Callaway’s new Big Bertha and Big Bertha Alpha are the company’s most adjustable drivers to date. They use multi-material constructions and two distinct moveable weight systems to offer golfers an unrivaled amount of control over their launch conditions.
The Big Bertha driver uses a 5-inch sliding weight track that is positioned around the perimeter of the head to boost its moment of inertia (MOI), a measure of a club’s forgiveness.
“The focus is more on the performance of the head when you don’t hit the center of the face,” said Dr. Alan Hocknell, vice president of innovation and design for Callaway. “The stability of the head is high no matter where the sliding weight is positioned.”
The Big Bertha Alpha driver has a moveable weight system positioned in the center of the head called a “Gravity Core.” One end of the gravity core is extremely heavy (12 grams), while the rest of the core weighs a mere 1.5 grams. It sits inside a carbon fiber tube that connects the crown to the sole of the driver and allows the Gravity Core to be inserted into the head with its heavy side either up or down.
Putting the Gravity Core heavy side up in the head will raise the driver’s center of gravity. That’s good for golfers who tend to contact their drives high on the face, or for those who want to add extra spin to their drives.
Above: The Big Bertha (right) uses Callaway’s Chevron logo as an alignment aid on the crown.
That will likely be a minority of golfers interested in the Big Bertha Alpha, however, as inserting the Gravity Core with its heavy side down will create the super low CG position many golfers crave, and allow high-spin players to drop their spin rate approximately 300 rpm. That’s significant, Hocknell said, because it decouples the troublesome relationship between launch and spin that golfers have fought in other adjustable drivers.
Above: The carbon fiber tube that connects the sole and crown of the Big Bertha Alpha weighs a mere 2.3 grams. The Gravity Core is secured inside the carbon fiber tube with a 1.7-gram aluminum screw cap.
“Once you offer adjustable loft, you’re giving people the opportunity to change launch angle and spin in some kind of fixed relationship,” Hocknell said. “But offering an adjustable CG height breaks that relationship, and gives a far greater amount of options of launch and spin and will help people achieve greater distance.”
The Big Bertha Alpha also has two other removable weights. They weight 7 grams and 1 gram, and can be positioned in either the heel or toe of the driver to add draw or fade bias. Additional 3- and 5-grams weights can also be purchased to give golfers the ability to fine tune swing weight.
Above: The Big Bertha Alpha (bottom) has the tallest face of Callaway’s 2014 driver lineup.
Both the Big Bertha and Big Bertha Alpha drivers have Callaway’s Forged Composite crown and Hyper Speed Face, which saves precious weight from their designs. That allows the Big Bertha to have a lightweight 198-gram head, and the uber-adjustable Big Bertha Alpha to have a head weight of 205 grams.
The Big Bertha is available in lofts of 9, 10.5 and 13HT, and comes stock with Mitsubishi Rayon’s new Fubuki Z 50-gram shaft in L, R, S and X flexes. The Big Bertha Alpha comes in lofts of 9 and 10.5 degrees with a 60-gram version of Mitsubishi’s Fubuki ZT shaft.
Above: Big Bertha and Big Bertha Alpha (left) headcover
Both drivers use Callaway’s OptiFit hosel, a dual-cog system that allows golfers to decrease loft by 1 degree or increase loft by 2 degrees in 1-degree increments. The adjustable hosel also gives golfers the ability to make the driver more upright by selecting “D” on one of the adjustable cogs, creating eight independent loft/lie combinations.
The Big Bertha ($399) and Big Bertha Alpha ($499) will be available at retail on Feb. 14.