Callaway Steelhead XR Irons Review

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JB

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War Eagle

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Solid review, James. Forgiveness and distance, everything I look for.
 

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Nice review JMan, big fan of the looks, price, tech and forgiveness.


I also like seeing the stronger lofts there. The XP is a great shaft pairing as well for that iron.
 

mikedean441

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Great in depth review as always James. Will be curious to see peoples thoughts as more and more people try these out.
 

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Nice write up, Jman! These are high on my ponder list heading into December. During your testing, how do you think the finish held up?
 

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Great in depth review as always James. Will be curious to see peoples thoughts as more and more people try these out.
As will I , especially those who have, or have in the past, played the XR's. For me, I'm not sure there is enough of a jump there to merit a move from those if so, but a lot of that could also be that I personally prefer the more traditional look of the XR as well as the sound/feel off those.

Nice write up, Jman! These are high on my ponder list heading into December. During your testing, how do you think the finish held up?
Really it was as expected. The polished finish will show wear and brushing faster than a satin, and thats why I have always wished companies would move towards more satin on these types of irons. Its really no better or worse than one would anticipate.
 

TripleBogieTim

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Nice writeup James...these are definitely on my ponder list right now....need to upgrade my Speedbladez to something new....I am looking at the CF16, the XR's and now the steelhead....is there a huge difference in feel and sound between these 3?
 

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Nice writeup James...these are definitely on my ponder list right now....need to upgrade my Speedbladez to something new....I am looking at the CF16, the XR's and now the steelhead....is there a huge difference in feel and sound between these 3?
I personally think the CF16 are lightyears ahead of the Speedblades, XR, and the Steelheads. Lightyears.

As for the others, I prefer the XR over the Steelheads surprisingly, it has less of a higher pitched sharpness to it at impact. But, I do believe if its someone who is nostalgic about the Steelhead shape, they will really enjoy the MASSIVE tech and performance jump from the last time we saw a similar shape at market from Callaway.
 

TripleBogieTim

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I personally think the CF16 are lightyears ahead of the Speedblades, XR, and the Steelheads. Lightyears.

As for the others, I prefer the XR over the Steelheads surprisingly, it has less of a higher pitched sharpness to it at impact. But, I do believe if its someone who is nostalgic about the Steelhead shape, they will really enjoy the MASSIVE tech and performance jump from the last time we saw a similar shape at market from Callaway.
Thanks bro......sound and feel are a big deal to me....so it's either the XR's or the CF16's...I love the XR's...haven't hit the CF16's

Maybe by the time I am ready to pull the trigger the price on the CF16's will come down a little.
 

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Nice review Jman, think you hit the nail on the head in terms of performance. I have been playing mine for over a month now. I enjoy them, and they do exactly what they are designed to do, get the ball up in the air and go a long ways, and are very forgiving across the face. They do all this while not looking overly bulky, but yes they are a bit thick, but in line appearance wise with similar irons. I do find myself contemplating a move to the Apex CF16s in December, but that is only because I am leaning towards going back to more a players style look. These are a wonderful GI iron from Callaway that should be a big hit for them.
 

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As will I , especially those who have, or have in the past, played the XR's. For me, I'm not sure there is enough of a jump there to merit a move from those if so, but a lot of that could also be that I personally prefer the more traditional look of the XR as well as the sound/feel off those.



Really it was as expected. The polished finish will show wear and brushing faster than a satin, and thats why I have always wished companies would move towards more satin on these types of irons. Its really no better or worse than one would anticipate.
Good point on the satin finish. This is what always draws me to try Ping G series irons. I love that essentially years from now the soles still look the same for the most part. Another reason why I usually don't even pick up Cally irons (because of the chrome finish).
I play Altitude irons and they sort of have a chrome-ish looking sole when new but the more I game them they have migrated to more of a satin nickel type look.
 

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Nice review. A bit straighter but no longer than the XR's that I have now though, so I'm not sure these will make it to my bag when I get new(er) irons. Being distance-challenged, that's what's first on my list whether it's irons or woods.


But they look great, and if I hadn't gotten what I have now, I wouldn't hesitate on these.
 

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I've been hitting these on a couple of LMs and had a full fitting the other day.

For me, they are noticeably better performing than the CF16, XR, XR Pro, Z545 and G30, all of which I have owned.

The spin is lower than all of them, but the height is higher.

I gained (according to Trackman) 14 metres over my G30s, with much tighter dispersion. According to the fitter this was also down to the shaft (Steelfiber i95) but I had similar results with the XP95.

I also think the sound and feel are improved over the XR, which always felt and sounded hard and 'clacky' to me.

And I like that whilst the offset isn't as low as I'd like, it is still the same as the CF16 and much less than the regular XR.

So I liked them enough that for the first time in living memory I actually shelled out for a brand new set rather than buying used.

The hybrids seem to work as well.
 

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After testing the Steelhead Xr for several rounds I found I preferred 2015 Xr irons . The Xr's were a better fit for my game over the SH.
Distance was pretty much the same maybe the XR were a shade longer , likely the shaft fit me better . I found the SH louder and felt harder which I didn't care for .
I would like to find a set of Apex cf16 to put up against my XR's.
gb
 

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Had a personal fitting with a Callaway tour fitter on Monday with trackman and every other amazing thing you could think of. I was able to choose and hit every iron they currently have available. I have been playing the Steelheads for the last several months, and love them. They look great, they are long, forgiving, and they gave me my first ever hole in one in my first ever round with them. Yep, thats tough to beat. But since I had the opportunity, I hit a few other irons to compare them to. No irons gave me better numbers or performance. I had been playing them in the XP95 stock steel regular flex shafts. I told my fitter my thoughts on that setup, and we hit a few in that setup to get a baseline and some numbers. I told him I was interested in trying graphite to see how the numbers would compare. So he brought over an iron in that setup. I loved it. My numbers were also slightly better with the graphite, and it just felt more comfortable to me. My ballspeed was noticeably higher with the graphite setup, and thus a bit more distance, and a bit more spin. We decided to go with the graphite in the Matrix F15s in regular flex. He then had me get on the lie board, and had them tweaked to 1 degree upright. This gave me the best results, and something I had never had done before.

I then put them into play in a seriously competitive tournament for the next 2 days, over 45 holes. These irons just flat out performed. I really enjoyed the graphites in them, and it did not take me long to adjust to the weight difference at all. The biggest thing I continue to notice is the forgiveness. I got some ridiculously good results on some terrible swings. Hit it way towards the toe, still on the green. Catch it slightly on the heel, still on the green, etc. The cup face does it all for you. I am not a long hitter at all, but these irons make me feel like one. They just flat out get the ball out there and it goes straight.

I played a ridiculously competitive singles match on day 2, in a very high pressure environment, and shot my handicap. I don't say that to brag about myself at all, I say that to brag about these irons. I probably have the ability to play a slightly smaller style iron, but I have no interest in it. I want the most forgiving iron I can play that still looks great. These ones fit the bill for me. You know they are great irons when your Callaway opponents threaten to break them and take them away from you because you are just puring them.

In a few short months, these irons have brought me my first ever hole in one, and that #Grandaddy HOF tag. My 2 most treasured golf memories. Not much more needs to be said than that. I urge everyone to give these irons a shot. You will love them. Callaway knocked it out of the park with them.
 

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Really happy that these worked out so well for you. I know they get overshadowed by the Apex, but had these been available when I bought my irons, I would have given them a hard look. These look a lot better by the ball to me than the XR did.
 

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Really happy that these worked out so well for you. I know they get overshadowed by the Apex, but had these been available when I bought my irons, I would have given them a hard look. These look a lot better by the ball to me than the XR did.
I agree that the Apex gets a bit more of the buzz, and they are great irons themselves, but these irons should absolutely not get overlooked. I took a bunch of swings with the Apex, in various setups, and the Steelheads gave me better numbers, and way more confidence.
 

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I agree that the Apex gets a bit more of the buzz, and they are great irons themselves, but these irons should absolutely not get overlooked. I took a bunch of swings with the Apex, in various setups, and the Steelheads gave me better numbers, and way more confidence.
I was glad to hear how these turned out for you. What kind of stopping power did you have coming into the greens? Thanks in advance.
 

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I was glad to hear how these turned out for you. What kind of stopping power did you have coming into the greens? Thanks in advance.
Absolutely no issues there whatsoever and I am not a high spin player. The graphite helped me a bit there compared to the Steel setup I had been playing (I noticed a bit less roll-out.) Although these irons are slightly low spin, they make up for it with launch in my opinion. The combination just works. For anyone's reference, I am around 80 mph swing speed with the 7 iron, and hit it around 160. Not a long hitter.
 

ranger1989

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Absolutely no issues there whatsoever and I am not a high spin player. The graphite helped me a bit there compared to the Steel setup I had been playing (I noticed a bit less roll-out.) Although these irons are slightly low spin, they make up for it with launch in my opinion. The combination just works. For anyone's reference, I am around 80 mph swing speed with the 7 iron, and hit it around 160. Not a long hitter.
Thanks, we are fairly similar. I am new to Callaway (coming from TaylorMade) but I have lost my bite on the greens with the Apex (assuming it is cup face technology along with shaft choice) and looking for some answers. Need to find some spin.
 

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Thanks, we are fairly similar. I am new to Callaway (coming from TaylorMade) but I have lost my bite on the greens with the Apex (assuming it is cup face technology along with shaft choice) and looking for some answers. Need to find some spin.
Launch could help too. Based on your signature, your shafts are fairly heavy and stout, could consider a lighter one, and maybe even going graphite. I get less roll-out with these irons than the Apex, but everyone is different.
 

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Had a personal fitting with a Callaway tour fitter on Monday with trackman and every other amazing thing you could think of. I was able to choose and hit every iron they currently have available. I have been playing the Steelheads for the last several months, and love them. They look great, they are long, forgiving, and they gave me my first ever hole in one in my first ever round with them. Yep, thats tough to beat. But since I had the opportunity, I hit a few other irons to compare them to. No irons gave me better numbers or performance. I had been playing them in the XP95 stock steel regular flex shafts. I told my fitter my thoughts on that setup, and we hit a few in that setup to get a baseline and some numbers. I told him I was interested in trying graphite to see how the numbers would compare. So he brought over an iron in that setup. I loved it. My numbers were also slightly better with the graphite, and it just felt more comfortable to me. My ballspeed was noticeably higher with the graphite setup, and thus a bit more distance, and a bit more spin. We decided to go with the graphite in the Matrix F15s in regular flex. He then had me get on the lie board, and had them tweaked to 1 degree upright. This gave me the best results, and something I had never had done before.

I then put them into play in a seriously competitive tournament for the next 2 days, over 45 holes. These irons just flat out performed. I really enjoyed the graphites in them, and it did not take me long to adjust to the weight difference at all. The biggest thing I continue to notice is the forgiveness. I got some ridiculously good results on some terrible swings. Hit it way towards the toe, still on the green. Catch it slightly on the heel, still on the green, etc. The cup face does it all for you. I am not a long hitter at all, but these irons make me feel like one. They just flat out get the ball out there and it goes straight.

I played a ridiculously competitive singles match on day 2, in a very high pressure environment, and shot my handicap. I don't say that to brag about myself at all, I say that to brag about these irons. I probably have the ability to play a slightly smaller style iron, but I have no interest in it. I want the most forgiving iron I can play that still looks great. These ones fit the bill for me. You know they are great irons when your Callaway opponents threaten to break them and take them away from you because you are just puring them.

In a few short months, these irons have brought me my first ever hole in one, and that #Grandaddy HOF tag. My 2 most treasured golf memories. Not much more needs to be said than that. I urge everyone to give these irons a shot. You will love them. Callaway knocked it out of the park with them.


Thanks for your thoughts on these, I have kicking around the idea of them and I planned on hitting them tomorrow. I will for sure have to give some serious thoughts on these irons
 

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I have been playing these for about two months myself, I went with the UST Recoil 680's in F4 flex. I was debating between the Steelheads and the Apex, Apex felt better but cost was just a bit to much for me at the moment. I am enjoying the Steelheads only thing I am not in love with is the sound a little to clicky for me. I went from the TM RSi 2 irons to these and liked the sound and feel of those more although the Steelheads are a bit more forgiving. Wishing I had just waited until I could afford the Apex CF16's. I love the feel and sound of those.
 

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Nice review Lions.
 

Shakey

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Good honest review James. They won't be for everyone, but they were a great fit for one Grandaddy participant.
 

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