On this page you’ll find our detailed Callaway Steelhead XR Hybrid Review, the pros and cons, and a side-by-side comparison with other hybrids we have recently reviewed.
Having been pretty impressed with the Callaway Steelhead XR irons, we wanted to square the circle by checking out what their hybrid counterparts had to say for themselves, and to determine whether they were worthy allies for their forged friends.
You can’t help but be struck by the trademark Callaway hybrid clubhead, and there are obvious similarities with the regulation Callaway XR hybrids at first glance. But it is significantly bigger than its predecessor, and that pretty much set the tone for how things played out.
Big. Long. Powerful. Forgiving. Consistent. All words you could reasonably attribute to these hybrids, and once those boxes are ticked, well… how bad can they really be.
The question is: what type of player do all these perks really appeal to?
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If the Iron Byron, or perhaps Moe Norman (google him if you aren’t familiar with the name – a treat in itself), had to hit a bucket of 50 balls with these hybrids, we reckon every single one would land on a dime. This is just a new dimension in terms of forgiveness and consistency, not to mention that you’ll get plenty of distance too. Perhaps there is a slight lack of versatility/adjustability as you move from 3 to 6, and we’d also point out that they aren’t the best-looking hybrids in the game. But for dependable, easy-to-hit hybrids that consistently get you from A to B, regardless of the lie, you wouldn’t want to look much further than the Steelhead XRs.
Pros and Cons
- Never hit a club that produced such consistent strikes, distances and shapes. Off every lie you can think of too
- Forgiving to the max, and the Hyper Speed Face Cup technology enlarges the sweet spot
- You’ll get a handy distance kick – that’s guaranteed
- Reasonably priced, just like the irons
- Not a lot of versatility between hybrids, nor any adjustability
- Probably not for low handicappers
Callaway Steelhead XR Hybrid
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We’re big fans of the Face Cup technology that characterizes a number of other Callaway weapons, and the ‘Hyper Speed’ edition which is used here does wonders for ball speeds. The results speak for themselves really – both in terms of distance and consistency. You almost have to see it to believe it.
There has also been plenty of hype surrounding Callaway and Boeing’s engineers joining forces, and the resultant feature conceived from this brains trust with regard to hybrids is the Speed Step technology on the crown. The theory is that such improved aerodynamics break up the airflow; thus reducing air friction and making the club swing faster, although that is damn-near impossible to verify. At the very least, it’s a good alignment aid, especially when coupled with the trademark chevron.
We were more interested in news that, owing to large amounts of computer testing, Callaway have been able to reduce friction between sole and ground at the point of impact – and apparently the proof lies in the aerodynamically-cambered sole. Again, difficult to verify in absolute terms, but the way it played out of the various lies we tested it on, we’d say they’re onto something there.
Control & Performance
It has a look and feel which is very similar to the Callaway Apex hybrid, but the key difference here is that this club is blatantly geared more towards distance and forgiveness. It really reflects in the results too, as we found there to be a palpable increase in carry, while the 4H and 5H in particular are just delightful in terms of easy launch and forgiveness.
No doubt, we found the trajectory to be slightly on the high side, which won’t be everyone’s cup of tea. But you get the feeling that even with the higher ball flight, there is plenty of ammo behind it, thus thwarting any wind (that’s the theory, anyway!). It is the consistency of yardages and accuracy, despite varying strikes, which tickled our fancy the most though. Go on the range, and you’ll be able to impress the folks next to you with a very flattering grouping of shots.
As for the sound, well, it certainly makes a decent crack when you get hold of it, but not as ‘pingy’ as you might expect from a larger-sized clubhead. When you miss the sweetspot, the sound is slightly duller, so you do get that feedback at least. All in all, we’d say they err more on the side of game improvement, but they are very playable too for those of a slightly lower handicap.
Design & Appearance
Hmmm. Beauty is in the eye of the beholder, they say. Well, when I ‘beheld’ these hybrids, I wasn’t blown away at first glance. It just looked like a bigger version of the standard XR. Bigger in the sense that the face is higher than you may be accustomed to, it’s longer from heel to toe, and the head is notably deeper.
There are some subtle differences to the standard XR and some interesting design features though. Most striking is the raised toe, while the former bulge that we’ve seen in this part of the club in previous Cally hybrids has been nicely ironed out into a clean, rounded edge. It rids you of that sense that the hook is never far away, which better players will appreciate. The shape of the head itself is distinctly pear shaped, thus giving the appearance of a nifty club, and the footprint of the clubhead on the ground is smaller than you may expect as a result. That said, it is still a slightly cumbersome unit, all things considered.
In terms of basic aesthetics, the crown comes in the usual shade of black, although this is complemented quite nicely by the visuals of the Speed Steep Technology, which not only frames the ball quite well, but also gives a nice color contrast with its lighter shade. As for the sole, it is cambered as part of the aeronautical design which is nice enough to look at, although its purpose clearly centers on MOI and other things, rather than enhancing looks!
Value for Money
We felt that Callaway really put themselves in pole position the way they priced the Steelhead XR irons. It actually knocks the socks off almost every other competitor in terms of value, in fact. They haven’t gone quite as low with the hybrids, although at $220 per club, it’s still quite competitive, and slightly undercuts some of its rivals.
We are more than happy to give our stamp of approval in terms of value here as a result.
When you have a selection of four hybrids to choose from, it obviously depends on the player, and your preference. Are you just looking to buy one to bolster your already-potent play with the long irons? Or do you rely on hybrids from anywhere further than 150 yards? The point is that there’s a good selection to choose from here.
They may not be cutting-edge in terms of design and aesthetics, but the Callaway Steelhead XR Hybrids are made from quality stock, and yield the most consistent results you can find. Cast in that light, you can enter into a purchase like this with the peace of mind you expect when paying over $200 a pop.back to menu ↑
Video Length – 00:39
Callaway Steelhead XR Hybrid Review
A combination of distance and forgiveness
|Product Details||Callaway Steelhead XR Hybrid Review|
|Gender||Men’s & Ladies|
|Handicap Range||Mid – High|
|Hand Availability||Right & Left Hand|
|Lofts||19.0° (3H); 22.0° (4H); 25° (5H); 28° (6H)|
|Head Type||3H; 4H; 5H; 6H|
|Swing Weight||D1 (Women’s: C4)|
|Length||40.50” – 38.25” (Women’s: 39.50” – 27.25”)|
|Shaft Type and Name||Matrix F15|
|Grip||Golf Pride Tour Velvet 360|
|Manufacturers Website||Callaway Golf|