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Callaway upgrades a classic, introduces Steelhead XR fairway woods

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Callaway is bringing back the Steelhead name that is already responsible for selling more than 2.3 million fairway woods; that includes the original Steelhead, Steelhead Plus and Steelhead III woods. As its most popular fairway wood line ever, the modern version of the clubs, which Callaway is calling the Steelhead XR, are packed with distance-enhancing technologies to go along with the classic shapes that Steelhead fans have come to adore.

CallawaySteelheadStory

Related: Callway’s Steelhead XR irons and hybrids

Steelhead woods had a cult-like following since their initial release in 1998, and GolfWRX members say they had the fairway wood in the bag well over a decade later. The steelhead designs were defined by a Hawkeye Sole that was rounded for versatility, a compact pear shape, a deep face, a light crown and low center of gravity for high launch and low spin. Also, according to Evan Gibbs, the Director of R&D for Metalwoods at Callaway, the Steelhead 4+ fairway wood — which was geared toward better players who wanted a slightly lower ball flight with lower spin than the standard models — was the most iconic fairway wood in the company’s history because it ushered in the new low-spin, high-launch philosophy.

“It was one of the first clubs that got people comfortable with launching the ball high with very little spin,” said Evan Gibbs, Callaway’s Director of R&D for Metalwoods. “When people were using low-lofted drivers, [Steelhead 4+ fairway woods] went as far as drivers for some people.”

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While every equipment company has now embraced the low-spin, high-launch philosophy, the 2017 Steelhead XR fairway woods will be a welcome re-release for those who are nostalgic about the Steelhead shaping, and for those never played the woods, they may find versatility in the Hawkeye sole. Callaway also loaded the Steelhead XR fairway woods with its modern designs to help golfers produce more distance.

While the fairway woods will still have a club face made of steel for that familiar Steelhead-feel, the crowns are made from J-36 carbon to lower center of gravity and move it more forward; that will help it produce lower spin like the original designs. According to Callaway, the crowns weigh just 6 grams — that’s 20 grams lighter than Callaway’s XR crowns.

The Steelhead XR fairways will also have a Hyper Speed Face Cup that produces more ball speed across the face, and Speed Step technology, or the raised portions on the crown that was first introduced Callaway XR ’16 metalwoods, which improves aerodynamics to produce higher club head speeds.

The fairway woods are available in 3+ wood (13.5 degrees), 3-wood (15 degrees) , 4+wood (16 degrees), 5-wood (18 degrees), 7-wood (21 degrees), 9-wood (24 degrees) and the company’s “Heavenwood,” which will measure 20.5 degrees. They will be in stores July 14 and sell for $229.99. The stock shaft is Mitsubishi’s Tensei CK.

Discussion: See what GolfWRX members are saying about the Steelhead XR woods

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30 Comments

30 Comments

  1. Hap

    Jun 23, 2017 at 10:12 am

    I love cheap trailing edge technology. it also lets you find out what is staying in players bags and whats not from the previous versions. I’m still playing Mizuno 800 pros which I got for a song. Upgraded to a Cally 815 with a Matrix Black Tie from Cally pre-owned this year for around $180 I think.

  2. Mr Poopoo

    Jun 21, 2017 at 7:34 pm

    I like that they are using the classic groove pattern.

  3. Me

    Jun 21, 2017 at 8:46 am

    All the bitterness towards TM with their product release cycles 5 years ago, well now Callaway, Cobra and to some extent Ping are releasing product at quicker intervals than Taylormade ever did. Cobra is the worse, every 6-nine months- now being forced to give away free fairwaywoods to sell last March’s release.

    My local retail golf shop has a ton of 1-2 year old Callaway that is collecting dust …Interesting also is the amount of Callaway Epic drivers on their trade in rack.

    The automobile industry got caught up in this mess decades ago, constantly manufacturing and re-badging old as new

    • Americans Ruin Everything by Talking

      Jun 21, 2017 at 10:56 am

      You just compared cars to golf clubs lol

      • Ude

        Jun 21, 2017 at 12:23 pm

        love affair with cars and golf clubs same sxual thing

  4. Was

    Jun 21, 2017 at 2:31 am

    Nope

  5. Minnesota golfer

    Jun 20, 2017 at 2:06 pm

    Anyone know if this is a replacement of the XR Hybrid which was first released in 2014? I am an all-Callaway-in-the-bag person but have found it harder to keep up with constant new releases.

    • Minnesota golfer

      Jun 20, 2017 at 5:15 pm

      Oops… it’s not hybrid. Never mind.

  6. Was

    Jun 20, 2017 at 12:55 pm

    Why are they releasing the woods separate from the irons and not at the same time? Makes no sense

  7. Howard

    Jun 20, 2017 at 12:43 pm

    The Steelhead III 3 Wood nostalgia is flowing through me right now.

    • Ude

      Jun 21, 2017 at 12:21 pm

      release yer pent up nostalgia juices flowing through you right now abuse yerself

  8. Chris

    Jun 20, 2017 at 10:58 am

    You guys have to remember that the XR ’16 product cycle is coming to an end and this is what is going to take its place. It may be weird for a mid-season launch but better now when people can use the clubs rather than at the end of the season.

    • TR1PTIK

      Jun 20, 2017 at 12:46 pm

      It’s also important to remember that these are part of a completely different line than Epic. I think people want to see release cycles like that of Titleist or Ping, but it’s honestly a smart move by Callaway IMO. Spreading the release of each line across the calendar year keeps Callaway in the news. Months ago it was the Epic drivers, weeks ago it was the Epic hybrids and iron. Now, it’s the XR fairway woods, and in a few weeks/months time I’m sure we’ll see something else. If you look at Callaway’s product portfolio, you’ll realize they aren’t much different than Titleist. The only real difference is how they release products. For that matter though, Titleist staggers their woods, irons, and golf balls for what I’m sure is the same reason. How relevant would a company be if they released all of their product updates once every 2 years?

  9. Csmit82

    Jun 20, 2017 at 10:57 am

    Can’t wait for the release of the Epic Apex Steelhead XR hybrids and woods in 3 months.

    • JimmySmits

      Jun 20, 2017 at 4:51 pm

      I’m gonna hold out for the Epic Apex Steelhead XR BigBertha CF16 SubZero Fusion GreatBigBertha woods.

      • Robert Parsons

        Jun 21, 2017 at 12:14 pm

        The pro version of that will be even better.

  10. Ude

    Jun 20, 2017 at 9:47 am

    I want those beauties in my bag fast.

    • Tom1

      Jun 20, 2017 at 11:54 am

      I loved the original, I’m sure these are good if not better.

      • Ude

        Jun 20, 2017 at 1:51 pm

        new is fresh, old is stale. i want new new new

  11. AceW7Iron

    Jun 20, 2017 at 9:26 am

    Got the Epic driver last month….Real deal

    Like the look of the Steelhead line so maybe upgrade to them from my XR’s in 2018.

    • Ude

      Jun 21, 2017 at 12:15 pm

      you are one wicked gearhead golf hound — arf

  12. Dat

    Jun 20, 2017 at 9:01 am

    Another release? Callaway seems determined to go the way of Taylormade.

    • Timmy

      Jun 20, 2017 at 4:54 pm

      Callaway is Taylormade………Taylormade is Callaway. These companies are the same. Have been for a very long time.

  13. Johnnythunders

    Jun 20, 2017 at 8:22 am

    The faster they launch products, the faster the last generation gets reduced in price. Since performc is
    Pretty much the same we win.

  14. rebfan73

    Jun 20, 2017 at 7:29 am

    Like ’em………but Callaway is turning into the new TaylorMade with constant product launches.

    • Beefhouse

      Jun 21, 2017 at 4:35 am

      Not turning, turned. Pro shops are flooded with Callaway stuff. They’ll struggle to shift the models from 6 months ago. Supply and demand is key. Not sure the demand will keep up with the supply.

      • Dave2017

        Jun 21, 2017 at 8:21 am

        If only the older models were reduced. Not in the NY Metro region. they still want high prices for stuff released almost 2 years ago. If they were to blow out the old stuff when new stuff comes in, I would be very happy. The places here are greedy and the golfers have to show off their new clubs along with their new BMWs and Rolexes.

        • Ude

          Jun 21, 2017 at 12:18 pm

          new clubs, new BMWs and Rolexes = status bling = sxual impotence

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Accessory Reviews

Review: FlightScope Mevo

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In 100 Words

The Mevo is a useful practice tool for amateur golfers and represents a step forward from previous offerings on the market. It allows golfers to practice indoors or outdoors and provides club speed, ball speed, smash factor, launch angle, spin rate, carry distance and flight time.

It also has a video capture mode that will overlay swing videos with the swing data of a specific swing. It is limited in its capabilities and its accuracy, though, which golfers should expect at this price point. All in all, it’s well worth the $499 price tag if you understand what you’re getting.

The Full Review

The FlightScope Mevo is a launch monitor powered by 3D Doppler radar. With a retail price of $499, it is obviously aimed to reach the end consumer as opposed to PGA professionals and club fitters.

The Mevo device itself is tiny. Like, really tiny. It measures 3.5-inches wide, 2.8-inches tall and 1.2-inches deep. In terms of everyday products, it’s roughly the size of an Altoids tin. It’s very easy to find room for it in your golf bag, and the vast majority of people at the range you may be practicing at won’t even notice it’s there. Apart from the Mevo itself, in the box you get a quick start guide, a charging cable, a carrying pouch, and some metallic stickers… more on those later. It has a rechargeable internal battery that reaches a full charge in about two hours and lasts for about four hours when fully charged.

As far as software goes, the Mevo pairs with the Mevo Golf app on your iOS or Android device. The app is free to download and does not require any subscription fees (unless you want to store and view videos of your swing online as opposed to using the memory on your device). The app is very easy to use even for those who aren’t tech savvy. Make sure you’re using the most current version of the firmware for the best results, though (I did experience some glitches at first until I did so). The settings menu does have an option to manually force firmware writing, but updates should happen automatically when you start using the device.

Moving through the menus, beginning sessions, editing shots (good for adding notes on things like strike location or wind) are all very easy. Video mode did give me fits the first time I used it, though, as it was impossible to maintain my connection between my phone and the Mevo while having the phone in the right location to capture video properly. The only way I could achieve this was by setting the Mevo as far back from strike location as the device would allow. Just something to keep in mind if you find you’re having troubles with video mode.

Screenshot of video capture mode with the FlightScope Mevo

Using the Mevo

When setting up the Mevo, it needs to be placed between 4-7 feet behind the golf ball, level with the playing surface and pointed down the target line. The distance you place the Mevo behind the ball does need to be entered into the settings menu before starting your session. While we’re on that subject, before hitting balls, you do need to select between indoor, outdoor, and pitching (ball flight less than 20 yards) modes, input your altitude and select video or data mode depending on if you want to pair your data with videos of each swing or just see the data by itself. You can also edit the available clubs to be monitored, as you will have to tell the Mevo which club you’re using at any point in time to get the best results. Once you get that far, you’re pretty much off to the races.

Testing the Mevo

I tested the FlightScope Mevo with Brad Bachand at Man O’ War Golf Center in Lexington, Kentucky. Brad is a member of the PGA and has received numerous awards for golf instruction and club fitting. I wanted to put the Mevo against the best device FlightScope has to offer and, luckily, Brad does use his $15,000 FlightScope X3 daily. We had both the FlightScope Mevo and Brad’s FlightScope X3 set up simultaneously, so the numbers gathered from the two devices were generated from the exact same strikes. Brad also set up the two devices and did all of the ball striking just to maximize our chances for success.

The day of our outdoor session was roughly 22 degrees Fahrenheit. There was some wind on that day (mostly right to left), but it wasn’t a major factor. Our setup is pictured below.

Outdoor testing setup with FlightScope X3 (foreground) and Mevo

The results of our outdoor testing are shown below. The testing was conducted with range balls, and we did use the metallic stickers. The range balls used across all the testing were all consistently the same brand. Man O’ War buys all new range balls once a year and these had been used all throughout 2017.  The 2018 batch had not yet been purchased at the time that testing was conducted.

Raw outdoor data captured with range balls including metallic stickers. Mevo data (blue) and X3 data (orange) were both generated from the same exact shots.

You’ll notice some peculiar data in the sand wedge spin category. To be honest, I don’t fully know what contributed to the X3 measuring such low values. While the Mevo’s sand wedge spin numbers seem more believable, you could visibly see that the X3 was much more accurate on carry distance. Below is a quick summary of the percent differences between each of the parameters as presented by the Mevo and the X3 in our outdoor session when separated out for each club. As previously mentioned, though, take sand wedge spin with a grain of salt.

Table showing the percent difference of each parameter between Mevo and X3 grouped by club (outdoor testing).

The first thing we noticed was that the Mevo displays its numbers while the golf ball is still in midair, so it was clear that it wasn’t watching the golf ball the entire time like the X3. According to the Mevo website, carry distance, height and flight time are all calculated while club speed, ball speed, launch angle and spin rate are measured. As for the accuracy of the measured parameters, the Mevo’s strength is ball speed. The accuracy of the other measured ball parameters (launch angle and spin rate) is questionable depending on certain factors (quality of strike, moisture on the clubface and ball, quality of ball, etc). I would say it ranges between “good” or “very good” and “disappointing” with most strikes being categorized as “just okay.”

As for the calculated parameters of carry distance, height and time, those vary a decent amount. Obviously, when the measurements of the three inputs become less accurate, the three outputs will become less accurate as a result. Furthermore, according to FlightScope, the Mevo’s calculations are not accounting for things like temperature, humidity, and wind. The company has also stated, though, that future updates will likely adjust for these parameters by using location services through the app.

Now, let’s talk about those metallic stickers. According to the quick start guide, the Mevo needs a sticker on every golf ball you hit, and before you hit each ball, the ball needs to be placed such that the sticker is facing the target. It goes without saying that it doesn’t sound like a whole lot of fun to spend time putting those stickers on every ball, let alone balls that will never come back to you if you’re at a public driving range. Obviously, people are going to want to avoid using the stickers if they can, so do they really matter? Below is a table of data showing the percent difference between the Mevo’s data and the X3’s data of what we collected outdoors with a driver and range balls with and without the use of the stickers.

Table showing how the percent difference of each parameter changes between Mevo and X3 when you use the metallic stickers and when you don’t

The FlightScope website says that the metallic stickers “are needed in order for the Mevo to accurately measure ball spin.” We observed pretty much the same as shown in the table above. The website also states they are working on alternative solutions to stickers (possibly a metallic sharpie), which I think is wise.

Another thing we thought would be worth testing is the impact of different golf balls. Below is a table of data showing the percent difference between the Mevo’s data and the X3’s data of what we collected outdoors with a driver and range balls as compared to Pro V1’s. All of this data was collected using the metallic stickers.

Table showing how the percent difference of each parameter changes between Mevo and X3 when you switch from range balls to Pro V1’s

As shown above, the data gets much closer virtually across the board when you use better quality golf balls. Just something else to keep in mind when using the Mevo.

Indoor testing requires 8 feet of ball flight (impact zone to hitting net), which was no problem for us. Our setup is pictured below. All of the indoor testing was conducted with Titleist Pro V1 golf balls using the metallic stickers.

Indoor testing setup with FlightScope X3 (foreground) and Mevo

The results of our indoor session are shown below.

Raw indoor data captured with Pro V1’s including metallic stickers. Mevo data (blue) and X3 data (orange) were both generated from the same exact shots.

Below is a quick summary of the percent differences between each of the parameters as presented by the Mevo and the X3 in our indoor session when separated out for each club.

Table showing the percent difference of each parameter between Mevo and X3 grouped by club (indoor testing)

On the whole, the data got much closer together between the two devices in our indoor session. I would think a lot of that can be attributed to the use of quality golf balls and to removing outdoor factors like wind and temperature (tying into my previous comment above).

As far as overall observations between all sessions, the most striking thing was that the Mevo consistently gets more accurate when you hit really good, straight shots. When you hit bad shots, or if you hit a fade or a draw, it gets less and less accurate.

The last parameter to address is club speed, which came in around 5 percent different on average between the Mevo and X3 based on all of the shots recorded. The Mevo was most accurate with the driver at 2.1 percent different from the X3 over all strikes and it was the least accurate with sand wedge by far. Obviously, smash factor accuracy will follow club speed for the most part since ball speed is quite accurate. Over every shot we observed, the percent difference on ball speed was 1.2 percent on average between the Mevo and the X3. Again, the Mevo was least accurate with sand wedges. If I remove all sand wedge shots from the data, the average percent difference changes from 1.2 percent to 0.7 percent, which is very, very respectable.

When it comes to the different clubs used, the Mevo was by far most accurate with mid irons. I confirmed this with on-course testing on a relatively flat 170-yard par-3 as well. Carry distances in that case were within 1-2 yards on most shots (mostly related to quality of strike). With the driver, the Mevo was reasonably close, but I would also describe it as generous. It almost always missed by telling me that launch angle was higher, spin rate was lower and carry distance was farther than the X3. Generally speaking, the Mevo overestimated our driver carries by about 5 percent. Lastly, the Mevo really did not like sand wedges at all. Especially considering those shots were short enough that you could visibly see how far off the Mevo was with its carry distance. Being 10 yards off on a 90 yard shot was disappointing.

Conclusion

The Mevo is a really good product if you understand what you’re getting when you buy it. Although the data isn’t good enough for a PGA professional, it’s still a useful tool that gives amateurs reasonable feedback while practicing. It’s also a fair amount more accurate than similar products in its price range, and I think it could become even better with firmware updates as Flightscope improves upon its product.

This is a much welcomed and very promising step forward in consumer launch monitors, and the Mevo is definitely worth a look if you’re in the market for one.

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Sergio Garcia WITB 2018

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Equipment is accurate as of the 2018 Honda Classic (2/20/2018).

Driver: Callaway Rogue Sub Zero (9 degrees)
Shaft: Mitsubishi KuroKage Dual Core 70TX

3 Wood: Callaway Rogue 3+ (13.5 degrees)
Shaft: Mitsubishi KuroKage XT 80TX

5 Wood: Callaway Rogue Sub Zero (18 degrees)
Shaft: Mitsubishi KuroKage XT 80TX

Irons: Callaway Apex Pro 16 (3, 4), Callaway Apex MB 18 (5-9 iron)
Shafts: Nippon Modus Tour 130x

Wedges: Callaway Mack Daddy 4 (48-10S, 54-10S, 58-08C)
Shafts: Nippon Modus Tour 130x

Putter: Odyssey Toulon Azalea
Grip: Super Stroke 1.0 SGP

Golf Ball: Callaway Chrome Soft

Related:

Discussion: See what GolfWRX members are saying about Garcia’s clubs.

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Gary Woodland WITB 2018

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Equipment is accurate as of the 2018 Honda Classic (2/19/2018).

Driver: TaylorMade M3 440 (9 degrees)
Shaft: Acra Tour-Z RPG

Fairway Woods: TaylorMade M2 2017 (15 degrees)
Shafts: Accra Tour-Zx 4100

Driving Iron: Titleist 716 T-MB (2)
Shaft: KBS Tour C-Taper 130 X

Irons: Titleist 716 MB (4-9)
Shafts: KBS Tour C-Taper Limited Edition Black PVD 130 X

Wedges: Titleist Vokey SM7 (48-10F, 52-08F, 56-10S), Callaway Mack Daddy PM Grind (60-10)
Shafts: KBS Tour C-Taper Limited X (48), KBS Hi-Rev Black PVD S-Flex (52, 56, 60)

Putter: Scotty Cameron Circle T 009
Grip: Scotty Cameron Pistol

Golf Ball: Bridgestone Tour B X

Related:

Discussion: See what GolfWRX members are saying about Woodland’s clubs. 

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