The Callaway Steelhead XR Hybrid has a familiar look as it is not too dissimilar to the Callaway XR and XR OS hybrids.
It is bigger than the standard XR and that means that it is more forgiving. The larger head is not what your average tennis presenter would call a 'looker', but it has its own charm.
The deep face with the high toe and cambered sole combines all the classic hybrid attributes to keep the MOI up whether you are playing it from the short or long stuff.
Out of both it performed very well as the low leading edge of the face was able to pick the ball up easily through the longer grass as the size of the head stopped it from twisting too much
The shape of the face is based on the Callaway Apex hybrid and in the Steelhead XR they have increased the height of the face and made the head deeper to make it more forgiving and launch the ball higher.
In reality the profile of the Steelhead XR is closer to the super game improvement Callaway XR OS Hybrid. The head is more compact though and from above the taller toe area is more rounded to keep it forgiving yet playable for more mid-range handicaps.
As usual for Callaway the face uses their wonderfully understated Hyper Speed Face Cup that enables it to flex more at impact for more ball speed on off centre strikes.
The design on the crown is the raised Speed Step that first appeared on the Callaway XR driver and without delving too much into aerodynamic theory, it is there to break up the airflow over the head to reduce air friction and make the head go faster.
Callaway are not the only people doing this and the general consensus is that it has positive impact on large driver heads, not so much on smaller fairway heads and next to nothing on the even smaller and slower travelling hybrid heads. To be fair, when questioned Callaway said that they were not claiming any speed gain over the previous XR hybrid, so if you find your club head speed increases then that is a bonus for you.
Some say that it can act as an alignment aid, but I think most will just prefer the subtle Callaway chevron in the middle.
The sound was a lovely solid 'tink' at impact and the feel was also very good, both of which are classic Callaway traits.
The flight was higher than the equivalent club from the Steelhead XR irons set and the average distance on SkyTrak was greater as it was more forgiving, which is to be expected. The Steelhead XR 4-iron is very good and provides a powerful flight, but if you don't have the club head speed to get the most out of it then that is where the Steelhead XR hybrid comes in.
Therefore spending some time getting fitted to work out the best combination of Steelhead XR irons and hybrids for you would be time well spent as there is a choice of hybrid lofts of 19°, 22°, 25° and 26° that covers from a 3 up to a 6-iron replacement.
There are plenty of custom shafts and I tried it with the stock Matrix F15 shaft, which at 65g is on the high side for a hybrid and for me the whole club felt a touch heavier to swing when compared to the Steelhead XR irons and their lightweight steel shafts.
Overall the Steelhead XR is a very competent hybrid and off any lie for most levels of players it will perform very well. It maybe is a little visually challenged and missing some of the wow factor at impact that the Steelhead XR irons deliver, but it is a worthy partner and will fit in well to any combo set.