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Member Reviews: Callaway Steelhead XR Fairway Woods

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One of the many benefits of being a GolfWRX Forum Member is exclusive access to Giveaways and Testing Threads. In this Testing Thread, we selected six members to test a Callaway Steelhead XR fairway wood built to their specs.

CallawaySteelheadXRwoods-1021x580

The Steelhead XR has a club face made of steel for that familiar Steelhead feel. The crowns are made from J-36 carbon fiber to lower center of gravity and move it more forward; that will help it produce lower spin like the original designs that sold 2.3 million units. According to Callaway, the crowns weigh just 6 grams — that’s 20 grams lighter than Callaway’s XR ’16 fairway wood crowns.

Full Tech Story: Callaway upgrades a classic, introduces Steelhead XR fairway woods

The Steelhead XR fairways 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 were first introduced in Callaway XR ’16 metalwoods. They improve aerodynamics to help golfers produce higher swing speeds.

Each member completed a detailed analysis and rating of the club. You can see the full reviews here. Below, we pull quotes from the reviews to give you a feel for what this choice group of WRXers had to say. The responses have been minimally edited for brevity and style. Thanks to all of those involved in the testing!

lutomrSC

  • Club Tested: Callaway Steelhead XR (13.5 degrees)
  • Shaft Tested: Mitsubishi Tensei CK Blue 65X

“I like almost everything about how this club looks. The color combination of the dark blue against the steel face gives a nice contract. I really like how the carbon fiber looks under the blue paint.”

“At times the ball appeared to have a little too much spin and would tend to climb to a height that would be above my current gamer off the tee. It would tend to go further because of the stronger loft, however, usually about 5-7 yards. Perhaps a different shaft could help the spin, but it would need testing. The Mitsubishi Tensei CK Blue 65 Graphite X-flex is a great stock option. It has a good feel and a weight that I prefer, and I think it can keep up with higher swing speeds without issue.”

SDickenson642

  • Club Tested: Callaway Steelhead XR 4+ (16 degrees)
  • Shaft Tested: Mitsubishi Tensei CK Blue 65X

“The appearance of the Steelhead is amazing. The shape is perfect for my eye, as I prefer a smaller profile down by the ball in fairway woods. The face is pretty deep compared to my [Cobra] Fly-Z+ I’ve been playing for three years now. The sound is amazing off the head. I never had the privilege of playing the original Steelhead fairways, but it does remind me of the original woods I played as a kid, which I think where Tommy Armour 845’s.”

“With the deeper face of the Steelhead XR, I thought I would have issues launching the ball from the deck on par 5s, but I did not see any issue. Turf interaction with the Steelhead was great. I was able to try multiple lies from the fairway, rough, and even a bunker. From the fairway I could easily control it and actually get the ball up in the air enough and with enough spin to hold greens.”

MillerLowLife

  • Club Tested: Callaway Steelhead XR 4+ (16 degrees)

“The top of this club looks awesome at address. I really liked the look of the crown that is a dark blue and shows the carbon fiber underneath. That, coupled with the silver steel face, makes it easy to frame the ball. This is a steel club so the sound and feel will be a sharper metal sound that’s accustomed to the old Steelheads. Has great swing weight and feel. Felt really easy to hit this in the tee box, fairway, or rough.”

“I really enjoyed the versatility of the 4+ with the shorter playing length, heavier swing weight, and flatter lie angle. For me, it felt like a bomber off the tee box, but it was still something I could use to get me out of less-than-ideal lies outside of the fairway —  something I wouldn’t think about with my current gamer.”

Hackster

  • Club Tested: Callaway Steelhead XR 4+ (16 degrees)

“This club is all business. Longer than my 3-wood, flies higher and able to work the ball left and right. On the tee, the ball jumps forward when it hits fairway. Does not lose much distance on off-center hits.”

“Long off the fairway, just put on cruise control and fire away. I struggle in the rough with any fairway wood, so not much to compare to — that’s what hybrids are for. Love this club. Had concerns where it would fit in the bag, but easily able to replace my 14.5-degree 3-wood with the 4+. Much more versatile than my current 3-wood and longer.”

drifliboy

  • Club Tested: Callaway Steelhead XR 3+ (13.5 degrees)

“This club with the lower loft of the 3+ worked well for me off the tee. It was close to my driver on distance. It seemed to launch quickly and then maintain its height. It did not balloon for me. It also really seemed to want to go straight, a couple of times shots almost seemed to correct a little in the air, particularly if I had pushed it. This club at this loft is pretty much a driver replacement for me.”

“If you are looking for a very classy fairway wood that is solid, long, with some forgiveness and doesn’t look like it was developed by a “mad” scientist, this club should be on your short list. It works well off the tee and turf. Please test and get fitted for the right loft and flex. I think this club provides most golfers with very good options that should be considered if they are looking to upgrade any of their woods.”

Discussion: Read the full responses here.

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22 Comments

22 Comments

  1. TG

    Sep 16, 2017 at 5:38 pm

    The X2 Hot pro 3 wood is still one of my favorites from cally. I’m too young to have played with the original steelheads but the X2 Hot still has a place in my bag!

    • Nick

      Sep 18, 2017 at 2:13 am

      Thanks for telling us the X2 Hot Pro is your “favorite from Cally”… and that you’re “young” and it’s “in my bag”. You must be a happy happy boy… now seek human contact.

  2. JJVas

    Sep 15, 2017 at 8:53 pm

    Bought the XR 4+ because I loved the old Steelheads, and I tried it with 3 different shafts, starting with the Tensei 65-X that was too light. This is THE BEST looking FW to my eyes because I have no trouble getting the ball up and hate shallow heads. I cannot remember wanting a club to work quite so badly, but it just didn’t for some reason, and I gave it every shot. I’m back to my Srixon F45 that I can set a bit open, but man… I’m still sad about this one. They look perfect.

    • Nick

      Sep 18, 2017 at 2:10 am

      So you just bought it because they “look perfect” and you “loved the old Steelheads”, and you are “getting the ball up”, and you “want it so badly”. Do you sleep with the club too?

  3. Keith

    Sep 15, 2017 at 2:20 pm

    I’ve had a 2014 SLDR 3-wood in the bag since, well, 2014. Wanted to give these steelhead’s a look so went to my local shop and got mine and the steelhead on the monitor. They only had a 3+ (13.5d) so I set my SLDR on the low setting of 13.5d as well. Steelhead had the stock X in it, my SLDR has the Speeder 77 X in it.

    Average on 5 balls was 268 with my SLDR, 255 for the Steelhead. Slightly higher launch with the steelhead and a bit more spin. After seeing the numbers, guy told me that even if I wanted it, he wouldn’t sell it to me.

    • BO

      Sep 15, 2017 at 8:36 pm

      Talk to Swingman/Jerry below who claims they’re the greatest he’s ever hit and they make him feel good all over.

  4. LLC

    Sep 14, 2017 at 1:21 am

    Isn’t “Steelhead” somewhat misleading given the carbon fiber construction?
    Perhaps a more accurate name would be “Compositehead”XR.

  5. OBSERVVANT

    Sep 13, 2017 at 8:03 pm

    I’M FLICKING TIRED OF LOOKING AT “NEW & IMPROVED & $$$$$” FLICKING GOLF CLUBS!!!!
    ShTFU ALREADY !!!!!!

    • Casa Nova

      Sep 13, 2017 at 8:18 pm

      Hey, it’s called progressive planned obsolescence as golf technology rapidly creates longer and better golf clubs for the grateful golfing public. What are you, some kind of luddite who can’t keep up with newer and better golf club developments?

      • BO

        Sep 14, 2017 at 5:25 pm

        It’s called scamming adult men with childish mentalities buying new toys.

  6. Swingman/Jerry

    Sep 13, 2017 at 6:10 pm

    I’ve played them since mid- July. Great fairways off the tee and deck. The rounded, cambered sole does help you out of difficult lies. Be aggressive and you will get distance and a mid to high flight. You ought to have at least the 5 wood in the bag – very long, and more consistent than the 3 wd, with almost as much distance. Give it a go.

    • BO

      Sep 14, 2017 at 5:27 pm

      No thanks, Cally/Jerry, now go back to work and stop promoting yer clubs.

      • Swingman/Jerry

        Sep 15, 2017 at 11:16 am

        Just a regular guy on golfwrx. Steelheads are versatile and long. Prefer them over Epic.

        • BO

          Sep 15, 2017 at 8:32 pm

          Yer an obvious shill for Callaway. Nobody believes your propaganda feelings.

          • Swingman/Jerry

            Sep 17, 2017 at 1:31 pm

            LOL! I only wish Callaway was paying me in Product or $$$

    • Jerry

      Nov 4, 2017 at 4:19 pm

      I like the feel of the Tensei – smooth and lively. At the same time, the 55 feels a bit whippy for the flex. If you are having issues and like the head, try another shaft, which is what I’m doing.

  7. OX

    Sep 13, 2017 at 4:31 pm

    Just kidding, I’ll take 3!

  8. OX

    Sep 13, 2017 at 2:51 pm

    Nice to read the comments from golf store and Cally employees. Sorry, boys, but I will not be buying those beautiful Steelheads because my 5 y.o. clubs are still working fine for me.

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Equipment

Fred Couples signs with Bettinardi, will continue to use FCB putter

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Fred Couples has been using his namesake Bettinardi putter, the FCB (Fred Couples Blade), for the past four years. Now, he’s officially joining Bettinardi’s Tour staff.

Couples, who has won 15 times on the PGA Tour and 13 times on the PGA Tour Champions, will putt exclusively with the company’s flatsticks.

(Photo by Drew Hallowell/Getty Images)

“I’m really looking forward to representing Bettinardi and its beautiful range of hand-made putters, as they always give me great confidence when I’m standing over putts,” said Fred. “Having won 5 times already with a Bettinardi putter, there’s nothing I’d rather be putting with.

Couples averaged 1.70 putts per hole when playing in 12 events with the Bettinardi wand last year.

“Having Fred Couples join our Tour staff is a massive endorsement for Bettinardi Golf,” said founder Robert Bettinardi. “We’re so proud and excited to welcome him to our growing Tour staff. I’m sure he will prove to be a great ambassador for our brand, as he attracts huge crowds and media attention wherever he plays.”

Here’s a look at Boom Boom’s FCB putter.

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Odyssey’s new EXO 2-Ball, Works Red and Black, and Toulon putters

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There’s one thing Odyssey has never struggled with: giving golfers options. Today, the company launched a trunk-full of new putters, including eight Works Red and Black putters, Toulon Atlanta and Portland models, and an Odyssey EXO 2-Ball putter that gives the classic 2-ball design a very new, and premium look.

Most of the new putters, actually, are mallets. More specifically, they are mallets that Odyssey says feel like blade putters; that’s because they’re made with toe hang (like a blade putter) rather than face-balanced designs of typical mallets. Toe hang frees up the face of a putter to open and close, a stroke-style that many golfers employ — amateurs and pros alike.

According to Austie Rollinson, chief designer of Odyssey, there’s been a trend of blade users on Tour switching into mallets because of this toe hang, and that will continue to happen. Odyssey says that of the PGA Tour wins last year, 29 winners used mallets — 14 of those were mallets with toe hang — while there were 20 blade winners. Also, of the top-50 in Strokes Gained: Putting, 31 players used mallets, 13 of which were toe-hang mallets, and 19 players used blades.

Therefore, many of the new putters from Odyssey are toe-hang mallets. Check out all of the new putters below, with info on design, pricing and release dates.

Discussion: See what GolfWRX members are saying about the new putters here

Odyssey Works Red and Black putters

 

The new Works Red and Black putters — adding on to the line of putters released in 2017 — continue to use microhinge face inserts that are designed to “grab” the ball to impart more topspin on the golf ball to get it rolling faster. The new offerings launched today include a No. 1 Wide S, No. 1 Tank, No. 7 Tank, 2-Ball Fang, Marxman, Marxman S, Jailbird Mini and Jailbird Mini S.

They will sell for $199 with a standard Winn AVS midsize pistol grip, and $219 with a SuperStroke grip starting on February 23.

See more photos and join the discussion about the Works Red and Black putters here.

Odyssey EXO 2-Ball

The new EXO 2-Ball, made with Rose Gold PVD, is a premium version of the iconic 2-ball shape. It’s CNC-milled with a microhinge insert, has an aluminum crown with a steel sole plate and Tungsten in the rear portion of the head. The EXO 2-ball also has black circles instead of the familiar white color for which 2-balls are known.

According to Odyssey, it’s a “statement product,” and it will only sell 5,000 of these putters globally. They will sell for $499.99 starting on February 2.

Odyssey says: “Our new Odyssey EXO 2-Ball is a premium limited edition putter unlike any we’ve ever offered. It combines one of the game’s most innovative and iconic putter designs with top-notch materials and meticulous production to create something truly special.”

Toulon Atlanta and Portland

Odyssey’s premium putter brand continues dipping its toes in the mallet style with its new mid-mallet Atlanta and Portland models. They have gunmetal finishes and are 100-percent milled from soft, 303 stainless steel. They also have Toulon’s familiar diamond-milled faces for improved roll.

The Atlanta and Portland models will sell for $399.99 apiece and hit retail on February 2.

Discussion: See what GolfWRX Members are saying about the Toulon Atlanta putter here

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Callaway launches Rogue, Rogue Pro and Rogue X irons and hybrids

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With its new line of Rogue irons — consisting of Rogue, Rogue Pro and Rogue X models — Callaway continues its search to answer a conundrum that’s plagued game-improvement irons for years; how do you make an iron that produces great ball speed without sacrificing sound and feel. The dilemma is that in order to increase ball speeds, engineers must make the faces of the irons thinner. The problem is, the thinner they make the faces, the more vibration is caused at impact, creating a longer-lasting, higher-pitched sound. Very few golfers want that off-putting, clicky sound, but they do want the ball speed and distance.

So, that’s why companies are experimenting with different materials and injections between the faces of game-improvement irons and their bodies. That buffer creates a dampening effect to reduce vibration, while still allowing faces to be constructed thinner to raise COR (coefficient of restitution, a measure of energy transfer) and ball speed. Companies such as PXG irons use TPE injections, and TaylorMade uses SpeedFoam in its new P-790 irons; Callaway says those constructions either constrict speed, or they don’t have a profound enough effect on vibrations.

For its Rogue irons that are made from 17-4 stainless steel, Callaway is using what it calls urethane microspheres, which are essentially little balls of urethane that it combines together, in the cavities of its irons. The difference between these spheres and other foams and materials on the market, according to Callaway, is that the material is porous. Callaway says the microspheres work to dampen sound without negatively effecting ball speed.

A look at the inside of a Rogue iron, via Callaway’s photography

The inner material in the cavity works in tandem with familiar technologies from previous iron releases such as Apex, Epic and Steelhead XR. Callaway says it has improved upon its VFT (variable face thickness) and Face Cup technologies, focusing on thinning out portions of the face where golfers tend to miss shots — low on the face, on the heel and on the toe. Each of the Rogue irons also uses Internal Standing Wave by way of Tungsten-infused weights that help control the center of gravity (CG) in the club heads; that means centering the overall weight between the scoring lines, and controlling where the CG is placed vertically throughout a given set (re: higher on the short irons for more control and spin, and lower on the long irons for more height).

For the consumer, all of this means getting performance-driven irons at a lower price compared to the Epic and Epic Pro irons. Each of the irons will be available for pre-sale on January 19, and come to retail on February 9. Read on for more info on each of the specific irons, and the Rogue and Rogue X hybrids that introduce Callaway’s Jailbreak technology into hybrids for the first time.

Discussion: See what GolfWRX members are saying about the Rogue irons and hybrids in our forums.

Rogue irons ($899.99 steel, $999.99 graphite)

Callaway’s Rogue irons are the standard model in this line of irons, equipped with all of the technologies described above. According to Callaway, these are essentially Steelhead XR replacements, but have more compact shapes. In the Steelhead XR irons, Callaway used a wider profile in order to center CG between the scoring lines, but due to the inclusion of the Tungsten-infused weights in the Rogue irons, it was able to shape the irons more similar to XR and X-Hot irons of the past — more preferable shapes for GI irons, according to Callaway.

Stock shafts include True Temper’s XP105 steel shaft, and Aldila’s Synergy graphite shaft.

Rogue Pro irons ($999.99)

The Rogue Pro irons, as you may expect, have a more compact shape, thinner toplines and thinner soles than their standard-model-counterparts. Therefore, the Pro design will yield more control that better players will prefer, but they are still packed with all of the performance-enhancing technologies of the Rogue irons. They also have a chrome plating that better players may be drawn to.

Rogue X irons ($899.99 steel, $999.99 graphite)

Callaway described the Rogue X irons to me as “bomber irons.” They have lofts that are 3-to-4 degrees stronger than the standard Rogue irons, and they have longer lengths and lighter overall weights, but according to Callaway, they will still launch in the same window iron-for-iron (re: a 7-iron will launch like a 7-iron). Despite cranking down the lofts, they have bigger profiles, wider soles and more offset; those designs work to drag CG rearward, which helps to increase launch.

Combine that design with the Rogue’s VFT, Face Cups, Internal Standing Wave and urethane microspheres, and the result is an iron that’s “all about distance,” according to Callaway.

Rogue and Rogue X hybrids ($249.99 apiece)

As noted previously, the Rogue and Rogue X hybrids include Callaway’s Jailbreak technology. Like Callaway’s Rogue fairway woods, they use stainless steel bars behind the face instead of the titanium bars that are used in the Rogue drivers. Also, like all of the other Callaway clubs that use Jailbreak, the idea of the design is that two parallel bars inside the club head connect the sole with crown help to add strength to the body at impact, allowing the faces to be constructed thinner, thus, create more ball speed across the face. The Rogue and Rogue X hybrids also have Callaway’s familiar Face Cup technology.

The standard Rogue goes up to a 6-hybrid, while the oversized, Rogue X “super hybrid” goes up to an 8-hybrid. Similar to the Rogue X irons, the Rogue X hybrids have an oversized construction, a lighter overall weight, and longer lengths. The goal with these Rogue X hybrids is to create higher launching, more forgiving and longer hybrid options for golfers who need help getting the ball in the air.

Discussion: See what GolfWRX members are saying about the Rogue irons and hybrids in our forums.

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