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First Hit: Callaway Big Bertha Alpha 815 and Double Black Diamond Drivers

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Some golfers need a driver with a low center of gravity, while others need a driver with a higher center of gravity. Callaway’s two new Big Bertha Alpha drivers are designed to help both types of players.

The Big Bertha Alpha 815 ($449) and Big Bertha 815 Double Black Diamond ($499) use two distinct shapes and three forms of adjustability to help golfers dial in the launch, spin and shot shape that will give them maximum distance. They’ll be in stores November 13.

The hallmark of the two new drivers is the inclusion of Callaway’s Gravity Core technology, which allows golfers to adjust each driver’s center of gravity (CG) lower or higher in the clubhead.

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It works like this: Insert the Gravity Core with its heavy side down (closer to the sole) and the driver will produce less spin. Position the Gravity Core with its heavy side up and the driver will produce more spin.

More spin? “Who needs that,” you might be saying.

According to Evan Gibbs, Callaway’s manager of performance analysis, plenty of golfers.

Callaway debuted the Gravity Core in its 2014 Big Bertha Alpha driver. While it wasn’t as popular as the company’s 2014 Big Bertha driver, it was an important fitting tool for many golfers on the PGA and European tours.

[quote_box_center]“If 90 percent of the players were in the low-CG position, we’d say, ‘we don’t need this mid-CG position,’” Gibbs said. “But the split was about even. That validated that there was value in having this Gravity Core.”[/quote_box_center]

It’s not just better players, however, who can benefit from a higher CG.

[quote_box_center]“Some people need a little big higher CG in order to generate enough spin,” he said. “And if a player tends to contact the ball high on the face, they tend to lose ball speed with a low-CG club.”[/quote_box_center]

Big Bertha Alpha 815

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The new Big Bertha Alpha 815 brings the Gravity Core to a driver that is much more forgiving than the 2014 Big Bertha Alpha. It’s built on a 460-cubic-centimeter chassis that’s similar to the 2014’s Big Bertha driver, with a large profile at address that boosts its moment of inertia (MOI) to make it more forgiving.

The Big Bertha Alpha 815 also has a Forged Composite crown that makes it surprisingly low spinning for its level of forgiveness — unless the Gravity Core is in the “up” position, that is.

Big Bertha Alpha 815 Double Black Diamond

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The Double Black Diamond has all the technology the Alpha 815 has, but as its name indicates it was designed for experts. The low, forward CG position that allows it to be so low spinning also makes it the company’s least forgiving driver for 2015. In other words, golfers should steer clear of the Double Black Diamond if their main goal is to improve performance on mishits.

According to Gibbs, the Double Black Diamond is about 100 rpm lower spinning than its predecessor, the 2014 Big Bertha Alpha, and it adds more forgiveness to shots hit high on its face. That’s partly thanks to the company’s new RMOTO technology (also used in the Alpha 815), which is a new geometry on the inside of the club head that allowed engineers to remove about 3 grams of weight from the face and place it lower and deeper in the head to improve MOI.

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Visually, the Double Black Diamond has a rounder, more opened appearance than the 2014 Big Bertha Alpha at address that should resonate with better players.

Enough talk, where are the numbers?

I had a chance to test the Big Bertha Alpha 815, the Double Black Diamond and Big Bertha V-Series drivers at Callaway’s Ely Callaway Performance Center in Carlsbad, Calif., on a Doppler Radar launch monitor to see just how different the three drivers would perform.

Each of the drivers was hit with the same shaft and had nearly identical measured lofts. Each driver was also tested with the same shaft, a Mitsubishi Rayon Second-Generation Diamana D+ 70TX at 45 inches.

Testing process: I hit about six shots with each club in the following order: V-Series, Double Black Diamond and Alpha 815. I then hit about five more shots with each club and they were hit in the same order. The outliers – those one or two shots that were radically different from the eight or nine other shots – were then deleted to create these averages below.

The Numbers

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The numbers explained

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Don’t walk away from this story thinking that the Double Black Diamond is Callaway’s best driver for 2015 because of my experience. What’s important is to notice the distinct performance of each head.

V-Series

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V-Series is Callaway’s most forgiving 2015 driver, with a CG that is higher and more rearward than the other drivers in the line. For most golfers, this will translate to more consistent ball speeds across the face, but it will also contribute to the lower launch and higher spin that I saw in my testing.

Alpha 815

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This will likely be Callaway’s most popular driver, both at retail and on the professional tours, because of its balanced design. My numbers show its ability to launch the high with a fairly low amount of spin and still retain a high level of ball speed on mishits.

Double Black Diamond

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Most golfers won’t be a fit for a Double Black Diamond, but when they are the results will be fantastic. With nearly identical builds, the Double Black Diamond was an average of 9 yards longer than the V-Series thanks to its higher launch and lower spin.

How did they perform on mishits?

I saw a ball speed variance of 4.4 mph with the Double Black Diamond. That doesn’t sound like much, but it was by far the worst of the three models. The Alpha 815’s ball speed variance was a mere 3.3 mph, while the V-Series was just 1.7 mph.

Shafts and Specs

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The Alpha 815 driver will be available in lofts of 9, 10.5 and 12 degrees and comes stock with Fujikura’s Motore Speeder 565. The Double Black Diamond will come in lofts of 9 and 10.5 degrees with Aldila’s Rogue Silver 60 shaft.

Click here to see what GolfWRX Members are saying about the new drivers in our forum.

Don’t like those offerings? Callaway is offering the following 13 shaft options at no upcharge:

  • Mitsubishi Rayon Bassara 42
  • Mitsubishi Rayon Bassara 52
  • Matrix Ozik White Tie 50
  • Aldila Rogue Silver 60
  • Matrix Ozik Black Tie 70
  • Fujikura Motore Speeder 565
  • Fujikura Motore Speeder 665
  • Fujikura Motore Speeder 765
  • Second-Generation Mitsubishi Diamana S+ 62
  • Matrix Ozik Red Tie 60
  • Mitsubishi Rayon Fubuki ZT 60
  • Mitsubishi Rayon Fubuki Z 50
  • Aldila Tour Green

The Alpha 815 comes stock with 7-gram and 1-gram interchangeable heel-and-toe weights, while the Double Black Diamond comes stock with 5-gram and 1-gram weights. Moving the heavier weight to the toe of the club will create more fade bias, while moving it to the heel of the club will create more draw bias.

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Both drivers also use Callaway’s new Opti-Force hosel, which is slimmer than previous versions yet still compatible with 2014 driver models. It’s 3-degree range of adjustability (2 degrees up, 1 degree down in 1-degree increments) also includes two independent lie angle settings: neutral and upright (more draw bias).

Click here to see what GolfWRX Members are saying about the new drivers in our forum.

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94 Comments

94 Comments

  1. A.West

    Aug 19, 2016 at 3:02 pm

    Two years later – I just bought this driver on Amazon from Calloway. Alpha 815, Speeder 565 regular flex shaft, 10.5 loft. Great deal, under $150, replacing my Calloway Costco “X hot” set driver, which apparently isn’t really an X hot driver after all. Tried out the Alpha 815 on my SkyTrak LM I’ve got a swing speed of maybe 91-92 mph, getting a carry distance of 210 to 230. Accuracy no worse than my prior driver, possibly more stable and more supportive of confidence. Feels and sounds a bit better. The adjustability will be fun to experiment with.

  2. richard

    Aug 6, 2015 at 10:24 am

    I just put a dbd in play yesterday. I have been using my trusty r11s tp for a few years now and just hadn’t found anything I liked better, including last year’s alpha which I tried but quickly sold. However, the new (now old!) 815 dbd was great, a very noticeable performance improvement, at least for me. I can’t tell if the club is longer, although my drives were at least as long as they normally are, but what I really noticed was the good trajectory, and most of all, the lack of sidespin…All my drives were pretty much where I wanted them with little sidespin. The one bad drive I hit (last driver of the day) didn’t go very far, but even that one was straight although it felt like it wanted to hook like crazy…but it stayed just barely off the fairway in good shape. So while the new 816 might be even a little better, for now I think callaway has put out a great product in the 815 dbd…

  3. Marc Dodd

    Nov 13, 2014 at 5:09 pm

    Rumour has it that the 815 stands for august 2015, when this driver will go and be replaced by another driver

  4. Pingback: Golf Clubs – Our Selection | Romney Warren Golf Club

  5. alex

    Oct 21, 2014 at 12:44 am

    cant wait for the callaway 616 irons to come out and the new PRO U2 ball from callawy too

    • jim

      Oct 25, 2014 at 6:12 pm

      ya I use to like callaway not any more probably going to buy the 915

  6. Desmond

    Oct 19, 2014 at 10:24 am

    The V Series is NOT a lower launching club, not in lofts over 10.5. The 9 degree is a different animal with slightly different characteristics for stronger players. That will launch/spin lower.

    I use the 10.5 V Series head, and in the stock shaft, it launches high with a positive angle of attack. With the Fuji 565 Shaft, I need to add +1 of loft to receive similar results.

  7. Swingblade

    Oct 13, 2014 at 12:27 pm

    Perhaps I am missing something. I could find no test data regarding dispersion. With the G30 tests dispersion was one of the main factors to evaluate. It seems only distance matters here. Since the PGA recently released the numbers relative to how few pros actually birdie from the rough, it seems it is time for us normal golfers to figure out that the fairway is what matters. Period. 10 or 15 yards longer is not a big plus if the ball is in the rough.

  8. Mr Poopoo

    Oct 3, 2014 at 8:57 pm

    Black is the new white, blue, orange, red…

    • JOEL GOODMAN

      Oct 8, 2014 at 8:07 pm

      I AM CURIOUS AS TO THE RESULTS WITH A NORMAL PLAYER THAT HAS A 90 MPH SWING SPEED. ALSO HOW SOON WILL CALLAWHAT DROP THESE AND BRING OUT IT;S NEWEST GREATEST MOST FANTASTIC REMARKABLE NEXT THING DRIVER—I would guess–next month and these will go on sale at half price. Its all just so much horse manure for the average golfer who will not, cannot, and would not buy a new driver every other month.

      • Sammy Moon

        Oct 9, 2014 at 9:30 am

        If you feel that way, why even waste making the comment?

      • Desmond

        Oct 19, 2014 at 10:26 am

        Buy the V Series in the 10.5, cut the stock shaft to 45 inches, and have fun. Too many people worry about price. Find your driver.

        • David

          Nov 10, 2014 at 10:21 pm

          Ahhhhh Desmond. That is the most sensible advice I have seen on a golf website for a number of years. You are absolutely correct.

  9. Mr Poopoo

    Oct 3, 2014 at 8:57 pm

    Looks like the Alpha I’ve been eyeing is due for another price cut soon.

  10. Boat

    Oct 3, 2014 at 8:17 pm

    The most important factors for ALL drivers are ballspeed and launch angle. I’ve seen all types of testing on different launch monitors and real life testing where the difference between 2000rpm and 3000rpm on well struck shots is 3 yards, but in most cases is around 1.9 yards. If you are hesitant to believe me, simply check out Justin Rose’s Driver video by Rick Shiels on YouTube and have a close look at his numbers. Simply adjusting your spin loft in your own swing is the easiest and cheapest way of lowering spin if it really bothers the golfer that much.

    • marcel

      Oct 16, 2014 at 7:26 pm

      i would trust Justin Rose as he hits near identical shots.

  11. Chris C

    Oct 3, 2014 at 7:43 pm

    Thank you for your test results. That said, I am disappointed that you did not add the BB and Alpha to your test. The results might have shed some light regarding whether newer=better.

    • Zak Kozuchowski

      Oct 3, 2014 at 10:37 pm

      The only way to know is to do your own testing. Everyone is different.

      • Martin de Porres

        Oct 5, 2014 at 3:14 am

        Zak, any chance you know the head weight for the 815 aplha and the titleist 915 drivers.

        • Zak Kozuchowski

          Oct 7, 2014 at 9:23 am

          Martin,

          The DBD has a total weight of about 330 grams, while the Alpha 815 has a total weight of about 320 grams. That should put the head weights in the 200-to-205 gram range, with the DBD being a few grams heavier.

  12. Golfraven

    Oct 3, 2014 at 6:06 pm

    I find the head cover and the crazy release cycle most interesting. Otherwise I am stocking with the new 915 – bring it on.

    • mhendon

      Oct 3, 2014 at 6:37 pm

      Yeah I like the retro head cover but I doubt its real leather like an Iliac.

  13. RAT

    Oct 3, 2014 at 4:11 pm

    when will they have the Saturn model ready?

  14. Dave S

    Oct 3, 2014 at 1:41 pm

    Robocop’s driver?

  15. MHendon

    Oct 3, 2014 at 1:04 pm

    Here’s the thing my fellow WRXer’s. The USGA and R&A agreed to a COR limitation of .830 all the way back in 2002 that went into effect in 2006. No driver legal for tournament play shall exceed that. This lead to a theoretical smash factor of 1.5 however not truly achievable under real life conditions sense you would need launch conditions of 0 degrees and 0 RPM of spin to achieve it. Every ball speed has an optimal launch angle and spin rate to achieve maximum distance. Knowing this once one maxes out they’re launch conditions there is no more room for improvement through equipment. Also maxing out your launch conditions is next to impossible unless you have a very consistent tour like swing. In other words you can buy every new driver that comes out and you’re still going to suck unless you practice.

    • Thomas Beckett

      Oct 4, 2014 at 4:10 pm

      Wrong again MHendon. The maximum theoretical smash factor is 2.0. All things being constant increasing the mass of a driver head 10% will increase smash factor approximately 1.7%. Assuming a perfect strike, if enough mass could be added to a driver to offset the efficiency lost by dynamic loft a smash factor higher than 1.5 is possible without violating .83 COR limit.

      • MHendon

        Oct 4, 2014 at 9:18 pm

        Ok thomas you are suggesting using a club much heavier or stronger lofted than anything on the market. I couldn’t find the article I got my original information from or I would post the link but I couldn’t find anything suggesting a theoretical smash factor of 2.0. I did find this that suggest the posibility of a smash factor slightly over 1.5 but it’s not practical. http://www.tutelman.com/golf/ballflight/smashfactor.php

        • Thomas Beckett

          Oct 5, 2014 at 12:03 am

          Wrong again MHendon. I was responding to your incorrect statement you have once again passed off as a fact. You wrote the USGA and R&A imposed a .83 COR limitation which is sort of true, it’s actuall.822 with a tolerance to .83 but I let you slide on that one. Followed by,”this lead to a theoretical smash factor of 1.5 however not truly achievable in real life.” That is also incorrect on both statements. I never claimed my argument to be practical, just possible. Pings G30 is 20 grams heavier than my driver and in testing I’ve found it to have about 3 to 4% higher smash factor so I would say my argument is practical and you are wrong as usual. A change in any varaible of club mass, ball mass, COR, or contact point changes smash factor. People like you MHendon once protested that the earth was flat. A practical driver beating 1.5 smash factor may not happen in your lifetime but it is possible. It’s mathematically possible so open your mind to the possibilities or be bound by your limitations.

          • MHendon

            Oct 5, 2014 at 1:51 pm

            What are you a lawyer Thomas looking for every possible angle to prove your case. Clearly my initial statement was made based off tournament legal equipment not what is theoretically possible and impractical. Once again I don’t know where you’re getting your information but I’ve posted a link to some of mine along with getting some of my information from Frank Thomas the former USGA technical director. So Thomas if you’re going to try and discredit me how about providing some proof other than your own words.

          • Thomas Beckett

            Oct 6, 2014 at 1:26 am

            Sorry MHendon, I’m not a lawyer, im an engineer in the aerospace industry, but that really has no bearing on the matter. Before we go any further I suggest you read your source more carefully as it disproves every point you have made. Arguing with you reminds me of an old saying,” you can lead an ass to water but you can’t make him drink it.”

          • mhendon

            Oct 6, 2014 at 7:04 pm

            So Thomas you’re making a point that you can theoretically achieve a smash factor of 2.0 with a metal ball bounced of a perfectly flat metal surface fixed to the ground. So what does that have to do with golf. Seams to me you’re making an irrelevant point just for the sake of argument. Thanks anyway but I’ll take a beer!

          • Dan

            Oct 8, 2014 at 5:51 pm

            I liked the bickering between you two, and just wanted to chime in and say that, I have seen a smash factor of 1.52 on a launch monitor, and the player was using a 909 D3, with an upgraded shaft. I can’t comment on any of the variables that go into this formula such as ball or head weight, club head or ball speed. I just remember very clearly that I was told 1.5 was perfect and what I saw was better than perfect.

        • Ian

          Jan 6, 2015 at 11:57 pm

          I’m a scratch sr am player. I’m using a ping g30 with swing speed around 104mph. I can rev it to 110mph but that’s not game speed. I frequently see smash factors of 1.52 on TrackMan. In fact, I did it today!

    • Adam

      Oct 10, 2014 at 5:00 pm

      My goal for a smash factor is 1.5 – 1.52 If you’re getting up there, figure out the best shaft for your release/swing bc you should be smoking it.

      Currently swing the Alpha (2014) and it’s a beat stick. Went with the X-flex Fubuki and will likely change to something better for me. (Lower kick point, etc…) Compared to my old gamer, dropped about 500-600 RPM in spin which took my distance an extra 20+ yards.

      Not gonna shell out for these by any means, but for my first Callaway driver I cant think they’re hitting anything but home runs here. Very much enjoy the BB Alpha and the Gravity Core is a game-changer for sure.

    • marcel

      Oct 17, 2014 at 12:30 am

      Smash factor is Club head speed translated into ball speed right after the impact. the ball speed will be affected by elements but that has not been taken into consideration. Only the speed after leaving club where launch conditions and spin has little impact. As the ball is not constantly propelled, spin and the drag will result for ball to drop and continue its travel on the ground until stopped.

      Jack Nicklaus said that to hit ball further you need either swing faster or swing better… so you can hit ball farther if you slow down and control swing and impact better. so in theory the driver that reduces spin will allow hit the ball farther without increasing smash factor.
      also the ball has to be relevant to the club speed to not deform excessively ball which in turn wont travel farther due to imperfect flight properties.

  16. Grant

    Oct 3, 2014 at 11:33 am

    I’ve been thinking about the complaint that many (including myself) have about the cost of new drivers, and the major OEM constant releases of new equipment. At first glance, it’s crazy for us to play upwards of $450 every 6 months to have the latest and greatest from our favorite companies only to have them release something “better”. But then I thought about the other sport that I play: ice hockey. Just like drivers from Callaway, TaylorMade, etc., companies like Reebok, Easton, Bauer, and CCM come out with new flagship hockey sticks twice yearly, and the prices for them are in the $279-$320 range. The only difference is that these sticks break after some use, so players go through 5+ sticks a season. Those that aren’t willing to hand over the big $$$ for the top end stuff buy older models at discount, or less expensive sticks. And that’s just one piece of equipment that gets updated pretty frequently from those companies.

    My point: I was mad at the golf industry, but then I realized that this happens in all sports, and marginal gain can only be achieved with frequent launches and a lot of reps (repetitions) on new products by pros and joes. Just me coming to peace with where my money goes.

    I’ve been playing the Callaway RFX for the last two-ish seasons, but I’ll go through a testing process at a club fitter to see what new club/shaft technologies work best for me next season.

    • steve

      Oct 3, 2014 at 8:28 pm

      You make a point. But doe’s it apply to basketball? Baseball a good quality glove can last years or the worlds most popular sport soccer. I think it is based on case by case or sport by sport

    • Brandon

      Oct 3, 2014 at 11:24 pm

      I’m a Hockey player also and have asked myself would a new $300 stick help me get more goals in a game compared with my 1 year old stick, absolutely not. I had a similar awakening with Golf. A new $450 driver will not help me shoot lower scores which at the end of the day is why I play Golf. It sure is fun to buy new Golf equipment but:)

      • marcel

        Oct 16, 2014 at 7:33 pm

        its so easy to jump on the equipment band wagon and keep on spending… or get a golf coach and improve with stick you playing. BTW good on your ice hokey game. big fan here!!!

  17. Mike

    Oct 3, 2014 at 10:16 am

    So do the people bickering about life cycles really want Callaway and TM to come out with a driver every two years like other companies? The funny thing is that those people would hate it if it happened. Everybody wants more choices, it is fun and brings buzz to the golf industry and this website. Get over it.

  18. Dave

    Oct 2, 2014 at 10:03 pm

    I agree with you Steve. Every year it’s longer and straighter moved this or that around. Basically reinventing the wheel with a new paint job. Most good golfers can hit anything. It’s the Indian not the arrow. If people want to waste their money on stupid marketing go ahead their money. I don’t care personally buying something and then it being outdated 6 months later. However, if one is wise enough like stated above one can get a decent deal on an outdated driver. The technology may change but its going to be very marginal at best. Until the powers that be let the club manufactures do something outside the rules nothing new will happen of any magnitude. Thus the longer and straighter marketing bull some fall for. To each their own.

  19. benseattle

    Oct 2, 2014 at 6:23 pm

    I think we should all thank Callaway for having the courage to blow right by that ancient old $400 milestone and jack up the prices…. because they can. $449 and $499 for more of the same old “12 yards longer” crap is going to appeal to a handful of 60-year-old grandpas with money to burn who just happen to be gullible enough that They’ll Believe Anything.

    I suggest you do what I did earlier this spring. Take your current gamer into a launch monitor and compare it with the four or five hottest, latest, most technically-advanced of the new models and then compare the numbers. If you really do pick up 5, 10 or 15 yards with a 2014 model… well, congratulations. But more likely you’ll discover what I did: that none of the new stuff is significantly superior in either distance or dispersion when compared to my current gamer. In fact, the 2014 products should be embarrassed: my current driver is a relic from 2006, the MacGregor MacTec!

    (Still, I can’t help but be tempted the renowned Ping G20 that’s now on sale everywhere for all of $179!)

  20. Desmond

    Oct 2, 2014 at 6:01 pm

    I find the results with the V Series as a bit odd … in stock setup, at 10.5, I find that club launches high with a tad too much spin, but piercing.

    With the 10.5 and the Speeder 565, I find the club launches lower (that’s expected with the shaft), and I must loft up to 11.5. With that combo, I get screamers.

    I question the results with the V Series because I think that club takes a little bit of work to get accustomed to it. It is a different look and setup than the 815 drivers. A different feel, look, etc.

    I’m not surprised that the BBV spins more, just the low launch … surprising, and not in line with what I’ve found in the 565 Shaft. That makes me think familiarity will breed better launch numbers.

  21. ImRight

    Oct 2, 2014 at 3:47 pm

    When people stop buying the new clubs that come out every few months maybe clubs companies will stop with that marketing plan. It’s really getting out of hand though. I remember when I played in HS in the late 90’s and there was one wood and iron line release a year.

  22. Russell

    Oct 2, 2014 at 1:38 pm

    How about the dispersion between the drivers? Which one was more accurate? Which one was the most spread out? How different were they? They don’t normally put these numbers in reviews and I’m not sure why. It’s not all about swing speed and distance. It’s about control. Tell me which one performed better by hitting it closer to the line or target out of the 10 or so swings. How close to that line did it deviate?

    This would be the helpful data needed to make an informed purchase in addition to the data already presented here.

  23. Marco

    Oct 2, 2014 at 11:12 am

    Aldila Rogue…no upcharge?? I liiiike !!!!

  24. Evan

    Oct 2, 2014 at 8:45 am

    Keep drinking the Kool Aid! Transformer era of golf club design, not sure I was too far off when I said that months ago. There are no performance gains, just releasing clubs every 3 months to generate more revenue. BTW, premium shafts do not mean premium results. Wake up and stop wasting your money!

    • Robeli

      Oct 2, 2014 at 12:37 pm

      Agree. Go buy almost any 2012 driver at dirt cheap specials and you will get very close the same results as these drivers. The year 2012 was very good year for drivers. I still play mine from 2012 and keep hitting these new ones every time I get the chance, and none of the 2013 or 2014 made that big a difference to justify a change.

  25. SBoss

    Oct 2, 2014 at 7:52 am

    The company’s like Callaway and TMAG don’t realize how destructive they are to their own brands. The consumer confusion factor alone is not worth it. It’s hard to keep all of their offerings straight.
    Ping and Titleist deal with consumers in a planned, straightforward manner. We know that Ping has an “I” series and a G series. They have a logical number sequence and a predictable release schedule. When I buy a G30 driver, I know the G35 will be out in 2 years. They will do what they can to upgrade performance in that 2 years. Same goes for Titleist.
    Callaway is a copycat company, trying to knock off TMAG with their product release strategy. Essentially, they’ve knocked off a lousy strategy. Brilliant. The CEO should be shown the door and they need to get back to connecting with customers and a predictable release strategy that actually shows some respect for the customer. More product does not equate to BETTER product.

    • Bob

      Oct 4, 2014 at 1:06 pm

      Too bad PING released the G25 last year and released the G30 this year. Doesn’t look like a 2 year cycle to me. Your G35 will be released next year as well. Also, the only reason why Titleist waits every 2 years is because they have that little white ball you lose every round so they don’t have to release clubs. PING doesn’t have a 2 year cycle anymore.

  26. Large chris

    Oct 2, 2014 at 2:40 am

    Not very relevant but I played with an absolutely terrible golfer a couple of months ago who was admiring my x2 hot. He was thinking about getting it as an upgrade from his xhot. He was never anywhere near a fairway and either topped or skied everything.

    • ron

      Oct 2, 2014 at 9:52 am

      You’re right.. not relevant at all!

      • Largechris

        Oct 3, 2014 at 1:44 pm

        Probably not relevant to Americans that is, but to us Brits we call that sort of thing ‘ironic’

  27. ryan

    Oct 2, 2014 at 12:45 am

    they are really crazy.. almost every month I’ve heard that Callaway new clubs. I sold the callway x2hot pro driver few months ago. I surely think it was a brriant choice..
    now my ping i25 driver longer and more forgiving than x2hot pro.. bye callway..

  28. J

    Oct 2, 2014 at 12:29 am

    Hideous. Still not touching a 450+ dollar driver with someone else’s wallet…

    It’s exhorbant and ridiculous.

    • Gonzo

      Oct 2, 2014 at 12:34 am

      Some people want the best and will pay large sums of money for it. Others can wait 2 years and get it for 199 or less

  29. Charles

    Oct 1, 2014 at 10:38 pm

    I AM IRON MAN

  30. Jimmy

    Oct 1, 2014 at 10:28 pm

    Not impressed with the names but the shaft selection is nice ill stick w my g30 and motore speeder ts 7.2 combo

  31. LB

    Oct 1, 2014 at 10:02 pm

    Well written article with the numbers to back up the tech. Nice job Zak.

    • MHendon

      Oct 2, 2014 at 12:36 am

      I’m not so sure about those numbers. Two of the three drivers have a smash factor above 1.5 which would imply there COR is above the legal limit of .830

      • Rich

        Oct 2, 2014 at 8:57 pm

        Give me break. Really? A company the size of Callaway is going to 1. Produce a driver that is non conforming and 2. The USGA and R&A are going to let them sell it? Are you smoking weed or something?

        • MHendon

          Oct 3, 2014 at 12:46 pm

          Exactly… That’s why I said I wasn’t so sure about the numbers supposedly produced by these drivers at the beginning of the article.

          • Rich

            Oct 3, 2014 at 7:31 pm

            Ok then. Explain to me why a 0.830 COR limit means smash factor maxes out at 1.50?

      • Thomas Beckett

        Oct 4, 2014 at 5:01 pm

        1.5 smash factor is not a usga imposed limit nor is it a barrier. COR is just one of the variables that affects smash factor. Here is the formula
        SF = Vball / Vclubhead = 1 + e / 1 + m/M cos(loft) * (1 – 0.7*miss)
        e=COR
        m=ball weight
        M=club mass

        • Thomas Beckett

          Oct 4, 2014 at 5:02 pm

          Hopefully that will help your argument and educating process for MHendon.

          • MHendon

            Oct 5, 2014 at 1:34 pm

            Well thank you Thomas I see you got your information from the same place I did. To be clear the theoretical 1.5 smash factor is based off what is considered tournament legal equipment. Yes you can get above the magical 1.5 but it would require a much heavier club head than anyone makes at a very strong loft say about 5 degrees. Hence the real world limit meaning what a human can achieve using tournament legal equipment is approximately 1.494. That’s why the numbers listed on these drivers seem suspect to me.

          • Thomas Beckett

            Oct 6, 2014 at 11:47 pm

            There are several places that talk about smash factor but I used your source because I was hoping you read it, I was wrong in that respect or perhaps you don’t understand. What I found interesting about your source was the chart showing approximately what driver head weights would be necessary to break 1.5 smash factor. I could only find a weight limit on the ball therefore if you you use the formula you provided from your source the theoretical smash factor is 2.0 and a 1.5 smash factor can be broken. If the goal were to simply get the highest smash factor with legal equipment to break a 1.5 smash factor it could be done easily, but to do it practically without current performance loss is another story. My only objective is to point out your incorrect assumptions passed off as facts to other people. Read your research if you actually do any and work the formulas before you comment.

          • Leslie Chow

            Oct 7, 2014 at 2:57 am

            I’ve enjoyed this thread so I decided to do some research of my own. I was curious if MHendon was full of hot air or if 1.5 was the barrier. Thomas, after looking at the formula I figured that if breaking 1.5 SF were possible it is going to take a golfer using the heaviest head on the market with the lowest loft and lightest golf ball. Since a heavier ball produces less resistance to drag it will be longer companies maxed out the legal limit of the ball so ball weight is a constant. As far as the loft and weight of the club that sounded like long drivers would have the advantage because their driver heads are reinforced to withstand massive impacts and what I found was that there are quite a few long drivers that have broken 1.5 smash factor on trackman and their data is all over the Internet. Rather than provide a list of all the sources I would like to produce the easiest and the link is Ping.com. The opening video with Bubba Watson hitting his tour 44.5″ Pink G30 driver with a legal COR, MHENDON focus, hits the drive with clubhead speed of 120.8 and a ball speed of 184.5 giving him a smash factor of 1.5273. So Thomas it turns out your theory on the heavier ping drivers producing higher smash factors and breaking 1.5 SF is not only mathematically but actually possible is in fact CORRECT and therefore with extreme pleasure I can once again say . . . WRONG AGAIN MHENDON.

          • mhendon

            Oct 7, 2014 at 1:20 pm

            Hey my old buddy Leslie. Read the link I posted above. It clearly states a PGA pro using tournament legal equipment can best hope for a COR around 1.47. Your are providing information from an equipment company looking to sell their equipment based off one of their tour players impact data. The INDEPENDENT article above states any smash factors above 1.5 are most likely equipment measuring errors. My information comes from very credible sources I am not a physicist nor a mathematician and don’t claim to be. So you guys are trying so hard to discredit me you’re grasping at straws. But in the end you’re trying to discredit my sources which are supposed experts.

          • Thomas Beckett

            Oct 8, 2014 at 3:54 pm

            Nobody is trying to discredited your source MHendon, only the limited and finite manner in which you are applying the information your source provides. All the information to prove 1.5 SF is not a limit is in your sources article but for some reason you still cannot comprehend its contents so here is an email response to a question I asked your source directly if exceeding a 1.5 Smash Factor is possible. Directly from your source MHendon here is Daves response.

            Sure!
            “Tournament legal” will require a COR of no more than 0.83. (If that
            were not the case, higher smash factors would be easier to get.)
            Let’s also factor in that the ball is 46 grams. (Lower weight gives a
            higher smash factor, BUT you’ll get less distance from the ball for a
            given launch velocity. So nobody even tries to do that.)
            When you plug that into the equations, you can get a full 1.5 smash
            factor from a head of 214g at a 5 degree loft. For 1.52, the head
            weight is close to 230 grams.
            Hope this helps.
            DaveT

            In conclusion to settle this once and for all with you MHendon, what Dave is saying is that for a driver head weight of 214g and 5 degrees of loft or at 10 degrees of loft and 229g of head weight, both achieve a 1.5 SF, any increase in weight or decrease in loft breaks a 1.5 SF. One thing that is pretty important distinction to make in the SF formula isn’t the actual loft of the driver, rather the dynamic loft at impact thats used in the calculation so its possible for a driver heads with 5 and 10 degrees to both be at the same dynamic loft at impact. When factoring in the golf ball weight for calculation of SF, the assumption is being made that the ball is at the max legal weight but a lighter ball will improve smash factor. Its entirely possible for a long drive club with 3 to 5 degrees of loft or a “short driver” with 9 degrees of loft to have enough head weight to exceed a 1.5 SF using equipment available today. The reason I mention the short driver is because it requires a lot more additional head weight to obtain a proper swing weight and would be very easy for someone with the right impact conditions to achieve a SF above 1.5 but the tradeoff would be less club head speed due to the shorter shaft. Since the game of golf is about distance and direction, from a practical application to distance smash factor is just one of several variables a golfer can change as each golfer is different and for some a lighter head sacrificing SF but significantly increase club head speed maybe more beneficial whereas a golfer with a lot of speed and poor direction might try to increase SF with a shorter heavier club which maintains distance through better contact to make up for the loss in club speed due to the shorter shaft. As I stated in my earlier post and confirmed by your source , the theoretical smash factor limit is 2.0 and the smash factor limit is governed only by the variables in the formula and is not 1.5 as you have claimed.

          • MHendon

            Oct 8, 2014 at 6:02 pm

            LOL Wow Thomas I got to hand it to you. I think you’re more stubborn than even I am. I never would have even considered that by reducing the weight of the ball you could achieve a smash factor of 1.5 or slightly above while staying in the legal limits of equipment so I guess I’ll have to concede this one to you. However as you said know one would do that because the ball wouldn’t go as far. So at least maybe you will concede that my initial post that got this whole debate started is in fact valid. The numbers suggested for these three Callaway drivers are suspect because for one I doubt they where using a ball lighter in weight than standard and generally Callaway has been know for making lighter weight heads to try and increase speed. Although I will concede I don’t know the weight of these three heads. It’s been fun Thomas.

      • Dan

        Oct 8, 2014 at 5:57 pm

        Those are averages, you should work on your reading comprehension.

  32. hebron1427

    Oct 1, 2014 at 5:09 pm

    sooo….they made a big bertha alpha with different sole graphics?

    • CT

      Oct 2, 2014 at 12:46 am

      Yes. It’s the old we moved 3 grams of weight around to increase MOI just for you trick. Won’t be beating my alpha aftermarket shaft combo.

      Callaway turning into TM. Makes me sick!

  33. Don

    Oct 1, 2014 at 4:46 pm

    Meh. Looks like Callaway is going the route of Tour Exotics esthetics. Compare this with the new Titleist 915 and you can see how much of a toy this looks.

  34. SMH

    Oct 1, 2014 at 4:10 pm

    lmfao very sad and embarrassing, you can tell some TMAG hack is running the show over at callaway releasing all this new crap like they are

  35. Shawn

    Oct 1, 2014 at 4:02 pm

    I wish these weren’t blue.

    • enrique

      Oct 1, 2014 at 8:24 pm

      Are they blue? I thought it was the reflection of the sky but then saw some blue flake. It’s better not be blue. I never played the alpha because it was blue.

  36. billy

    Oct 1, 2014 at 2:33 pm

    SWEET!! Looks like most of the shaft upgrades are made for Callaway though. Sure they will be good, just hope they have all of them in fitting carts with all flexes.

    • Sean

      Oct 1, 2014 at 5:27 pm

      Authentic real deal shafts are what I’m told…….no “made for” junk.

      At $500 bills that’s the least they can do.

      Current Alpha working very well so I’ll be impressed if either of these models outperform it.

      Heard the Aldlia Rogue Silver shaft is the bomb but I’m not familiar with it…….yet!

      Good luck Callaway.

      • WILSON

        Oct 3, 2014 at 5:55 pm

        I hit it in a 915 D3, that club was absolutely the bomb. Blown away.

  37. Danny

    Oct 1, 2014 at 2:20 pm

    Holy crap, Callaway taking over Taylormade as kings of the new driver every month

    • steve

      Oct 1, 2014 at 3:50 pm

      What how can you not love a new driver every 3 months? Since my 975d I have been getting a new driver every year and adding 12 yards with each driver. Do the math started at 290yds with the 975d 15 years ago. 15 new drivers 12 added yards each. 15×12=180 more yards then the 975d. Holy crap i am hitting it 470yds. Love it, keep it coming

      • Bryan

        Oct 1, 2014 at 4:09 pm

        Well said!

      • mhendon

        Oct 1, 2014 at 7:13 pm

        and the bet part is that 975d was $399.99 15 years ago and you’ll be able to get this new Callaway for $199.99 in a year if you can stand to wait.

        • Rich

          Oct 2, 2014 at 9:02 pm

          You are just a troll now. You keep saying the same stuff on every new equipment story. If you’re not interested in the new equipment (you keep saying nothing is better than your 10 year old driver), then stop reading the equipment stories and move onto something else. Your comments were valid the first couple of times but now you’re boring.

          • steve

            Oct 2, 2014 at 9:39 pm

            You are the definition of a troll. You think the points of view are boring, but you respond to them to start argument. Who keeps reading something over and over they think is boring? Do you watch a tv show and complain how boring it is week after week. If you don’t like an opinion ignore or go away, time to grow up.

          • Rich

            Oct 3, 2014 at 7:33 pm

            Thanks Steve. You’re right, I should know better. Thanks for setting me straight.

          • Ty Webb

            Oct 4, 2014 at 12:07 am

            +1
            Couldn’t have said it any better Rich.

          • MHendon

            Oct 5, 2014 at 10:18 pm

            Hmmm where did I say my 10 year old driver is as good as the new stuff. I think what I was saying basically is you can get NEW golf equipment cheaper now than you could 15 years ago. Seams a little ironic to me because people keep complaining about the cost of the game. Hey but glad to know I have a fan Rich! Oh and my driver is only 3 years old.

        • Dale Doback

          Oct 4, 2014 at 9:37 am

          What’s the point of posting that MHendon? Its a no brainier that if you wait until a product is discounted or discontinued it will be cheaper. The 975d may have been 399.99 15 years ago but it’s resale value now is around $2.50. Maybe people should wait 15 years and then they could really get a bargain, good luck getting home on the short bus.

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Equipment

Talking New Level Golf with founder Eric Burch

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“If you want to make a small fortune, start with a big fortune”

It’s a phrase I’ve heard many times before, not just with the golf industry but in other industries that are, let’s call them — leisure or sports-focused. It’s an uphill climb to enter any market, but golf might be on another level. There are the big players that are worth BILLIONS, and spend millions of dollars in research and development, along with equal amounts marketing, to make sure that every golfer is aware of their new club technologies. They also have well-oiled systems of distribution.

But in this new world of brand-agnostic fitting centers, boutique brands, social media, and the ability to reach your target demographic like never before there are a LOT of new companies creating high performance, high quality, well-engineered products. But when it comes to forged irons for golfers of all abilities, industry veteran Eric Burch’s New Level Golf stands on its own.

If you don’t know Eric Burch, and you’ve gone through a custom fitting recently, then you are at least partially aware of some of the breakthroughs he’s helped create in the golf industry, including the Club Conex system. His newest endeavor New Level Golf was only started in 2017, but in that short time, it has made some very big strides including distribution in over 150 brand agnostic club fitting facilities and now some professional golfers signed to the roster (including PGA Tour winner Ken Duke).

So how do you go from designing club fitting components to designing forged irons and starting a company that has products on the Golf Digest Hot List? I got the chance to talk to Eric about New Level Golf, his background and how after his years in the golf industry he wouldn’t want to be anywhere else.

RB: Based on your history in the golf industry you seem to be a real problem solver with a “Be your own boss” mentality, is that how you would describe your self?

EB: I’ve been in business for myself since my early 20s. Other than a few short stints for other golf companies, I have primarily been my own boss involved with golf. I would consider myself a problem solver. Not necessarily by design, but mainly due to starting companies that have always been undercapitalized which forces your hand to learn a variety of tasks to help the business move forward.
Although I’ve received notoriety as a club fitter/retailer, Club Conex, and now New Level. I’ve been fortunate to have won the professional Clubmaker’s Top Shop Award (2004), Golf Digest Top 100 Club Fitters (2016),  & have products I’ve designed be on the Golf Digest Hot List (2019).

RB: What was the first product & club head you ever designed, and how does the workflow go now with New Level?

EB: The first golf products were, of course, the Club Conex prototypes and those were generated from hand-rendered sketches. I still believe, given what I did with Club Conex and the universal system I designed, I hardly get the credit I deserve. I bought a milling machine without really knowing how to use it and over the course of 6-7 months taught myself how to use it and started creating prototypes. Those prototypes eventually became the Uni-Fit system.

The first clubs I ever designed were putters dating back to the mid 2000s, but in terms of New Level, I know what I am trying to accomplish in design as well as fitting into player categories that comes from my years working at my own shop and fitting golfers from professionals to higher handicaps. Since product is made overseas, the engineers I work with at our factory have done a very good job of helping bring my concepts and designs to fruition. I really enjoy doing the designs and creating something that will one day be in someone’s golf bag.  The only current issue with the success we’re seeing now is if the company continues to push forward we will at some point be forced to bring on an industrial design engineer to further help with product development, but that would be in 2021 as most of our products for next year are in development, or have already been developed.

RB: On that note, how long from having an initial concept to that first set of irons or at least a prototype head in hand?

EB: This is heavily dependant on the complexity of the design. The 4995 HB took almost 9 months to get it where we wanted, whereas the 902 took just about four months. Typically we can get a first article sample of a playable sample in less than 60 days.

RB: When you consider the logistics and tooling involved, that’s quite an impressive turnaround time. From a design perspective, what do you think is the most misunderstood part of creating an iron head and the manufacturing process that you face?

EB: This is a hot topic with me since most people just don’t understand the depth of the manufacturing process. A lot of people think of the term open model (a factory’s in house design produced to create a starting point for some companies), they think we are just stamping our name on a head that is already been refined and finished by someone else which couldn’t be further from the truth.

Like with many aspects of club designs some of the tooling we use are openly available, but for example the raw forged blank head is on average 407 grams on a 6 iron that needs to be designed into a profile that weighs just 262 grams. So as you can imagine a club head overweight by more that 35 percent, it’s far from being a finished product. We call all the shots when it comes to every pertinent parameter and specifications of our design. The only thing incorporated into using this process and something we can’t change is the offset of the club. All other facets of the design are facilitated by my directive and incorporated into the final design.

I chose this method of manufacturing for New Level because it allows a far more flexible range of experimentation before a final design is consummated and brought to market. As a new company starting out it would have been near impossible to use a process similar to other OEMs that create a final tool for each and every design solely based on scale. We had several designs that were not used because they didn’t make the cut when it comes to performance and if we had gone the other route we would have had hundreds of thousands of dollars in tooling alone from products that never saw the light of day.

This process is called the “near net” process, and I find it to be much more in tune with today’s industry. I will take it one step further by saying regardless how good one may be at hand grinding and polishing, a human will never be as consistent and effective as a CNC machine. This entire process allows us to keep our costs reasonable and offer a…uniquely designed, full one-piece forged club for a fair price. There are a lot of other companies using this process you’d just never suspect it.

RB: As a club builder and fitter myself, I have encountered my fair share of misconceptions from golfers, what do YOU feel is the number one thing golfer misunderstand from a design perspective of their clubs?

EB: I can only speak from my experiences, but most golfers are scared of the word “forged” as it has been far too long associated with blades and hard to hit designs. I believe the average weekend warrior still views forged as a design methodology as opposed to a manufacturing process. That is a major objective for New Level to prove that forged clubs can be forgiving, can produce great ball speed, & can be used by your average mid handicap player. Our 1126, for example, is longer from heel to toe, has a shallow profile, and deep undercut – lots of forgiveness for any level of player. From a fitting perspective, I’d say that over 80 percent of players are using shafts that are too heavy, and too stiff for them.

RB:  We’ve talked a lot about the product, and now I need to know – How many retail outlets currently carry your irons and wedges. And lastly, what advantage do you believe New Level irons and wedges have over the competition?

EB: New Level products can be found at roughly 150 locations worldwide and growing almost weekly. If I had my way, we’d never sell another club off the website since I truly believe getting fit by a professional is the best way to get the right set, but saying that as the brand is growing and during the infancy stages, I am trying to get as much product in the field of play as possible to spread brand awareness. We get positive feedback on a daily basis. We have an extensive questionnaire on our site to help those that are not close to one of our retailers, and we also have a lot of people that see our clubs, like what they see and order to their known specs.

As far as our advantages go, I believe it’s pretty simple — being small allows us to pay more attention to each and every client and ensure they are getting the attention that they deserve. The mentality is always to be big enough to make money, yet no matter how we grow, act small and care about every single customer. Currently, we have the care part down very well. My belief is with any business I’ve ever been involved with is that if you do the right thing and stay focused eventually the money will take care of itself. It’s funny because I experience many of the same challenges with New Level as I did with Club Conex early on. Although I am mixed in with a ton of larger players in the golf industry, with New Level I am starting to see our awareness with golfers grow. I hope that this growth continues and we still maintain a great rapport with our customer base.

If you are interested in New Level products check out their website, or call and check with your local club fitter for availability.

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Forum Thread of the Day: “New irons from Mizuno”

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Today’s Forum Thread of the Day showcases new irons that are on the way from Mizuno. Reportedly two years away from being released, but that hasn’t stopped our members from discussing and speculating on the new irons from the Japanese manufacturers.

Here are a few posts from the thread, but make sure to check out the entire discussion and have your say at the link below.

  • halfsumo: “I told myself no new irons until the new MP line comes out. Chris Voshall on TXG’s youtube said something along the lines that the new irons are “not what you’d typically expect from Mizuno”….”
  • deep18: “The one on the left in the bottom pic kinda looks like a 919 Tour.”
  • BlackM00Nlight: “Bottom picture, iron on the right appears to have a beveled leading edge, CB design, and chrome finish.”

Entire Thread: “New irons from Mizuno”

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Callaway ERC Soft Yellow now part of “Play Yellow” campaign to benefit Children’s Miracle Hospital

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Callaway Golf has today announced its ERC Soft Yellow golf ball is part of a new program: Play Yellow.

The Play Yellow campaign is an initiative from Callaway where the company will donate $4 for every dozen ball pack sold of their ERC Soft Yellow golf balls in support of Children’s Miracle Hospital Network (from today until the end of May).

The campaign runs from April 19 to May 31, and speaking on the initiative Callaway President & CEO, Chip Brewer stated

“Callaway Golf is honored to support the Children’s Miracle Network Hospitals — an outstanding organization — through this Play Yellow initiative. We’re inspired by the golf industry’s broad effort to rally around this important cause and campaign.”

As a recap, the ERC golf ball from Callaway features their Hybrid cover which is designed to create a combination of faster ball speeds for longer distance, softer feel, and higher spin for excellent control around the green. The ball contains a Graphene-infused Dual SoftFast Core which through a larger inner core seeks to maximize compression energy while minimizing driver-spin for high launch and greater distance. The balls also include Triple Track lines for improved alignment.

 

 

 

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