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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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What GolfWRXers are saying about Cleveland’s CBX2 wedges

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@clevelandgolfeu

In our forums, our members have been discussing Cleveland’s CBX2 wedges. WRXer ‘hammergolf’ wants to hear from single-digit players who are currently playing the wedges, and our members have been sharing their thoughts on the clubs with plenty of praise for the wedges in our forums.

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.

  • cfmgolf: “I am definitely a believer. Tried it on a whim at a PGA SuperStore in FL last fall and was stunned by the consistency of it. Changed from a RTX3 to the CBX2 in my 52* gap within a couple of weeks. Now that we are back in OH for the summer, I changed out 3 wedges (Ping Glide 3.0, and 2 of the RTX 4’s) for an entire bag of the CBX2’s. I am trying the full face in my 56* and found it to be very good also. Biggest benefit for me has been the consistency of the CBX line. Shots out of the rough that can be high on the club don’t really lose much – i.e. more forgiving. I go between a 6-8HCP, and short game is my strong point. Very happy with them so far.”
  • JCRay33: “6 handicap here and bought a couple CBX’s (54 and 58) from 2nd swing a couple months ago and absolutely love them! Way more forgiving than typical blade wedges (had vokeys before) and great feel as well. It’s easy for ego to get in the way and not want to get these, but once you realize, all that matters is performance the choice is a no-brainer and results speak for themselves really.”
  • mortimer: “CBX2 50. Excellent gap wedge for full, 3/4 shots and chipping. Forgiving, consistent and more than acceptable spin numbers. Also offset is fine to my eye. Having said all that I would not game a 58/60 degrees one if you like to manipulate the face for different shots around the green as I do. Intrigued though with the new full-face but have not seen one in person yet.”
  • Simp: “I have a set of 58, 54 & 50 raw CBX2’s allegedly tour issue, and I love them. The 58 has a grind that is lovely. I’m a 0 FYI.”
  • nicelife: “I have Srixon irons and Mizuno T20 wedges. I found the CBX2 50 was the perfect transition club between sets. LOVE the Srixon/Cleveland V-Sole. Visually the face has more grooves than I would normally like to look at, but its performance more than makes up for it. I really like the satin finish. So much so I’m thinking about refinishing my irons. Go for it you won’t be sorry.”

Entire Thread: “Cleveland’s CBX2 wedges”

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What GolfWRXers are saying about the best non-mainstream brands for golf apparel and accessories

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@linksstrathaven

In our forums, our members have been discussing non-mainstream brands offering the best apparel and accessories. WRXer ‘CousinDonuts’ kicked off the thread with a great selection, and our members have been mentioning their favorites in our forums – with a wide variety of different brand’s receiving a mention.

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.

  • Mike T: “Apparel: J Lindeberg – Euro Style cut and fit. Shoes: Lamda – Handmade in Portugal.”
  • aem604: “Reigning Champ-Good active but also golf ready.”
  • Righty to Lefty: “Fenix Xcell based out of Thailand and have great gear with an Asian twist. I absolutely love all the vivid colors and options, especially from their previous collections. They also have a U.S. based collection that may suit others. Cross Sportswear based out of Sweden and have so really nice gear and a rarity which is waterproof trousers that look exactly like slacks. Antigua polos are nice quality and have some good designs. Druh has really good gear…pricey but still nice stuff. Retailer: Function 18 has quite a bit of your higher-end apparel all in one place. I start there and then go to each website individually to see what else they have available.”
  • kmay_: “Check out Pioneer Golf Co, Canadian headcover brand. Make some awesome covers and valuables pouches, starting to release some branded apparel. Prices are super fair, and if you’re in the US, they’ll be a steal.”
  • ScottWS33: “Bluegrass Fairway for headcovers, valuables pouches and scorecard holders.”
  • BobsBugsBeGone: “Best Exotic Belts: Jacob Hill Leather by Piedmont.”

Entire Thread: “Best non-mainstream brands”

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Coming out of the haze: What to expect from the OEMs in the second half of 2020

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As we slowly come out of the lockdown haze, it’s going to be interesting to see which OEMs are primed to come out swinging. From where I sit, there are a few companies that either kept the foot on the pedal or found new ways to interact with the masses. I have been tracking the major companies for different reasons, and I am optimistic on most fronts. Now, it needs to be said that everyone has been keeping the respective momentum going in their own ways—this has been a challenge for everyone, so this analysis is simply a commentary on what may come in the second half of the year.

Many good folks were either furloughed or laid off during this lockdown—that’s where we all lost. It needs to be acknowledged that we are talking about golf here, but the underlying reality of this is still devastating. I so look forward to getting into the trenches with these folks again either back where they were or at new companies.

TaylorMade became educators…and kicked off live golf again

Big giant club company or big giant marketing machine…it doesn’t matter what you label them as. TaylorMade Golf, in my opinion, turned the heartbreak of stalling one of the biggest first quarters in company history into an opportunity to start talking…and teaching. With the help of the tour team and TM athletes, TaylorMade focused hard on talking to us all during the lockdown. With multiple initiatives through social media, the Driving Relief event, and the tour staff engaging way more than usual. I believe TM created a runway to start moving quickly once stores and pro shops open up again.

Let’s face it, with the social media presence, the most robust tour staff maybe ever, and the driver everyone seems to have reserved for the top big stick of 2020, what’s not to be confident about? On the flip side, a company that big could have really taken it on the chin hard, but how they handled the lockdown—from my chair—was fun to watch and will ultimately ensure a quick restart. There is something to be said about having guys like Trottie, Adrian, and Hause in the fold informing and keeping things fun.

Rumor has it new irons are dropping in the fall/winter, which could spell two awesome bookends to a bittersweet 2020.

PXG leaned in

Why online sales for all OEMs spiked is no mystery. Boredom, desire, and a credit card are keys to any great online buying experience, but PXG made certain that if you were not a buyer previously, you may be now.

The price tag has always been a key topic with Bob Parsons’ Scottsdale-based company. It’s no secret that the clubs aren’t cheap, but during this lockdown, they did multiple strategic initiatives to not only crank up direct-to-consumer buying but also expand the PXG conversation into different areas, namely fashion.

Price cuts across the board started early and, rumor has it, enabled PXG to achieve sales numbers unlike any other period in the company’s short history. Yes, cutting prices helps unit sales, but in the case of PXG, it brought in the club customer that ordinarily shied away from PXG for financial reasons and ultimately made them buyers. That’s where PXG seems to shine, once they finally get you in, they are very effective at keeping you in the family. Mercedes-Benz AMG is like that: once you have had a taste of the Kool-Aid, it’s hard to go back to Hawaiian Punch.

In addition to the aggressive price-cutting, PXG fashion, spearheaded by President Renee Parsons, launched a new collection that is designed and manufactured by PXG. Fashion in times like these is always a risk from a financial standpoint, but this launch has been on the calendar since the BOY and the current lockdown did not disrupt that. It speaks to the confidence that Bob and Renee have in what they are doing. Now, is it a guarantee that PXG garments will fly off the shelves? No. but that’s not the point, it’s the fact that this current climate didn’t scare them into pivoting or holding off.

Point to this pick is PXG looks healthy coming out of this and it was possible to believe that perhaps this would have taken a toll on the custom fit brand. There is even a commercial produced during lockdown to attract even more club builders to the fold. Not normal behavior in times like these, but is anything that PXG does normal? No, and that’s what makes them fun to talk about.

The company also released its Essential Facemask with 50 percent of proceeds going to Team Rubicon.

Ping was quiet…but don’t be fooled

Yes, they did some rare social media engagements with Kenton Oates and the tour staff, which were fantastic. But the real magic here was the quiet way in which Ping slipped into 2020 and the mystery they have in hand and what’s to come next.

There hasn’t been really any new Ping product in a good while, and I anticipate a big winter for the Solheim crew. Sometimes, silence is golden and from what I can gather, what Ping has coming in irons and woods will be yet again a launch that gets people talking.

Ping from a business standpoint is a company that gets one percent better every year. Never any dramatic shifts in strategy or product. It’s always good, it’s always high-performance, and it’s always in the “best of” category across the board.

Watch out for them over the next six to nine months…a storm is brewing. A good one.

Cobra introduced the “Rickie iron”

Cobra Rev 33 Irons

Compared to 2019 and the runaway success that was the F9 driver, Cobra Golf seemed to cruise along in the first quarter of 2020. The SpeedZone metal wood line was an improvement tech-wise from the F9 but seemed to get lost in the driver launch shuffle with an earlier release—and frankly everyone in the industry took a back seat to TaylorMade’s SIM.

It’s not placing one stick over the other actually, I have been very vocal about my affections for both, it’s just some years, the story around a club can generate excitement, and if the club is exceptional, boom. Cobra was that cool kid in 2019.

What Cobra decided to do in the downtime is slowly tease and taunt with a “Rickie Fowler” iron. Players blades aren’t typically the driving element of any business model, but what Cobra did was introduce to a beautiful yet completely authentic forging that will not only get the gear heads going nuts but also entice the better players to start looking at Cobra as a serious better players iron company. No small feat.

Point is, Cobra has generated buzz. It helped that Rickie’s performance at Seminole was just short of a precision clinic. Beyond the Rev 33, its rumored Cobra has a new players CB coming and some MIM wedges.

It should be an exciting last half for the Cobra crew.

The Titleist train chugged on

I mean, what else is there to say about Titleist? They are as American as apple pie, have a stranglehold on multiple tour and retail categories, and one of the best front offices in golf. The company is a well-oiled machine.

So what do I expect from them in the last half? Well pretty much what I would expect on any other year, solid player-driven equipment. A metal wood launch is coming, the SM8 was a huge hit in stores and on tour, and the ball portion is the biggest 800-pound gorilla in golf.

It was also nice to see a little more social media interaction beyond the traditional. Aaron Dill has been very active on the social media front and a good portion of the tour staff, namely Poulter, JT, and Homa were proactive in engagement. Might seem trivial to some, but specifically, Titleist and Ping are not super active in the organic interaction game, so it was nice to see both companies dive into the fold.

Cleveland/Srixon should have a lot to look forward to

Let’s be honest here, 2019 was a quiet year overall for Srixon. Shane Lowry won The Open, but in the golf mainstream it was a leap year for them in regards to any launches. The anticipation from me personally of what is to come is quite strong. I adore the irons. I have yet to meet one I didn’t love, and fitters across the country will speak to that in sales. The Srixon iron line has become a popular yet-sort-of-cult-classic among fitters and gearheads and rightly so. They are phenomenal.

The recently teased picture of the new driver on the USGA site more or less teased us of what is to come for the overall line. New Cleveland wedges are coming shortly and the golf ball has always been a solid component to the Huntington Beach company.

As much as anyone in the market, I believe Srixon could finish the year with some serious momentum going into 2021. The irons and ball have always been firestarters. My only wish for them, selfishly, is a more aggressive tour strategy in regards to landing one of the perennial top 10. It seems like a dumb thought, but I have always felt Cleveland/Srixon was always a serious hitter that at times seems to get lost in the conversation. Having a big gun on staff or a couple of them will remedy that quickly.

Callaway has an eye on big things for the golf ball

Callaway, a company that seems to do it all well, was actually a bit quiet since the lockdown started. After a solid release of the Mavrik line and some momentum in the golf ball area, I’m sure this lockdown probably felt like a kick to the shin.

However, this company is shifting in a good way. The idea that they were a golf club company that happened to make golf balls is slowly turning into a company with multiple major components that stand alone. TaylorMade is on a similar shift, and honestly it’s very interesting to watch. Do I think that anyone will ever catch Titleist in the ball category? No, I don’t. All of these mentioned golf balls are ridiculously good, but 75 years of trust and loyalty are hard to compete with. But that’s not the point, Callaway is a monster company that takes the golf ball conversation very seriously, and I believe this will serve them very well coming out of this craziness and help the momentum going into 2021.

 

 

 

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