Gear test: Ping G400 vs. Callaway Steelhead XR 3-wood
We’ve spent a lot of time testing and reviewing the new Ping G400 driver, irons and crossover but haven’t gone into much detail on the fairway woods.
Likewise with the new Callaway Steelhead XR fairway – a modern take on one of Callaway’s classic models from yesteryear.
So we took a 3-wood from each model and put them head to head to see the differences in looks, sound, feel and performance.
Ping G400 vs. Callaway Steelhead XR – The technology
The Ping G400 fairway features what Ping call a ‘maraging steel face’ which is stronger but has 30 percent more flex than the one used in the Ping G model.
It should result in a bit more ball speed.
Similarly to the Ping G400 drivers there are significant weight savings made from the use of thinner and lighter materials with all weight saved being able to be place low and deep in the head for more stability.
In the Steelhead XR Callaway have added some of their new technology – like the Hyper Speed Face Cup – but kept some of the hallmarks of the original model.
Like Ping, they have made weight savings through the use of lightweight crown and have repositioned more weight low and deep in the head.
We have a glued on shaft with the Steelhead XR whereas the Ping G400 has an adjustable hosel for fine-tuning the loft.
Ping G400 vs. Callaway Steelhead XR – The methodology
Our editor Dan Murphy was drafted in for this one. He plays of three and is a long-time Ping player.
He had just been custom fit for the Ping G400 3-wood whereas the Steelhead XR was effectively ‘off the shelf’ with a stock stiff shaft.
We thought this test may highlight the benefits of a good custom-fitting.
Dan isn’t after a 3-wood that just goes far. He wants it to do a specific job out on the course and that is to fill the gap between his driver and 5-wood.
So he’s looking for a club that goes 260 total.
We got Dan to hit a range of shots with each club and monitored the data using Trackman.
Ping G400 vs. Callaway Steelhead XR – The results
From the off Dan commented that the Steelhead XR appealed to him more as a club to hit off the tee with a slightly deeper face and more rounded head shape.
The Ping G400 was a bit shallower and sat flush to the ground – making it more appealing to hit of the deck.
Results-wise, there wasn’t much difference.
If anything, the Ping G400 dispersion was a bit tighter with a shorter gap between the longest and shortest shots.
With the Steelhead XR there were a couple that flew off really hot and a couple that spun up in the air a little bit too much.
Ping G400 vs. Callaway Steelhead XR – NCG verdict
As expected, the custom-fitted club resulted in the tighter dispersion which was good to see.
Both these clubs had really good ball speed off the face and good distance.
As an option off the tee the Steelhead XR would be fantastic but it was a little bit harder to hit off the deck.
Dan felt like the Ping G400 would offer him a little bit more versatility by the way it sits nice and flush to the turf.
The Steelhead XR to me almost feels a little bit more like a mini driver and could do a great job as a driver replacement.
You’re definitely going to get it out there and wont mind the odd one that flies a little bit further.
Lofts: 14.5˚ – 23.5˚
More information can be found on the Ping website.
Callaway Steelhead XR
Lofts: 13.5˚ – 24˚
More information can be found on the Callaway website.