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.
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.”
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.