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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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WRX Spotted: PXG TS6 Proto

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When it comes to PGA Tour players moonlighting as hardcore GolfWRXers, Ryan Moore would be a top candidate — from his rotating irons to what can only be described as a colossal amount of putter changes in his career he really is “one of us” …except for the fact that he gets to play for millions of dollars each week. It’s probably the reason he’s honestly one of my favorite players to watch!

What also makes Ryan Moore even more interesting is that he was the VERY first PXG Staff player – Troop Number 1! Being on a smaller tour staff certainly has its benefits, including the ability to have real input on prototypes and to have a la carte options when it comes to clubs, and in this case a new putter.

I give you the PROTO Gen2 TS6 a new putter we spotted at the Quicken Loans Classic this week in Detroit — just a short trip from the WRX offices (how could we not spot something new right?). It obviously has some similarities to another classic design, but in the world of putters, if it ain’t broke don’t fix it.

What makes the new putter uniquely PXG is are all the features it has from the Gen2 line

  • Interchangeable hosel design allows for multiple toe hang and appearance options
  • Milled face design increases ball speed consistency across the face
  • Weights in the bottom also allow for varying head weights
  • it’s 100% milled for a solid block of steel

With all things PXG, now that they have the CAD file up and running, I believe it’s just a matter of time before this will be added to the already popular line up of Gen2 putters, but…only time will tell.

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WRX Spotlight: Stitch SL2 bag

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Founded in 2011, Stitch Golf has been making some of the highest quality and most popular accessories in the game. From head covers to personal travel bags, the company philosophy of “it’s all in the details” shines through with all of the products.

The latest creation is the all-new SL2 carry bag — Stitch is calling it “the perfect walking bag.” After taking the SL2 out for a few spins around the course, it’s hard to argue with them. What you also notice right away is the styling screams Stitch.

When I spoke with CEO Brad King, we talked about how much focus they put into every detail beyond just the functionality.

“The SL2 is modeled to look just like our tour bag, except a lot lighter and obviously easier to carry for the weekend golfing warrior,” King said. “Also, like a lot of our product,s it takes color cues from racing, which is why Stitch blue, orange, and navy are prominent.”

Brad used the term “golfing warrior” a few times in our discussion, and he said it epitomizes the idea of someone who takes their golf seriously, walks, maybe even plays 36 a day, and wants functionality from their golf bag — while also looking extremely sharp.

You can tell this is a Stitch bag from across the range, or a few holes over on the course, which means from a styling perspective “mission accomplished.”

So, about that functionality…

As a walker, there are certain key features I want in a bag to even consider it, but those features can vary depending on how and when I plan to use the bag (having a couple of golf bags is a luxury, I know). If it’s a small Sunday bag, then a limited space, single strap design with a few small yet functional pockets, is all I really need. If we’re talking a full-blown tournament or travel option, extra space for rain gear, gloves, range finder and all the other goodies including a double strap is almost a must…plus it has to fit easily on both a pushcart and riding cart.

The Stitch SL2 skews right in the middle and here’s why: It’s just about perfect

  • Comes in right a 4lbs
  • Minimal yet well designed pockets hold more than enough gear for 18 holes or more.
  • It’s almost completely water resistant thanks to Stitch’s Touring Fabric, a proprietary product used in all their bags that has the strength of leather, but is more durable & wear resistant. It also feels extremely sturdy.
  • Large, well-padded top easily holds 14 clubs and doesn’t “mush” you putter cover up (HUGE pet peeve of mine)
  • Straps that can be configured for both single or double use. It comes with both options stock and is easily interchangeable thanks to the pinch clips.

Ball Pocket and Zippered Water Bottle pouch

Velvet lined pocket to hold a watch or valuables

Base sits almost flush and is very stable – never noticed clubs getting tangled

I told you the top was BIG

Now I realize you don’t come to GolfWRX for fluff pieces, you come for honesty, and I wouldn’t be doing my job without pointing out a few things that could be improved on, as nitpicky as they might be.

  • The bag sits a little upright. If you have to place it on a side hill you just have to take an extra moment to make sure it’s balanced before letting it go (not a huge deal).
  • The rain hood (which is AWESOME and matches the bag) is bulky, and if you do cram it into the large side pouch it doesn’t leave much room for anything else. It means really planning ahead if you think you’ll be playing in wet weather. BUT on the other hand, I think I’ve used a rain hood twice in the last 5 years (I don’t normally carry one anyway), so this is in NO way a deal breaker.
  • Limited padding where the bag rests against your back. Personally, I don’t find this a big deal since most bags in the minimalist category have very little padding if any, but in the spirit of a full breakdown its just part of making sure I point out everything I noticed while testing it. The fabric used is so thick it still made it comfortable to carry for 18 holes.

Overall the Stitch SL2 really is a wonderful bag. The styling is top notch, the fabrics and build quality are premium, and every touchpoint screams high-end and built-to-last. The best way to sum up the SL2 is to compare it to a sporty coup roadster: stylish, light, fun, fast, functional, and something others will notice. The trunk isn’t enormous, but it’s not meant to be. It holds everything you really need, plus a couple of extras,  and considering how much fun you have making corners in this car (or making birdies carrying the bag), at the end of the day, you’re going to enjoy the heck out of it.

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Forum Thread of the Day: “European Tour looking into an incident involving Matt Wallace and his caddie from the BMW International Open”

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Today’s Forum Thread of the Day surrounds an incident involving Matt Wallace and his caddie, Dave McNeilly, which occurred on Sunday at the European Tour’s BMW International Open. After hitting a shot in the water on 18, Wallace appeared irate with his caddie, which incensed many of our members, as well as plenty of social media users.

According to bunkered.co.uk, the European Tour stated in an email to the publication that they are looking into the incident over allegations of abuse.

A limited number of clips of the incident have surfaced online.

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.

  • buckeyefl: “Sky Sports analyst Rich Beem: ‘I’m sorry, but I just don’t enjoy watching that. I know you’re intense but get over yourself.’”
  • Steele47: “Just looked at Wallace’s twitter. He congratulates the winner Andrea Pavan and also noteworthy, makes a point to compliment Pavan’s caddie. LOL.”
  • OldTomMorris: “It’s a pattern with Wallace that he goes after his caddy so often like this and golf commentators, analysts even fans have picked up on this. There has to be a base level of respect and decency; it appears that Wallace often falls short of that.”
  • golfgirlrobin: “He’s getting roasted on his own Twitter account. People don’t seem that amused.”

Entire Thread: “European Tour looking into an incident involving Matt Wallace and his caddie from the BMW International Open”

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