s history.

The new Steelhead XR irons are influenced by the Steelhead X-14 irons — some of the most highly coveted irons in Callaway’s catalog — that were released in the year 2000 (click for a reminder of what they look like). For its new release of game-improvement irons, Callaway looked to the classic Steelhead X-14 irons for shaping and mass properties, and used its since-acquired knowledge of iron design to add performance benefits.

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A face-on look at the Steelhead XR irons shows they’re reminiscent of the original Steelhead irons.

The Steelhead XR hybrids also implement designs from other Callaway products, albeit from the not-so-distant past. For its Steelhead XR hybrids, which are to be used as replacements or complements to the iron set, Callaway borrowed design concepts from both the Apex hybrids — originally designed for better players, according to Callaway — and the Callaway XR drivers, which were co-engineered with Boeing.

For more specifics, read below. To join the conversation about the Steelhead XR release and see more photos, CLICK HERE.

Callaway Steelhead XR irons

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Callaway’s line of XR clubs have become known for speed and forgiveness. The new releases are no different in that sense.

The idea behind looking into its history at the Steelhead X-14 irons was to implement characteristics of shaping and mass properties to make a more forgiving, balanced iron. Visibly, you’ll notice a “hitch in the topline near the heel,” as Dr. Alan Hocknell, Callaway’s Senior VP of R&D, describes it. This allowed Callaway to put the center of gravity (CG) at the direct center of the club head, in relation to the heel and toe. Additionally, there is a bore-through in the heel, helping also to control the CG, and to raise moment of inertia (MOI), according to Hocknell.

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It was important for Callaway to control CG from heel-to-toe, placing it on the center line, as well as controlling it from top to bottom. The irons are designed to have lower CG in the long irons, where higher launch is crucial for more distance, forgiveness and stopping power. On the other hand, the short irons are designed with higher CG, which is important for control, and to avoid producing shots that are “too floaty,” as Hocknell said.

CallawaySteelheadConstruction

Here is what the construction looks like. Graphic provided by Callaway.

Callaway uses a new material — steel-infused polyurethane — that sits behind the face in the cavity of the irons, which are made from 17-4 stainless steel. The material (pictured above) is placed low in the irons to drive CG downward, and also serves to dampen vibrations at impact, keeping the irons from feeling harsh, according to Callaway.

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The Steelhead XR irons were also designed with coefficient of restitution (COR) that goes “as high as anybody dares to go,” Hocknell said. With faster 360 Face Cups — Callaway’s familiar variable-thickness faces that are welded to the bodies — than previous irons, the Steelhead XR irons have thinner perimeters helping to extend the high-COR area, and pushing it right up to the legal limit. This means they will produce extremely fast ball speeds across the face.

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Steelhead XR iron sets (3-LW) will be available in stores on September 2, and will sell for $799 with a steel shaft and $999 for graphite. Stock shafts will be True Temper’s XP 95 Stepless (Steel) and Matrix’s F15 (Graphite), although there is a “wide array” of aftermarket shafts available.

Click here for more photos and discussion.

Steelhead XR hybrids

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To Callaway’s surprise, according to Hocknell, average players showed serious interest in the recently released Apex hybrids, although they were designed for lower-handicaps.

After listening to the feedback, Callaway looked to the Apex design, and made some adjustments for those who need more forgiveness, launch, and ultimately, distance. To do this, Callaway made the blade lengths longer, and made the club heads deeper from front-to-back, while keeping the familiar squared-off toe reminiscent of the Apex hybrids. The bigger surface area of the face allowed the Steelhead XR hybrids to have higher MOI than you’ll find from the Apex hybrids, but a similar head shape.

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Also, you’ll notice the Steelhead XR hybrids have Callaway’s Hyper Speed Face Cups welded to the bodies, which are made to enhance ball speeds on mishits.

For additional head speed, Callaway implemented the familiar Speed Steps from Callaway’s XR drivers, engineered in tandem with Boeing, that are said to provide better aerodynamics for players who need it.

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The Steelhead XR hybrids (3-6) will be available in stores on September 2, selling for $219 each. Matching the irons, they too will have True Temper’s XP 95 (Steel) and Matrix’s F15 (Graphite) stock shafts, although there is a “large selection” of aftermarket shafts available.

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Click here to see more photos of the Steelhead XR irons and hybrids, and join in the discussion.

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58 Comments

58 Comments

  1. Brian K

    Sep 14, 2016 at 8:31 am

    No matter what haters complaining, this steelhead irons have really good quality.
    I compared with apex cf16 with same stock shaft, xp95. steelhead was softer and more precise. I landed every shot 2 yard radius, I was really impressed.

  2. JThunder

    Sep 4, 2016 at 2:11 am

    This entire comments section proves without doubt that comments sections are the most useless part of any website. Those old enough will remember how newspaper and magazine “letters to the editor” were largely populated by cretins. The internet breeds cretinism.

  3. JB

    Aug 29, 2016 at 8:41 am

    I slept with these irons last night. Lets just say they delivered solid feel where it counts and feedback was oh so sweet. Are these the best irons ever you ask yourself? DING DING DING!

  4. Joshua

    Aug 28, 2016 at 12:48 am

    Been to a few thp events and Josh and Morgan are great people.Their website isn’t about die hard golf but more about meeting new friends for a lifetime.The forum is fun chats non golf and semi golf related.The teaching dept on thp is quite poor as the main instructor Fred can barely break 80.But the forum isn’t like wrx it’s a meet and greet and make friends for a lifetime.I see no dishonesty on their site or when meeting in person

    • Josh

      Aug 28, 2016 at 7:52 am

      Congrats on getting picked to “test” these irons! Jman will tell you the rules. Which are proclaim these irons the best ever before selling them on wrx. We of course sell all our “used” equipment on eBay. You can too with some solid pictures and description!

  5. peter collins

    Aug 27, 2016 at 9:18 am

    These are gonna be the greatest Callaway irons ever

  6. Josh

    Aug 26, 2016 at 7:45 am

    Any chance we can “glitch” these comments away?

  7. Ddec

    Aug 25, 2016 at 3:10 pm

    When I get randomized into the mother effin Grandaddy this year these are going in my bag. I could care less when we lose to the Zoo Crew for the 4th straight year. Free Callaway gear is always a win for me.

    • JMan

      Aug 25, 2016 at 4:05 pm

      The Mother EF’ing Granddaddy, I love it when I us mod’s get randomly selected for cool things. Must be because we are Albatross Members. #FreeStuffisCool#MotherEF’ing#Where’sCookie#6gootgimmee#ToppedTeeShot#Youaren’tcoolifyoudon’tplaywith36capTHP’ers

    • THP's eBay Account

      Aug 25, 2016 at 4:12 pm

      Wooooooo Grandaddy I cant wait for all those new clubs to hit my listing pages! I’ll have more page views than a THP unbiased Callaway driver review copied straight from the web. Plastic still on all clubs except the 7 iron fetches top dolla yo. Jman is always one of the first to ditch his “best club I have hit” irons. Freddie will need a little help with his listing description too. #mindblown

      • BigHitter

        Aug 25, 2016 at 5:47 pm

        THP, did someone restart my bombsquad site? DTown and I are gonna sue JB over this, wait, no, we were shills for Taylormade, nevermind.

    • MikeDean441

      Aug 25, 2016 at 5:58 pm

      You know Ddec, it’s about the memories, not the score, and scoring a lot of free swag that most of the poor suckers on the site have pay for. I hope we get to eat the best food ever at Denny’s again this year. See ya latter, I’ve got to go practicing chutting.

    • War Beagle

      Aug 25, 2016 at 8:29 pm

      Remember when I quit this awesome site and ragged on J.B. and the rest of the THP staff all the time?

      Oh yeah. Me neither.

      OFFICIAL THREAD STARTER, BEEACHES!

      • OleGrey

        Aug 25, 2016 at 10:17 pm

        Well dag numit, JB dun gone an gots another Granpappy set up. My dog hunt much but I got a sense for thievery and I bet those THP boys are up to no good

      • Nate

        Aug 26, 2016 at 7:45 am

        Hey is this where I make some funny comment that isn’t really funny? No, ok, I’ll post up some pictures I took then added in a bunch of clouds so y’all can tell me how great I am. I’m Big Time you know, BTD to you.

  8. 9stick

    Aug 25, 2016 at 1:42 pm

    This comments section is brutal.

    • THP's eBay Account

      Aug 25, 2016 at 4:12 pm

      You want to buy some new irons?

  9. Canadan

    Aug 24, 2016 at 10:02 pm

    Please stop this. I get free equipment from thp and will never ever share it with anyone

  10. Golf4lefties

    Aug 24, 2016 at 7:20 pm

    I love the Legacy Iron look but will never be able to own a set. These look like the Legacy’s to me. I have Gamed just about every set of Callaway Iron from at least 2000 and on and the Steel Heads were one if not my favorite Callaway Offering. I will Buying these ASAP.

  11. Leaded

    Aug 24, 2016 at 6:59 pm

    These are gonna be the greatest Callaway irons ever

  12. Canadan

    Aug 24, 2016 at 6:37 pm

    I have had mad secret love with the entire Callaway staff. J rod gives great H E A D

  13. Freddie Kong

    Aug 24, 2016 at 6:08 pm

    Leave J.B. alongated! I love hemoglobin!

  14. JB's yellow tooth

    Aug 24, 2016 at 6:02 pm

    Somebody please call the tooth fairy! I’ve been held hostage in this sewer one might mistaken for a mouth for decades! callaway take me away!

    • JMan

      Aug 24, 2016 at 6:08 pm

      #Where’sHawk#Where’sCookie#Where’sOleGray#Theserverwaswipedclean

      • JB's yellow tooth

        Aug 24, 2016 at 8:35 pm

        How should I know? I’m stuck in this fools upper sphincter and I don’t have eyes!

  15. THP Tour Van

    Aug 24, 2016 at 3:05 pm

    I can’t wait to have these laying in the back of the van. Of course, they won’t be there long since eBay will come calling soon. Then all that will be left will be beef jerky wrappers, wet dog hair, and the bad memories of what #TheGranddaddy was really about.

    #ilovecallaway
    #goodsourceofprotein
    #tastesgoodgoingdown

    • JMan

      Aug 24, 2016 at 5:35 pm

      That’s the Mother EF’ing Granddaddy. #Mother EF’ing Granddaddy#PlayingGolfwith39handicapsisbest#IloveCallaway#Where’sCookie

  16. JMan

    Aug 24, 2016 at 11:32 am

    Can’t wait to try these out at the Mother EF’in Granddaddy. I say Mother EF’in because JB does and that makes it really cool. #Mother EF’in#I’mbeingacrybabyagain

    • JB's yellow tooth

      Aug 24, 2016 at 8:44 pm

      I’ve seen you before! Well… Just the tip anyway

  17. Pingback: Review: Callaway Steelhead XR irons and hybrids | GolfJay

  18. Golfer Gal from THP

    Aug 23, 2016 at 7:34 pm

    As said above, these are the best irons Callaway has ever offered to the public. It was a spirited debate between me and JB whether or not to sell these on eBay. But in the end, $$$ won out. I mean we can’t save the animal kingdom one dog at a time without moolah!

  19. Golfer Gal from THP

    Aug 23, 2016 at 7:31 pm

    As said above, these are Callaways greatest irons ever. When they sent us them to test, we had a spirited debate whether or not we would put them on eBay to sell. But in the end, $$$ won out. We can’t save the animal kingdom one dog at a time without moolah!

  20. Justin

    Aug 23, 2016 at 6:33 pm

    personally, I think the irons are hideous. I love Callaway and currently bag their irons, wedges, and 3 wood, but these look terrible. But, if they can improve someone’s game, go for it!

  21. Mark

    Aug 23, 2016 at 3:31 pm

    Have they finally run out of ideas?

    • cgasucks

      Aug 23, 2016 at 8:15 pm

      Probably…other OEMs might be running out of ideas as well. I wouldn’t be surprised if Titleist revived their DCI concept and TM brings back their bubble shafts…

  22. C1

    Aug 23, 2016 at 3:24 pm

    Callaway #1! Very clever, the Callaway people. Excellent marketing, and their products perform just as described.
    No I don’t work for Callaway, and I approve this message.

  23. JB from THP

    Aug 23, 2016 at 3:24 pm

    I personally LOVE these so much. Seriously the greatest club ever designed. I really didn’t think Callaway could come out with anything better than the Apex CF16 but wow have they proven me wrong. I’ll have these in my Callaway stand bag as soon as they hit retail. I don’t even need to see the price tag – just ring them up and take my money.

    #Epic
    #AlwaysInnovating
    #PXGPutsWeinersOnTheirDrivers

    • dsd

      Aug 23, 2016 at 4:06 pm

      #SHANK lol

    • Jay

      Aug 23, 2016 at 7:33 pm

      #You’veneverhitthem
      #Rehashofoldideas=notinnovative

    • JB's Dog (kid)

      Aug 24, 2016 at 10:30 am

      Well said my master! You always know a solid shovel when you dig with one. I mean you really tore it up with those Altitudes! Never thought you would ever leave those giant earth movers. But these seem like they have JB all over the giant faces. Cant wait to see these in your Callaway bag inside the Callaway paid for tour van. #nobiasreviewsFTW

      • JB's yellow tooth

        Aug 24, 2016 at 8:50 pm

        #family! Guess that doesn’t include veneers

  24. Jim

    Aug 23, 2016 at 10:55 am

    Not sure what Callaway is doing with their club releases? Now they will have XR, XR Pro, XR OS, Steelhead XR and then the Apex line. Where do these slot in or are they meant as the replacement for the XR series? They’re starting to act like TM on the multiple releases. Very confusing.

    • Scooter McGavin

      Aug 23, 2016 at 11:21 am

      Most likely to replace the XR. XRs are like 1.5 years old now.

    • Oskars

      Aug 23, 2016 at 8:53 pm

      I have always thought that for the last couple years Callaway has been much worse than Taylormade in that regard. Sooo confusing.

      • JThunder

        Sep 4, 2016 at 2:09 am

        What’s confusing about buying a set of irons that works for you or keeping your current ones? Are you a staffer who has to choose between their sets to make your living? Or a rep who has to know the lines inside and out?

  25. alexdub

    Aug 23, 2016 at 10:39 am

    Awesome that they are bringing back the old branding. I wish more companies would do the same.

  26. Patrick

    Aug 23, 2016 at 9:46 am

    Also, will they be releasing a Steelhead line of woods?

    • Mat

      Aug 24, 2016 at 8:05 am

      Those would be the 2016.2 Steelhead Apex XR OS OMG driver and fairway. The OMG stands for the Oversized, Massive, Gigantic sweet spot just above the aftermarket weight ports that will have a different adapter and and 12 colors to choose from. Unless you’re a Lefty.

  27. Patrick

    Aug 23, 2016 at 9:39 am

    Does anyone know if they will be releasing a “pro” version?

    • Mat

      Aug 24, 2016 at 8:01 am

      The Steelhead XRII Pro 2017, in semi-delaminating “chrome”. It’ll be out just in time to use the Golfsmith card your spouse got you, assuming they aren’t in Chapter 11.

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Equipment

Forum Thread of the Day: “Lighter shaft for dealing with joint tiredness?”

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Today’s Forum Thread of the Day comes from Zigzog, who is a long-time golfer searching for the best methods for dealing with joint tiredness and aching elbow pain during/following his rounds. Zigzog has been considering moving to a lighter shaft to reduce the pain, and our members have been sharing their tips and tricks on the subject.

Here are a few posts from the thread, but make sure to check out the entire discussion and have your say at the link below.

  • Galanga: “Passenger in the same boat. I believe lighter weight and shock absorption is the ticket — many stories to of it working on this site. I second the prior poster’s suggestion to not go down in weight too quickly. For me, the graphite shaft selection effort has been a rabbit hole. Probably best to go to a fitter w lots of options and expertise.”
  • KensingtonPark: “I am in a similar position as you. I am experimenting with tour weighted graphite shafts in my irons. It definitely seems to help, as vibration more than weight is the source of my joint fatigue. That and a lack of stretching…”
  • rwc356: “I’ve been playing 50+ years and started feeling my age about 10 years ago. While I never had a plus handicap, I did play to a single digit handicap until my early 50’s. Arthritis and other health issue started creating havoc with my game, and I made the transition to graphite and more forgiving clubs. I was afraid to leave what I knew, and so I converted a few clubs (5 iron and 7 iron) to graphite and tried them for a number of rounds. It wasn’t long before I realized that I could play them as well as steel shafts and so I added the rest of short irons. Been playing 3 seasons with graphite and not sure I could go back. I love old blades and have a number of sets which I sneak back to every so often – result is always the same, shaft too heavy and body too sore. Good luck with finding a solution that fits your game best.”
  • jjfcpa: “I’m 72 years old and didn’t start playing golf till I was 67, so I have no memory of what it was like to play steel shafts or have a fast swing speed. I find that playing lighter shafts (in my case graphite) to be much easier on the joints. I also found that doing strength training at the gym doing the offseason really makes it much easier to maintain your performance level during the golf season.”

Entire Thread: “Lighter shaft for dealing with joint tiredness?”

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Whats in the Bag

Tyrrell Hatton’s winning WITB: 2019 Turkish Airlines Open

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Driver: Ping G410 Plus (9 degrees set at 8.4)
Shaft: Mitsubishi Diamana RF 60-TX

Fairway wood: TaylorMade M6 HL (16.5 degrees, bent to 15.7)
Shaft: Graphite Design Tour AD TP 7X

Fairway wood: Ping G410 (20.5 degrees)
Shaft: Graphite Design Tour AD TP 8X

Irons: Ping i210 (4-PW)
Shafts: Nippon Modus3 Tour 120 X

Wedges: Ping Glide Forged (50 degrees), Titleist Vokey Design SM7 Raw (54-08M, 60-10S)
Shafts: True Temper Dynamic Gold Tour Issue X100

Putter: Ping Vault Oslo

Grips: Golf Pride New Decade MCC

Ball: Titleist Pro V1x

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WRX Spotlight: Cobra King Forged TEC irons

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The skinny: As Ryan Barath first reported, the introduction of the newest Cobra King Forged TEC irons for 2020, it is taking speed and forgiveness to a whole new level.

Behind what appears to be an extremely traditional-looking muscleback iron hides a huge amount of technology designed to help players of all abilities, whether it be with a traditional variable-length set or with Cobra’s One Length set—more on that latter. The King Forged TEC irons are a hollow-body design that utilizes a thin face supported by what Cobra engineers call energizing foam microspheres, to both fine-tune acoustics (sound/feel) of the head, while also supporting the PWRSHELL Face for increased ball speeds, according to the company.

Our take on Cobra King Forged TEC irons

Not only do the new Cobra Forged TEC irons pass the eyeball test, but the engineers at Cobra have also developed a club with excellent performance.

In our own testing, the clubs had several features which really stood out

Performance out of the rough: with the low tungsten insert, the low center of gravity performs outstanding from thick lies.

Face consistency: with other similar clubs, our experience is that perfectly struck shots tend to “fly”, sometimes flying considerably longer. With the Forged Tec, the face is incredibly consistent. Off-center hits, particularly off the toe, fly remarkably well.

Chipping: with a clean look, and little offset, one of the additional nuances of these clubs is how good they are to chip (pitch) with.

When ordering the set, keep in mind that there is only a two-degree difference between the 5 (23 degrees) and 4-iron (21 degrees). This lead to some uneven gapping and as a result, we discarded the 4-iron and instead decided to bend the 5-iron, one degree strong.

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