OK, I have definitely slipped through a golfing worm hole and gone back in time, as what looks like a Steelhead Plus fairway that I used to have at the turn of the century has just been delivered for testing.
However it seems it is now called a Steelhead XR fairway so maybe I am not a time traveller and Callaway has just resuscitated another classic product of the past, following on from the Steelhead XR irons.
And I am glad they have, as the original silver Steelhead and subsequent blue Plus models were the best of their time and sorely missed when they departed their space-time continuum.
However like all good brand regenerations, the classic look and shape comes back with modern enhancements, so thankfully no steel shafts, but sadly no S2H2 Tru-Bore hosel as a result.
Instead you have a fixed hosel with a Mitsubishi Tensei CK Blue graphite shaft that is there to increase club head speed and having used this before on other clubs, it was no surprise to see that it performed very well.
The 4 piece head features a steel combined with a J-36 carbon crown that weighs 6g and saves 20g on the steel crown of the Callaway XR fairway.
The carbon crown enables them to lower the CG position and move it forward to launch it with less spin, which was one of the key benefits of the original model. Plus it looks pretty cool too.
The face is the latest Hyper Speed Face Cup to maximise ball speed and also features the Speed Step crown on top, which on this size of head should have a small marginal gain in head speed.
The face features the same bold white lines on the silver face as the original which really took me back in time. For some reason they don't seem to line up with the Speed Step crown lines, especially on the inside which got a bit annoying as I was not sure what I should be framing the ball with for maximum warp speed.
Going with the white face lines and the chevron does draw the ball towards the inside of the club, but that is also the low point of the camber.
This is where the real magic of the Steelhead XR fairway is, because it is the curved camber of the Hawkeye sole that has been carried over into the 'Modern' version.
The combination of the camber and the sole design makes it very versatile and easy to hit from the tee and the deck.
The sound and feel at impact is excellent every time and the medium flight is right where I think a lot of players will want to see it. The Steelhead XR still has the same punch at impact that I remember the Plus having and with the matching blue crown I did feel like I falling into that worm hole again.
There is a wide range of lofts so you can get the one you want from the 3+ at 13.5°, which is what my old Steelhead Plus was, right up to a 9-wood at 24°.
Interspersed between all the regular lofts are the 4+ head with a 16° loft and the same 42.5 inch shaft as the 5-wood, but with a 2° flatter lie for more options from the rough.
There is also the return of the popular Heavenwood at 20.5° with an even longer 42.75 inch shaft and a 165cc head, so there are plenty of options to choose from, which is good to see.
What is also good to see is a competitive price for a carbon crowned fairway that is aimed right at the sweet spot of the fairway wood market.
Nostalgia aside there is a lot to like about the Steelhead XR fairway from the cambered sole to the tall face, great looks and excellent sound. When it comes to the future of fairways, going back to classic designs will never run outatime.