Callaway keeps finding ways to improve everything they do. The new Steelhead XR irons perform like a game improving iron should. Callaway has coined the phrase, “Signature shape meets breakthrough performance” and boy are they right. Their industry-leading next generation 360 face cup deliver the perfect combination of speed, forgiveness, distance and control in a Callaway iron. When they are talking about distance, they mean distance. As a single digit handicapper, I can carry my 8 iron between 160 and 165 yards. When I hit the Steelhead XR’s 8 iron, I was carrying between 169 and 175 yards. The pop and jump you get off the face of these clubs are like no other I have hit recently. I was standing there in disbelief that I just carried an 8 iron 175 yards, with little to no wind affecting the ball. Having said that, I found that my ability to shape the ball in fades and draws was a little more difficult. These clubs wouldn’t be what I would look for if I was buying new clubs, but for the average weekend golfer, you will see a major improvement with your consistency, and distance. I researched about the ultra-thin 360 face cup technology that Callaway was referring to on their website, and it says right on there that this new technology increases ball speed with greater efficiency on BOTH center hits and mishits. There is an insertion of a steel-infused polyurethane layer just behind the face of the club that really does give it a little bit of extra impact in terms of sound and feel. The cavities are made from 17-4 stainless steel too, which is always a good sign when researching clubs. The sound is a little bit hollow, so it doesn’t quite have the ‘thwack’ some may hope for, but the feel is still excellent at impact. The piece of technology, with respect to the build is the so-called “hollow thru bore.” This is effectively just a step up from the original bore-thru hosel (where the shaft runs from head to sole), which cunningly removes needless weight in the hosel, giving engineers a lot more to play with when it comes to strategic areas of the clubface, and giving MOI and forgiveness a boost. From the second you take your stance and ground your club to address the ball, these irons practically scream forgiveness. It’s amazing the psychological effect a good look can have. Diehard Callaway fans will appreciate the familiarity of that thick topline; the semblance of an offset, and of course, the longer-than-average head. In terms of the badging within the cavity at the back, they’ve done it in a pretty classy manner, and I certainly don’t mind the non-traditional hint of color there. The words ‘Steelhead’ are imposed on a holographic sheen, which is a little gimmick that might tickle your fancy too. All in all, for anyone from an 8 to a 36 handicapper, it’s pretty safe to say that you’ll look and feel the part with a bag full of Callaway Steelhead XRs. Callaway has a reputation for selling a lot of irons. These clubs are going to appeal to golfers of many shapes, sizes and abilities, and they have priced them very cleverly. These are very impressive game improvement irons, which encompass all that you’d expect in terms of distance and forgiveness. Because of the modestly price tag on this set, I feel there will be a lot of buyers out there if they get a chance to hit them at a demo day or at your local sporting goods store.