Are the Callaway Steelhead X-16 Irons Still Good? Are They Forgiving for High Handicappers?

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“The Callaway Steelhead X-16 irons are considered classics for some very good reasons. But will those reasons translate to better playability for high handicappers?” 

That’s exactly what we wanted to find out so we took a trip down memory lane and tested the Callaway Steelhead X-16 irons for ourselves.

It should be noted that some of our testers actually use some Callaway Steelhead X-16 irons so they were already very familiar with it.  

These irons debuted back in 2002 so the fact that some of us still play these irons should give you an idea of how valuable they still are.

They were released to succeed the popular Callaway Steelhead X-14 irons and Callaway definitely tweaked the design in noticeable ways.  

For example, the Callaway Steelhead X-16’s have less offset and slightly shorter blades than the X-14’s. The Callaway Steelhead X-16’s also have thicker toplines.  

Are the Callaway Steelhead X-16 Irons Still Good? 

“The Callaway Steelhead X-16’s feature the notch weighting system that was a major breakthrough in its time.” 

The notch weighting allowed for more mass to be moved from the center of the head to the perimeter. And we know what you might be thinking, ‘perimeter weighting is pretty standard for irons these days.’ 

And you’re not wrong. But the notched weighting system allowed for more precise placement of the weight. Even after 20 years, we were impressed with the feel and accuracy of these irons.  

Our testers noted great ball speed and straight flight on shots that hit out near the toe or inward toward the heel.

So right off the bat, the Callaway Steelhead X-16 irons would still be good for anyone struggling with accuracy – especially players who leave the face open at impact.  

Are the Callaway Steelhead X-16 Irons Forgiving for High Handicappers? 

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“The Callaway Steelhead X-16 irons have deep cavity backs which helps increase MOI by making the heads more resistant to twisting.” 

Again, in 2022 this is a pretty common forgiveness feature but there is a very good reason for that. Most people struggle with irons because the hitting zone is small so mis-hits are exacerbated.  

But the reason why deep cavity backs and high MOI are so common is because they work to cover up those mis-hits. With the Callaway Steelhead X-16, we noticed much better trajectory and accuracy when we missed the hitting zone.   

Granted, there’s nothing these or any other irons can do for you if hit well outside the hitting zone; but so long as you are reasonably accurate with your swing, the Callaway Steelhead X-16’s will reward you by helping you stay on the fairway.   

Our testers also noted that it was very easy to get under the ball and produce high launch with these irons. Also helping with launch is the weak loft of these irons. The 9-iron is set to 42 degrees just to give you an idea.  

So if you’re looking for straighter shots and towering loft, the Callaway Steelhead X-16’s will be right up your alley.  

Callaway Steelhead X-16 Vs Callaway BIg Bertha Irons 

“The Big Bertha irons have significantly more offset, longer blades and larger footprints than the Callaway Steelhead X-16 irons.” 

Naturally, the Big Berthas are very forgiving. What’s more is they will pretty much eliminate your slice because they feature so much offset. However the Callaway Steelhead X-16 irons had a better feel and were much more workable.   

In fact, we would recommend the Callaway Steelhead X-16’s irons for mid and high handicappers but the Big Bertha’s solely to high handicappers.  

Callaway Steelhead X-16 First Impressions 

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“We were immediately taken with the depth of the rear cavities.” 

They look clean and forgiving both in the bag and behind the ball. They have a slightly hefty feel in the hands; but not to the point of detriment.

The topline is nice and thick but the blades are short which gives them a stout, powerful stance.  

When you pure the ball, you are rewarded with a deep click that any golf player will find tremendously satisfying.  

Callaway Steelhead X-16 Selling Points 

  • Variable face thickness 
  • Notch weighting system 
  • Short Straight Hollow Hosel 
  • Tru-Bore technology 
  • 360 cavity undercut 
  • High MOI 
  • High launch 

Callaway Steelhead X-16 Key Technology 

“The technology used to make the Callaway Steelhead X-16 irons is dated in 2022; but they still give high and mid handicappers what they need.” 

360 Cavity Undercut: This feature allows the face to flex more when you make contact near the bottom of the face which results in faster ball speeds.  

Notch Weighting System: The notch weighting system allows more mass to be positioned near the perimeter of the club heads.   

Short Straight Hollow Hosel (S2H2): A shorter, hollow hosel allows for weight to be placed strategically for forgiveness.  

Callaway Steelhead X-16 Loft & Lie 

Club  Loft  Lie 
1 iron  16  58.50 
2 iron  18  59.20 
3 iron  21  59.90 
4 iron  24  60.60 
5 iron  27  61.30 
6 iron  30  62 
7 iron  34  62.50 
8 iron  38  63.50 
9 iron  42  64.50 

Who Should Buy the Callaway Steelhead X-16 Irons? 

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“The Callaway Steelhead X-16 irons would be a great choice for both mid and high handicappers.” 

Mid handicappers will appreciate the shorter blades of the Callaway Steelhead X-16 irons as well as the reduced offset. High handicappers will appreciate the forgiveness they get on shots hit out near the toe or the heel.   

Even after 20 years, the Callaway Steelhead X-16 irons still have a feel that any golfer will appreciate. They feel great when you pure the ball and don’t produce harsh vibration even when you miss the sweet spot.   

While we wouldn’t say that these are the most forgiving Callaway irons on the market, they certainly do check off a lot of boxes for both high and mid handicappers.  

Distance: 94/100 

Forgiveness: 95/100 

Workability: 96/100 

Overall Performance: 95/100 

Value: 94/100 

Overall Score: 95/100

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