PREVIEW: Callaway Golf Steelhead XR irons and hybrids

PREVIEW: Callaway Golf Steelhead XR irons and hybrids

Golfers of a certain age remember the Steelhead name, dating back to an era when equipment makers first put out the titanium version of a product, followed by a less expensive steel version. However, Callaway's Steelhead clubs were the stuff of legend, with legions of fans and becoming best sellers.

As they've done with brands and names like Apex, Big Bertha and others, Callaway Golf is bringing back the Steelhead name for a new set of irons and hybrids, affixing the name to a design that borrows from one of Callaway's best game-improvement/distance iron sets.

The Steelhead XR irons and hybrids will hit retail on Sept. 2, serving as the follow-on to the XR irons released in 2014. These new irons use shaping similar to the Steelhead X-14 irons, using a slightly longer blade length, a more rounded tow and the same transition from hosel to face. Added to the design is the next-gen version of the company's 360 Face Cup, which allows the thin face to flex and impart more energy on the ball at impact, no matter where on the face, for added distance. Callaway claims this face is so hot that the coefficient of restitution (COR), a measure of how much energy can transfer from the club to the ball at impact, approaches the USGA limit.

The hollow Bore-Thru hosel helped engineers save some weight and move it to other parts of the club to improve moment of inertia for forgiveness and move the center of gravity specific to each iron in the set -- long and back on long irons, low and mid-back on mid-irons and low and mid on the short irons for a higher-spinning, pentrating ball flight.

A steel and polyurethane port behind the lower portion of the face absorbs vibration and promotes an ideal sound at impact.

The hybrids sport a larger footprint than a so-called player's hybrid, aiming to be more like a short fairway wood in providing distance and getting the ball launched highly quickly with a low-and-back center of gravity off the Hyper Speed cupped face. Speed Step technology on the crown is designed to improve swing speeds for added yards.

The Callaway Golf Steelhead XR Irons are available at $800 in steel shafts and $1,000 in graphite shafts. The Steelhead XR hybrids are individually available at $219 each (either True Temper XP 95 Stepless steel or Matrix F15 graphite shafts) in 3- through 6-hybrids.

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