Callaway Steelhead XR Pro Irons Review
23 Jan 2017
by Pete Wlodkowski of AmateurGolf.com
see also: Equipment Reviews
Easy on the eyes, and built for speed. Callaway’s Steelhead XR Pro irons are the latest addition to the XR family. They combine a beautiful compact “player’s” shape with launch-tuning throughout the set, and a modern 360 Face Cup for speed and distance.
Finished in a sleek black PVD finish with a modern bore-through shaft design, the Steelhead XR Pro inspires confidence.
Let’s take a look at the features that make them different than their predecessors. Nostalgia is great, but not at the expense of performance. We’ll start with the bore through shaft design. It looks cool, but what does it do for the Steelhead’s performance?
Well, for starters, removing head weight from the sole of the club where the shaft bores through allowed Callaway engineers to remove reposition it in strategic areas within the head, which results in increased MOI (for forgiveness) and strategically-positioned center of gravity that varies across the long, middle and short irons.
The long irons have a CG that is low and far back, for enhanced playability and carry. The middle-irons have an exceptionally low and mid-back CG to promote consistent launch and workability. Short-irons have a low and mid CG to make to promote a lower, high-spinning shot pattern that is ideal for attacking the pin.
Some argue that stronger lofts of clubs are the only reason today’s irons are longer than their predecessors. There is certainly some truth to that, but the counter argument is that improved designs that enhance launch and speed necessitate lower lofts. And in the case of the Steelhead Pro, the real speed and distance enhancement comes from next-generation 360 Face Cup technology, which allows the edges of the ultra-thin face to freely flex and release at impact with greater efficiency. The result is added ball speed, especially effective on off-center hits.
I found the long irons of the new Steelhead XR irons (the non-pro version I tested a month ago) to be so good that on one familiar hole (a short par-4) I inadvertently hit into the group in front of me, and they were out at 240-yard range, where I normally place my 3-wood. Now granted, the final 40 yards were all roll, but it was a pretty effective way to get into position for my approach shot.
Steelhead XR Pro irons will be available on March 17, with a wide variety of custom shaft and grip options.