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Callaway Big Bertha and Big Bertha Alpha drivers



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.

gravity core diagram

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.

Click here to see more photos and what GolfWRX Members are saying about the Big Bertha and Big Bertha Alpha drivers in the forums.

Click here to see more photos and what GolfWRX Members are saying about the Big Bertha and Big Bertha Alpha drivers in the forums.

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  1. bellsy13

    Jan 13, 2014 at 4:01 pm

    What were the designers of this club thinking? I understand the Bertha was a great driver but this is the worst looking club I’ve seen in years. But it is great to hit, not terribly forgiving, but long.

    • R

      Jan 19, 2014 at 2:52 pm

      I think the Alpha is the coolest looking driver, ever!

  2. Love2golf

    Jan 9, 2014 at 12:34 am

    La grosse Bertha!!!

  3. Hertz

    Dec 25, 2013 at 8:31 pm

    I feel the part of the Alpha model that is overlooked in regards to what it offers is the actual tube that the gravity core goes in. It’s very similar to what Zevo did in the early 2000’s with the Compressor driver. Having the crown and sole connected like it is truly helps the head not bulge or expand (not really sure how to best word it) boosting energy transfer back into the ball.

    Something I am curious to know is WHY NOT OFFER THE OPTION TO GO FLATTER??? not just upright with the cog… I understand that the majority of golfers need more draw bias but me personally, I need one that sits open and flatter. What is the lie angle in the standard position?

    • Nocklaus

      Oct 9, 2014 at 9:13 pm

      I don’t know about the lie angle, but the clubface is open in standard position (alpha)

  4. Deaus

    Dec 24, 2013 at 11:18 pm

    I wish they would go back to a style more like the ft-3 Tour, that is the best driver Callaway has made IMO. I played a Tour Issue version of that driver for 4 seasons until the face cracked. It was not the most forgiving but when nutted it was a MONSTER!!!

    • clynt elsworthy

      Dec 26, 2013 at 6:35 pm

      Agree with you on the ft-3, best sound when middled and not too bad when out the toe. I’m now driving R1, and it can be deafening if you get it in the wrong spot! Have kept the ft-3 8.5 Tour in the spare bag just in case.

  5. Eric

    Dec 24, 2013 at 10:12 pm

    Wow, wish it looked like the original with new technology. Black, grey, and red! Not hard!


    Dec 18, 2013 at 4:08 pm

    Can you add just a little more crap to these ugly looking things….. oh please?

  7. Drew

    Dec 11, 2013 at 1:55 pm

    goodness, these are some ugly clubs

    • Bob

      Dec 17, 2013 at 7:00 am

      Not in person as they are extremely good looking.

    • Steven

      Feb 18, 2014 at 10:45 am

      Are you blind mr!!!!

    • Steven

      Feb 18, 2014 at 10:59 am

      I’ve been hitting both these clubs today the alpha is loads harder to hit consistently than the big bertha. Love the way the Bertha sets up, the feel and a extra distance with a different tour shaft than standard 10-20 yrds. I’ve tried all the new drivers that are out right now. Nothing will touch the Bertha and I’m a Titleist and taylormade fan. Tellin e!!!

  8. Scott

    Dec 6, 2013 at 3:56 pm

    I liked the prototype better

  9. David F

    Dec 5, 2013 at 1:29 pm

    The adjustability trend in woods is getting a little bit silly. How many golfers actually know how to make the proper adjustments? I guess it could make sense to have a professional fitter make the adjustments for you, essentially creating a club head that can be custom tailored in the store without having to wait for a factory order. But I’d like to see a solution that leaves all those weights hidden afterwards, I want my club head clean and without all the bolts and tracks and stuff all over it. And the adjustable loft is just completely useless, if you are good enough that a degree back or forth makes that huge a difference you should be fitted anyway, and it’s hardly a huge ordeal for stores to carry 3 or 4 different lofts in a driver like they always have.

    • Brandon

      Dec 11, 2013 at 4:55 pm

      The ability to adjust the driver is mainly derived for proper fitting. The concept is that you go get everything optimized prior to purchase and leave it set that way, not to buy a driver and then play with the settings constantly.

  10. RT

    Dec 4, 2013 at 9:57 pm

    Callaway looking good for 2014!!!

  11. dave

    Dec 4, 2013 at 3:35 pm

    whatever happened to lead weight tape?, a bastard to get off

  12. ajc

    Dec 4, 2013 at 10:53 am

    Next, Callaway combine those two drivers into one with an unholy alliance of horizontal workability and flight path tuning to create…the Son of Big Bertha!

    MSRP $599 … shut up and take my money

    I’m only half joking. I’m sure they could make that work. And if the Alpha is successful (read: sales are good), that HAS to be the next logical step.

  13. Mike

    Dec 3, 2013 at 7:22 pm

    How did they tune the sound though? Wonder about this screw in the Alpha. I will give it a rip.

  14. Mike

    Dec 3, 2013 at 6:42 pm

    I am impresed by the Alpha. Some new technology at least and its also up there with the looks

  15. Ryan

    Dec 3, 2013 at 5:15 pm

    How does lowering CG lower spin rate ? I thought higher CG meant lower spin all things being equal.

    • CK

      Dec 7, 2013 at 12:29 pm

      When they talk about lowering CG, they are talking about the CG to the neutral axis which is the axis normal to the face. So basically, the lower the CG is with respect to the striking point and angle on the club face, the less spin. That’s why Taylormade (and now callaway) is all about low, forward CG now….it means distance.

      Butttttt (and of course there is a but), low forward CG is a terrible spot for high MOI (so is the “gravity core” in the high position). Perimeter weighting makes high MOI (think cavity back…and i dont mean the Covert). So, if all else is equal, you hit a ball on the center of the face with a club with lower CG to the neutral axis, it will go farther. If you hit it off the center of the face with that same low CG sucka, its going sideways cuz the MOI is low, meaning the clubhead wants to rotate. This is one of those whats best for the pros isnt best for everyone else sorta moments. They dont need MOI cuz they hit the face center. Same thing as the SLeDdeR, hit it in the center of the face and it goes farther on the launch monitor than a lot of clubs, but then you miss hit it a little and that honeymoon magic is gone.So there is everyone’s basic physics lesson for today 🙂

      Moral of the story, unless you are a plus hcap, you probably want a balance of high MOI and low CG (like ZL Encore or G25 or a lot of other things) and low forward CG is dumb. Well thats my little rant, hope it wasnt a complete waste of time for those of you who read it. Cheers.

  16. eaw

    Dec 3, 2013 at 4:29 pm

    Some of these comments are crazy…..everyone realizes that Callaway is a for-profit business correct? Correct me if I am wrong but TM got to the top by marketing gadgetry in their woods. I’ve been to demo days with buddies and watched a guy bomb (straight too) an FT9 over and over and over but then buy the TM offering at the time, R1 maybe, because it had more “gadgets”, and that was the only reason. Consider this, the average male golfer handicap is a 16. I consider serious golfers, the one’s that can tell they missed the center of the club face and can feel mistakes, to be 10 and under handicaps. So that basically leaves like what 80-85% of the golf market that will be looking to buy a game? What do you expect the Callaway’s and Taylor Made’s to do?

  17. Rod T.

    Dec 3, 2013 at 3:09 pm

    what size are the 2 different drivers the difference seems to be the same as the optiforce 460 and the 440 which i have and like. I’ll probably try the alpha.

    • Sean

      Dec 3, 2013 at 10:23 pm

      Both are 460 however the Alpha has a slightly smaller footprint due to a deeper face

  18. Steve C

    Dec 3, 2013 at 2:22 pm

    In my opinion, players have become overly obsessive about distance. All to often that extra yardage is out of the fairway. The money spent on this, or any new gadget, would likely be better spent on a few private lessons. If the lessons don’t work out, there will ALWAYS be a new club promising to make your dreams come true!

    • Matt

      Dec 3, 2013 at 3:11 pm

      Well Said Steve!!

      • KCCO

        Dec 3, 2013 at 3:55 pm

        Agreed……I would like to know how many people actually adjust any of adjustable weighting systems or other adjustments. Understood if certain drivers don’t come in a specified loft anymore, and you are forced to choose a loft, but I truly believe if adjustments are needed there is a flaw in the swing which backs up above theory of lessons more important than adjustability.

        I personally have never adjusted anything, I do think shaft has more factor in end result of your potential with each driver. If anything, you should be fit for proper shaft IMO.

        (When I say I’ve never adjusted, last drivers I played were purchased at a desired loft. ex. R11s, 913d3) In a perfect world, my perfect driver would be a properly fitted glued shaft. If my ball is spraying it’s me, nothing I can fix confidently with adjustability. I would rather know what I’m doing to cause the flaw than put a band-aid on problem. Just my opinion.

        • Scotty

          Feb 24, 2014 at 12:41 pm

          I’ve used the adjustability on my xhot driver to set the face open, which helps stop me missing left if I rip through it and helps lower my ball flight/spin by reducing the loft as well. Can’t get the head in lofts lower than 9.5* so it’s good that I can reduce the loft lower than that. Got properly fitted into a shaft as well, although I was a bit limited with which shafts I could get in x flex without having to pay a massive upcharge.

    • Gamby

      Mar 6, 2014 at 10:56 am

      Amen to that.

  19. wcavanau

    Dec 3, 2013 at 1:56 pm

    I love all the new technology. Love to try new stuff, but still think the money is better invested in lessons than in a new driver every year. I will say though that I did hit the SLDR using trackman and was consistently 15-17 yards longer than my RBZ. I need to try it on the course but it did cause me to raise an eyebrow!

  20. Matt

    Dec 3, 2013 at 1:12 pm

    I hope Mizuno is making royalties off the SLDR and the “New” Big Bertha.

    • Oldplayer

      Dec 3, 2013 at 3:09 pm

      Callaway had a patent on a sliding weight system before Mizuno or Taylormade.

      • NG

        Dec 11, 2013 at 6:08 pm

        …and TM had it before Mizuno, polar opposite I think

      • Jason

        Dec 25, 2013 at 6:27 pm


        • RobN

          Jan 6, 2014 at 4:48 pm

          At a recent Callaway demo, the rep told us that Callaway patented their sliding weight in 2004.

          This also goes to show that most of this technology isn’t “new” at all. Look back at the majority of gadgets and whizmos that TaylorMade has put out on their latest clubs; many of the patents on ‘newly released’ clubs are many, many years old!

  21. Scott

    Dec 3, 2013 at 12:40 pm

    If i were to replace the stock gravity core with an enriched uranium core would it help me bomb my drives ?

    • Matt

      Dec 3, 2013 at 1:09 pm

      No, but Iran would probably buy it from you for a hefty premium.

    • wcavanau

      Dec 3, 2013 at 1:57 pm

      You need the flux capacitor to produce the 1.1mil jigawatts!!

      • RG

        Dec 5, 2013 at 4:06 pm

        Or you have to replace it with a Mr. Fusion. Then you could power up with an apple core…

    • Joe Saraceno

      Dec 3, 2013 at 4:02 pm

      Thank you, I needed that

  22. Tommy Truth

    Dec 3, 2013 at 12:24 pm

    They look like cheap Golfsmith OEM clubs and have had zero thought put into them. Like the Chevy Malibu of Callaway. Damn they are ugly!! Me thinks Callaway is just trying to make a fast buck.

    • Sean

      Dec 3, 2013 at 10:28 pm

      Yo T…….these clubs look ugly or cheap? Couldn’t disagree more. I suppose looks are subjective and everyone’s entitled to their opinion but I would be interested to know what in your opinion “looks good” in comparison.

  23. Nick

    Dec 3, 2013 at 12:19 pm

    I have never much cared for the adjustability craze. I’d rather just tinker with my swing. If I change the swing and the variable on the club – mind blown. KISS

  24. B Jones

    Dec 3, 2013 at 12:04 pm

    I have circled back to a Driver from 4 generations back, with a shaft fitted to my golf swing. I hit my drive in middle of the fairway and thanks to the ProV1 I am happy with my distance based upon my swing speed and age. My wallet is happy and I am happy.

    Every day a new driver is on the market. Can it really make that much difference?

    • Nick

      Dec 3, 2013 at 12:18 pm

      And you just know that if this core takes off the next one will be able to move anywhere from top, to 3/4, to middle, etc.

  25. Jim

    Dec 3, 2013 at 12:03 pm

    I kept the SLDR for three weeks before returning it, like so many others. I found it too light. As a senior who can’t “pound it” anymore, I’m searching for distance and a club head I can actually feel. The search goes on and I may have to resort to buying some lead tape. I still have the first Big Bertha from the early 90s which did change my game. I took it to the range a few weeks back and learned how much current technology really has changed the game. I will be interested to hit the new Big Bertha in February.

    • Nick

      Dec 3, 2013 at 12:11 pm

      Have you tried the Razr Fit? Its a few seasons old (price!) and weighty.

      • pablo

        Dec 4, 2013 at 7:12 pm

        Agreed Nick, I upgraded my Callaway Diablo Octane to the RAZR Fit driver earlier this year and I love it. Good deals can be found on them also!

  26. dcorun

    Dec 3, 2013 at 11:57 am

    I got the Cleveland Classic XL Custom when the price dropped. Got fitted and have the right shaft, a launch angle of 14* and spin rate of 2800. I can adjust from my 10.5* to 11.5* or 9.5* and open or close the face and that’s enough for me. I think they all may be going too far and will start confusing golfers especially ones who try to adjust the driver without a proper fitting. Just a quick response to the gentleman who couldn’t square up the club, when he did start doing it, wouldn’t any of the new drivers have added yardage to his drives?

  27. Mike

    Dec 3, 2013 at 11:54 am

    It blows my mind every time new equipment comes out and the vast majority of comments are hating on whatever company released it. If you’re not interested in new stuff, why are you all reading the article? If you’re driver from 4 years ago is clearly just as good, if not superior to what is coming out, why not spend that out enjoying your current clubs instead of trolling. You’re fighting a losing battle. A lot of us enjoy getting new stuff to try. It’s part of the fun of the game. I’m interested in new technology and finding out if it works for me or not. As long as people are buying, companies will be producing. Some of it is gimmicky and some of it is legitimate new tech that COULD help some players. I guess what I’m saying is just calm down and have some fun.
    p.s. we just got our first real snowfall of the season here in utah today so i’m jealous of all of you in warmer climates right now. hope you get to go enjoy the weather still.

    • Nick

      Dec 3, 2013 at 12:13 pm

      Pretty sure you just trolled the haters by being the stereotypical fan boy they all rag on.

      – Nick from Miami.

  28. scott

    Dec 3, 2013 at 11:26 am

    Callaway owns the patent to the word ‘Slider’ people. Not a TM or Mizuno invention!!!This track technology was patented 15yrs ago by Callaway so who is copying who….SLDR does nothing to enhance the spring effect as its to far from the face. mp600 as well as SLDR’s MOI is terrible as they couldnt use the perimiter….oh thats right coz Callaway owns the patent as they know it works!
    These clubs are the real deal, you will see! Gravity core will revolutionize the wood industry just like the origional Bertha. Rock on 2014!!!

    • Bob R

      Dec 5, 2013 at 7:44 pm

      No, actually the SLDR has a track in front because a low, forward CG promotes a decrease in backspin at a nominal launch. Yes, you do lose MOI, but as being described as a player’s club you would expect as much.

      • NG

        Dec 11, 2013 at 6:10 pm

        MOI is so 1999…bulge and roll has more effect on miss hits than MOI ever had

        • Mike

          Dec 31, 2013 at 2:49 pm

          MOI has a breaking point…once a certain level is reached the impact is very minimal at best. Ask any R&D guy from any of the manufacturer’s. That’s why the whole MOI craze has cooled off. They hit the ceiling on it and no more benefit.

  29. Bryan

    Dec 3, 2013 at 10:46 am

    Not trying to be the, “Back in my day,” guy here. (I’m 36) Could you imagine what Nicklaus, Palmer, Norman and so on would’ve done with todays equipment and balls? I know it’s an old discussion, but good lord the equipment is out of control. I’d like to see a 1975 and older equipment/balls tourney and see the scores.

    • Jim

      Dec 3, 2013 at 12:44 pm

      I still have my MacGregor M 65 W Eye-O-Matic persimmon driver from the 70s with its head smaller than most hybrids of today. It’s True Temper Dynamic Stiff shaft would be a bit too firm for me today (half way into my 60s). Back in the day, Jack, Arnie, Lee and Johnny were incredibly gifted athletes with outstanding eye-hand coordination. I have no doubt in my mind that, as much as I loved the spin from my balatta balls, today’s technology has made the game much more enjoyable for everyone. I still play Mizuno blades (regular flex) and hybrids have replaced my 1, 2 and 3 irons while vision problems have forced me to hit optic yellow balls, the game is still as much fun for me as it was in the 60s and 70s. That’s all thanks to technology.

    • Joe Saraceno

      Dec 3, 2013 at 4:06 pm

      That would be an eye opener, somebody should do that.

    • Matt

      Dec 5, 2013 at 10:52 am

      They weren’t playing 7500-7800 yard courses back then. I would like to see that tournament but it would have to be played on a 6800 yard course to be a real comparison. I doubt you would see much of a difference. The way those guys strike the ball, it wont much matter whats in their hands.

  30. Rob

    Dec 3, 2013 at 10:23 am

    I’ve heard from a number of people the alpha is a ground breaking piece of kit, and insanely good. I will stick with the sldr, it works for me, maybe not all, but that’s why we get custom fit…right?

  31. Scott

    Dec 2, 2013 at 10:29 pm

    A lot of exciting new drivers on the market, everyone can find something they like. Just wait 6 months after release and save $100

  32. Martin

    Dec 2, 2013 at 8:38 pm

    Nice to see that Callaway returns to Fubuki shafts as stock. Have of course not tried these shafts yet, but I really like the Fubuki shafts. I think both of the clubs look nice at adress, the big bertha looks a little like the FT9 tour and the alpha more like the FT Tour. Maybe I remember wrong, just my first impression. BTW why not re-release a FT9 Tour with a real Fubuki Tour shaft as stock? Maybe add five-six other shafts to chose from at no upcharge and sell it for 200 dollars (no research costs needed which would lower the cost). Just paint the head in gold, pink, baby blue, sunburst or maybe a red with “christmas special” stamped on it!

  33. Nick

    Dec 2, 2013 at 7:57 pm

    This is what Phil wanted Callaway to produce after using Taylormade’s SLDR. This is the second time he used a Taylormade product and wanted something similar so he can use a Callaway made product. He was using an RBZ 3 wood with the really deep face and then Callaway came out with the X Hot 3 Deep.

  34. Deck

    Dec 2, 2013 at 7:18 pm

    What’s the weight weigh in the sliding track of the Bertha? Anyone know?

  35. Micrys

    Dec 2, 2013 at 6:27 pm

    Ok, I am reading along and thinking WoW!!! Maybe this is somewhat interesting. Similar to the Mizzy 600 but with that core thingy maybe they have got something. Was a little more than interested in maybe trying it.

    Then I got to the part of the article that talked about the head being composite……..lost ALL interest. Maybe it’s just me but I truly do not like composte. Better for distance I guess but I am not after distance (believe it
    or not). Especially in the Alpha? Really?

    Also fail to understand the $100 up charge for the Alpha. Are the shafts really that different?

    Not a Cally hater. Just don’t understand. They do make really great products. Just missed the mark for me.

    • Phil

      Dec 3, 2013 at 4:22 pm

      I haven’t like cally composite since FT5. The rest feel clunky.

  36. DC

    Dec 2, 2013 at 5:09 pm

    Question: Is Mizuno getting any money from all of these ripoffs of their “track” design? Or are these coincidentally being released when the patent ran out or something?

    • RobN

      Jan 6, 2014 at 4:55 pm

      Callaway has held the patent for their track system looong before Mizuno and TMaG built their licensed versions.

  37. lloyd duffield

    Dec 2, 2013 at 4:53 pm


  38. RAT

    Dec 2, 2013 at 4:53 pm

    copying Mizuno MP 600 ,had one any didn’t work that much.Didn’t like it

  39. RAT

    Dec 2, 2013 at 4:51 pm

    Looks like the MP600 from Mizuno with the sliding weight.
    Had one and did not like it that much.

  40. jc

    Dec 2, 2013 at 4:28 pm

    but if you hit the ball straight or close to it, just buy a Ping G25 and then wait for the others to hit their second shot from the fairway before you.

    I only have one adjustment I can make, 1/2 loft change and that is enough.

    If you need all the weights and tubes and sliders, you probably should go get a lesson on how to grip a club and how to set up.

    • Taylor

      Dec 2, 2013 at 9:10 pm

      Well said. I have my R1 at 10 degrees and haven’t changed a single thing on it.

  41. Martin

    Dec 2, 2013 at 4:11 pm

    I am a super highspin driver of the ball, I will certainly try these clubs.

    They look terrific, but in all probability my downward striking issue will overpower these as well.

  42. Bob R

    Dec 2, 2013 at 4:05 pm

    I find it suspicious that most of the comments are praising this product… This thing looks terrible and is a straight copy from other technologies. They can’t even hide the fact that this is Mizuno technology(if we insist on complaining about the big companies copying).

    Yes, it may adjust spin by moving it up or down and I applaud them for trying something somewhat out of the box… but who really needs higher spin? With all the material on the inside and the structure that is built on top to hold the “core” in place, I seriously doubt you will be getting low spin numbers even with the “core” placed in the low setting. Please people, think about it. Just another gimmick.

  43. JB

    Dec 2, 2013 at 4:03 pm

    Address view is OK. Other that it looks terrible.

  44. R. U. Kidding

    Dec 2, 2013 at 3:34 pm

    Callaway = Always late to the party.
    Why does Callaway suck ?
    Because they can’t come up with anything original ….. always copying TMAG

    • GG

      Dec 2, 2013 at 6:45 pm

      If Cally is copying TMAG with the sliding weight, then wouldn’t TMAG have copied Mizuno? Pot, meet kettle.

  45. Coadini

    Dec 2, 2013 at 2:07 pm

    Watched a fitting with one of my friends. He is always a few degrees closed and plays a draw with every shot. He has been losing distance over time as his body slows down. He now holds onto his drives and still plays a draw and overturns it more often. After hitting several drivers on the trackman and seeing his numbers I put the Bertha with the weight all the way on the toe. After a few swings the tech started telling him that he had to release the club to hit it straight, he couldn’t square up the head. When he did he added 32 yards to his driver distance. The Bertha has done what all the others have not been able to do and he’s tried them ALL. Great job Callaway.

    • Jimmy

      Dec 3, 2013 at 11:12 am

      So, he changed his swing and added 32 yards. “After a few swings the tech started telling him that he had to release the club to hit it straight, he couldn’t square up the head. When he did he added 32 yards to his driver distance.” No technology involved.

    • Andrew

      Dec 3, 2013 at 3:32 pm

      This Coadini is clearly a paid shill….

  46. Manny Rodriguez

    Dec 2, 2013 at 1:38 pm

    Sure Callaway “re-did” the SLDR but they did it better with the perimeter weight adjustability vs sole weight adjustability. It just makes more sense

    • johnleg

      Dec 2, 2013 at 3:55 pm

      Please, tell me how a perimeter weight slider makes more sense? I want to hear a physics explanation.

      • Birdman

        Dec 3, 2013 at 4:05 am

        SLDR is not about the slider itself but getting a spring-like speed slot behind the face, just like the RBZ and SLDR fairway. Callway uses the weight more like Mizuno in that respect.

      • Sean

        Dec 3, 2013 at 10:40 pm

        Easy….weight positioned around the perimeter you get maximum ball flight adjustability without losing any MOI (stability). Basically a club that offers greater flexibility and greater forgiveness…… who could possibly want that! Never heard of anyone putting the weight say in the center of a tennis raquet to make it more powerful or forgiving.

        • johnleg

          Dec 5, 2013 at 7:48 pm

          If you slide a weight closer to the center of gravity (i.e. closer to the face), by definition you are losing MOI. Learn physics.

  47. Steff

    Dec 2, 2013 at 1:20 pm

    What happens to the spin numbers if you take the gravity core out? I´m not sure if i believe in this. Why not just buy a driver that suits you from the beginning? Am I the only one why wants a regular performing driver without the gimmicks and marketing scams?

  48. johnloft

    Dec 2, 2013 at 1:13 pm

    If this were TM, everyone would think it’s a gimmick or rag about the Mizuno slider. I mean, c’mon. It actually looks like the Mizuno slider this time.

  49. markb

    Dec 2, 2013 at 12:47 pm

    As a Callaway Optiforce fan, I confess that I was sucked into following all 35+ pages of the company-manipulated pre-release hype published in this site’s forums. It was gripping reading, positively Shakespearian, promising untold wonders. Now I see a SLDR copy and an adjustable center weight club. Far from revolutionary.

    I suppose I was still reading Shakespearian marketing copy, too bad it turned out to be “Much Ado About Nothing” and “Love’s Labour’s Lost”.

    • Coadini

      Dec 2, 2013 at 1:54 pm

      I have hit both of these. The gravity weight in the alpha allowed me to be able to change my trajectory by 50 feet. I was amazed. I love being able to adjust my club based on the course I am about to play. I don’t need left or right help and I don’t need to adjust by 1 degree of loft. I want to have a driver that I can make fall out of the sky vertically on a tight firm course or fly low and run out when the course is more open. This is the most amazing tech change in all the years of adjustability. Now I don’t need to find a shaft that puts me in one flight pattern, I will be able to have it all. Callaway is making the game better for all level of players. Much thanks.

      • markb

        Dec 2, 2013 at 7:52 pm

        Aaah, more “most amazing tech” ever hyperbole! I thought we were done.

        O! Bertha doth teach the torches to burn bright
        It seems she hangs upon the cheek of night
        Like a rich jewel in an Ethiop’s ear;
        Technology too rich for use, for earth too dear!

      • Andrew

        Dec 2, 2013 at 10:15 pm

        Right…are you paid per post or do you work for the company?

      • Steve

        Dec 3, 2013 at 2:13 am

        lol that doesn’t sound like marketing at all

      • johnleg

        Dec 5, 2013 at 7:49 pm

        Coadini, you sound like you work for Callaway.

  50. Floyderick

    Dec 2, 2013 at 12:45 pm

    Nice! I’ll pick up the Big Bertha Alpha in Feb, then pick up the Big Bertha Beta in June, and finally the Big Bertha Gamma in November

  51. Patrick

    Dec 2, 2013 at 12:41 pm

    Alpha looks awesome and I will definitely be trying it out this spring. Between that and the new Apex line I could be a Callaway man in 2014!

  52. AJ Jensen

    Dec 2, 2013 at 12:21 pm

    Any word about the weighting on the Big Bertha without the gravity core? I would assume they’ve put the weight down and forward, like Taylor is doing with the SLDR, but it’s not specifically addressed here.

  53. TheLegend

    Dec 2, 2013 at 11:59 am

    Hey I like it! We will see if I like the results! I am all about accuracy so we will see if it has that. Right now the #1 driver for accuracy is the titleist D2 and D3.

  54. Zachary yaz

    Dec 2, 2013 at 11:45 am

    classic look at address…. me like!

  55. ND Hickman

    Dec 2, 2013 at 10:59 am

    Big Bertha is back on Valentines day? That’s the test of true love for me!

  56. LorenRobertsFan

    Dec 2, 2013 at 10:43 am

    Best looking driver from address of the last 2 years

    • Nattysurf

      Dec 6, 2013 at 3:39 am

      Yes, it looks great at address if you want to see your reflection and whatever else is behind you!!

  57. Kyle

    Dec 2, 2013 at 10:07 am

    I know a lot of people are going to rag on this, but I can’t wait to try it out!

  58. N

    Dec 2, 2013 at 10:07 am

    Alpha looks great!

    • notachop

      Dec 2, 2013 at 10:52 am

      Alpha is the real deal. Wait until you hit it. if this isn’t the best driver on the planet for 10 hdcp’s and under i don’t know what is.

      • Abigchop

        Dec 2, 2013 at 11:26 am


        • jb

          Dec 2, 2013 at 2:25 pm

          I play to a 6 hdcp and the SLDR was the least favorite of mine. 7 of my golf buddies rushed out and bought it when it was released, one of which was a pro. Every single one of them has went back to there old RBZ or Razr-Fit. SLDR blows!

          I currently have the Optiforce 440 and love it. But my inner ho is jonesing for this Big Bertha. All but the headcover, that thing is hideous lol

          • Mitch Oakes

            Dec 2, 2013 at 3:38 pm

            Agreed, Not a fan of the head cover!

          • markb

            Dec 3, 2013 at 1:09 am

            I’m with you JB. I rushed out to get the SLDR, was underwhelmed, kept it a week, and went back to the RBZ. I eventually migrated to the Optiforce 460 and am delighted. I hate to say it, but I’m beginning to get leery of drivers with adjustable, moving doo-dads on them. There’s just something that feels hollow, tinny and “loose” about them.

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7 takeaways from an AWESOME equipment talk with Padraig Harrington



Fans of golf equipment have long known that Padraig Harrington is one of us. Throughout his career, Harrington has been willing to test new products, make changes from week to week, and play with a bag of mixed equipment brands.

What equipment fans may not know, however, is just how brilliant of an equipment mind Harrington truly has.

Ahead of the 2023 Valero Texas Open, I caught up with Harrington to pick his brain about what clubs are currently in his bag, and why. The conversation turned into Harrington discussing topics such as the broader equipment landscape, brand deals in 2023, his driver testing process, why he still uses a TaylorMade ZTP wedge from 2008, square grooves vs. V-grooves, and using a knockoff set of Ping Eye 1 irons as a junior.

Padraig Harrington’s 2023 WITB

Below are my 7 major takeaways from the extensive gear talk with Harrington.

1) Padraig’s stance on equipment contracts, and why he prefers Wilson

Harrington is a longtime Wilson staffer, and although he supports the brand and uses their equipment, he doesn’t use a full bag of Wilson clubs. He finds Wilson’s understanding of a player’s need for flexibility to be beneficial to the player, and it’s attracting more and more professional players to the company (such as Kevin Kisner and Trey Mullinax).

“Wilson wants me to play whatever I’m comfortable with. It’s very important. They’re not a manufacturer that says, ‘We want you to play 14 clubs.’ There’s always a club you don’t like. That’s just the way it is. So Wilson is like, ‘We want you playing well and playing the best clubs for you.’

“I am very comfortable with their irons. I’m very comfortable with their wedges, as you can see. They have an old hybrid 4 iron that I love. They have a new hybrid 4-iron that is too powerful. I put it in the bag last week and I had to take it out. The thing is, I use a 4-iron and a 5-wood. My 4-iron has to go somewhat relative to my 5-iron, and then I have to bridge that gap between 4-iron and 5-wood, so it has to do both. The new 4-iron was going 230 yards. My 4-iron goes about 215-235, maybe 240 on a warm day. And my 5-wood is like a warm-day 265 in the air, but I have no problem hitting it 235, so I can cross it over. But this 4-iron, the new version, it just went. I couldn’t hit the 215 shot with it; it’s just too powerful. That’s why I have the old 4-iron in the bag, but it does the job to bridge the gap…

“As players get more money, they’re less dependent on manufacturers. They need the service of a manufacturer – because, like I need to be on that truck and get things checked. But you’re seeing more players see Wilson as an attractive option because you don’t have to use 14 clubs. If you’re not happy this week with the putter; you know, Wilson has the putters, they have everything, but if you want to chase something else for a moment…remember, there’s two things you’re chasing. If you’re a free agent, it’s not good to be changing a lot. That is a distraction. But it’s nice to have the option that if somebody…like I feel Titleist has come out with a great driver. And I’m able to work my way straight into Titleist and say, ‘Hey, gimmie a go with that. Oh, this is a great driver, I’m going to use this.’ Wilson is aware of that. They want their players to be happy and playing well. Like it’s still 10 clubs, but it’s just not 14 and the ball.

“The irons are great, there’s no doubt about that. They’ve won the most majors. They make a gambit of irons. If you want to use a blade, they have the blade. If you want to use my iron, which is just a good tour composite, it has a bit of a cavity-back, you can do that. If you want to use the D irons that have rockets going off there, you can have them. Like the 4 iron, the one they gave me, it was a rocket! And guys are happy to carry driving irons like that, but mine has to match in with the 5-iron. It was just too high and too fast.

“So yeah, I think you’re going to see manufacturers go more of that way. Our players want to be independent, but the problem is that full independence is not great. You don’t want a situation where you’re turning up – as you see kids who make it into their first tournament, and the manufacturers start giving them stuff, and they’re changing. You don’t want to be the guy changing too much.”

2) The dangers of a 64-degree wedge

Although Harrington himself uses a Wilson Staff High Toe 64-degree wedge, he seldom practices with it. Here’s why he warns against it:

“The big key with a 64 wedge is DO NOT use it. No, seriously, do not use it. It’s a terrible wedge for your technique. That club is in the bag and it gets used on the golf course, and it gets used when it’s needed, but you don’t practice with it, because it’s awful. So much loft will get you leading too much, and you’re going to deloft it. Hit one or two shots with it, then put it away. You’re better off practicing with a pitching wedge and adding loft to be a good chipper instead of practicing with a lob wedge and taking loft off. A 64-degree wedge is accentuating that problem. It’s a dangerous club. It does a great job at times, but it certainly can do harm.

“It’s not bad having it in the bag for a certain shot, but it’s a terrible club to practice with. I literally hit one or two full shots with it, a couple chips with it, and that’s it. I know if I spend too long with it, I’ll start de-lofting.”

3) The interchangeable faces on TaylorMade’s ZTP wedges from 2008 were Padraig’s idea?!

I couldn’t believe it myself, but Harrington says that the idea for TaylorMade to offer interchangeable face technology on its ZTP wedges in 2008 was originally his idea…

“The TaylorMade is obviously attracting a lot of attention, but that was my idea! Myself and a consultant for Wilson, I got him to build changeable faces and he sold that to TaylorMade…that’s fully my idea. He sold that then to TaylorMade, and TaylorMade produced them, which I was happy about. But TaylorMade couldn’t sell them. You can’t get people to clean the grooves, so they weren’t going to buy a new face. Why have 400 faces at home? So I went out and bought these faces to make sure I had them for life. And I was home chipping a while ago, and I have a nice 58. I like the grind on that wedge, and the fact I can just replace the face and have a fresh face every three weeks, it’s just easy, so that’s why that’s in there.”

4) Driver testing isn’t all about speed

“The driver companies know I’m a free agent when it comes to drivers, so every time a new driver comes out, they’ll come to me and say, ‘Hey, would you have a look at this?’

“I will test everything, yeah, but it has to beat what I have in the bag. And Wilson’s new driver is the same. They brought out a new driver and it’s great, but I love the driver I’m using. So I say, ‘Look, guys, not only do you have to be as good as the incumbent, you have to be better, because I already know this and I’m familiar with it.’

“Wilson has built a very, very good driver. There’s know doubt about it. But I love the driver I’m using. And none of these manufacturers can build me a driver that’s better.

“Ball speed gets a driver into the conversation, and then you bring it to the golf course. So the driver has to be going as good as my current driver, and then I bring it to the course and see if I can hit the thing straight. I have gone down the road [of prioritizing speed]…I used a driver in 2014, and it never worked weekends. But it was fast. I used it for about six weeks I’d say – six tournaments – and I missed six straight cuts. It never worked the weekend. It was really fast on the range, but it just wasn’t good on the course.”


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5) Playing with knockoff irons as a junior

“I played as a junior for Ireland, under 18’s, and I owned half a set of golf clubs, and they were imitation Ping Eye 1’s. I borrowed the other half set off my brother. We had a half set each. I had the evens, he had the odds. In that tournament, there was a guy playing with Ping Berylliums with graphite shafts. They cost 1,900 pounds. Mine cost 100 pounds, and they were knockoffs. So I played, for my country, with a set of knockoffs. Before I used those knockoff clubs, I used a mixed bag of clubs. As in, I picked up whatever club they had. The 6-iron might go farther than the 5-iron. The 5-iron might go with a fade and the 7-iron might go with a hook, but I knew what my clubs did. Each club had a purpose.”

6) Using square grooves and V-grooves simultaneously

Square grooves – or “box grooves” – were outlawed by the USGA in 2010 because they were said to help golfers spin the ball too much. V grooves are said to provide less of an advantage because they restrict the sharp edges of the grooves, thus reducing the amount of friction imparted on the golf ball. Prior to the rule change, however, Harrington actually used both V grooves and box grooves, and he’d adjust his setup depending on the golf course.

“What’s interesting is, when the box grooves were around – very few people know this – I carried two sets of clubs at all times. I carried a V groove and a box groove.

“Yeah, see, the box grooves were unbelievable out of the rough, spin wise, but if the rough got to a certain level, the ball would come out so low and with spin that it wouldn’t go very far. Your 7-iron coming out of this rough would only go like 140 yards and it wouldn’t get over any trees because it would come out so low. What I was doing was, if I got to a golf course with this sort of a rough, I’d put in a box groove 7-iron and a V-groove 8-iron. If I got in the rough and I had 170 yards, I’d hit an 8 iron and get a flyer, because the 7 iron wouldn’t get there depending on the lie. And I couldn’t get it over things. So if there were trees, you needed the V groove to get over the trees. A box groove wouldn’t get up in the air.

“No one else was doing it. I played with the box groove for a couple years before I realized that in certain rough, you need the V groove to get there. Hale Irwin played a U.S. Open seemingly with no grooves. Off the fairway it’s meant to make no difference. I would disagree, but that’s what the officials would say. But out of the rough you needed the flyers to get to the green. The V grooves were doing that for me. You get your flyer to get of the rough to get the ball there, but then if it was the first cut of rough, or light rough, or Bermuda rough, or chip shots, it would come out so low and spinny that you’d have no problem.

“I can’t believe that people didn’t realize that I was doing this two-groove thing all the time. I swear to you, you could stand here, you would not launch a 7-iron over that fence there if it was box grooves out of light rough, and V groove would launch over it. The launch characteristics were massively different.”

7) Blame the person, not the putter

Interestingly, Harrington, for all his tinkering, has only used a handful of putters. It turns out, there’s a good reason for that — although he’d like his current model to be a few millimeters taller.

“I used a 2-ball when it came out. Then I used a 2-ball blade, which I won my majors with. I always had a hook in my putts, so not long after I won my majors, I went to face-balanced putter because it helps reduce the left-to-right spin. I started putting really badly in 2013 and 2014 – I had some issues. And then come 2016-2017, I just said, look, I putted well with this putter. If I use this putter, I can’t go back and say it’s the putter’s problem. It’s gotta be me. So I went back to the face-balanced 2-ball blade because I’ve had good times with it. I may have only used 5 or 6 putters in my career.

“I’m really happy that I’ve got a putter that I know I’ve putted well with, and I don’t blame the putter. I can’t say that anymore. I don’t blame my tools, I blame myself if I miss a putt. So it comes down to…I know the putter works, then it’s me. Me, me, me.

“You know, I’ve toyed with using other shafts in the putter, and I will look at other putters, but things are askew to me when I look down. So I can’t have a putter with a line on it. It doesn’t look square to the face. I’ve never putted with a putter that has a line on it for that reason. I line up by feel. I know that putter works, I know it suits me, so that’s why I go with that…

“I prefer a deeper putter (a taller face). The one issue I have is I hit the ball too high on the face, but they won’t remodel the whole system to make me a deeper putter. I’ve tried some optical illusions to try and get it where I hit the ball more in the center, but I hit it high. It seems to be going in the hole so I’m not going to worry about it too much. But in an ideal world, if someone came along and said they could make the putter 3-4 millimeters higher, I’d be happy with that.”

See more photos of Padraig Harrington’s 2023 WITB here

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TaylorMade survey on ball rollback finds everyday golfers massively against introduction of Model Local Rule



In response to the USGA and R&A’s recent announcement that they plan on rolling back the golf ball for the professional game, TaylorMade Golf issued a survey asking everyday golfers to voice their opinion regarding the topic of golf ball bifurcation. Today, they are sharing the results.

Almost 45,000 golfers across more than 100 countries spanning a variety of ages, abilities and participation levels took the time to complete the survey and have their voice heard, with some of the major findings shown below:

  • To the best of your knowledge, do you agree with the proposed golf ball rule?
    • 81% No
    • 19% Yes
  • Do you think average hitting distances in professional golf need to be reduced?
    • 77% No
    • 23% Yes
  • Are you for or against bifurcation in the game of golf (i.e., different rule(s) for professional golfers versus amateurs)?
    • 81% Against
    • 19% For
  • How important is it for you to play with the same equipment professional golfers use?
    • 48% Extremely important
    • 35% Moderately important
    • 17% Not important
  • If the proposed golf ball rule were to go into effect, would it have an impact on your interest in professional golf?
    • 45% Less interested
    • 49% No impact
    • 6% More Interested

The results also show that 57 percent of golfers aged 18-34 years old would be less interested in the pro game should the rule come into effect, while five percent said they would be more interested.

“The goal of our survey was to give golfers the opportunity to voice their opinion on this proposed ruling as we absorb the MLR and its potential effects on the everyday golfer. We are grateful that nearly 45,000 golfers across the world felt the need for their voice to be heard. The overwhelming amount of responses show the passion, knowledge and care for the game our audience possesses. Each response and data point is being reviewed as we will utilize this feedback in our preparation to provide a response to the USGA and R&A.” – David Abeles, TaylorMade Golf President & CEO

You can check out the survey results in full here.

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Spotted: Odyssey Tri-Hot 5K Three “anti-right” prototype putter



Odyssey Tri-Hot 5K putters have really taken off on tour, and we have seen a handful of models in tour player’s bags. The latest version we spotted out on tour is a very unique design.

Odyssey makes this putter head with a standard flow neck that offers plenty of toe hang for golfers who prefer or need that weighting. This prototype has a long slant neck installed more near the center of the putter head that lets the toe sit slightly up in the air when held horizontally. This is pretty different since most putters sit with the toe hanging down towards the ground or are face balanced (face sits parallel to the ground). A full shaft offset looks to be achieved with the slant neck and the look at address is definitely different.

We spoke to Callaway PGA Tour manager Joe Toulon about the putter and he had the following to say

“On course [we had a player who] had a little push bias that didn’t necessarily show up in practice but it is something that he felt on course. So we wanted to build something that was a little easier to release and maybe not necessarily open the toe as much in the back stroke and not have to work as hard to release it in the through stroke. That was kind of designed to give a little offset and when you rested it on your finger it would rest toe up a little bit. We thought for that player it would help him square the putter face at impact rather than leave it open a little bit.

“It was more of a concept we had and will continue to work on it. When we had it on the truck and we were hitting some putts with it we noticed that you had to work really hard to push this putter. We wanted to make an anti-right putter. Just a fun little concept that we have an idea and work with our tour department to test things out.

“It isn’t something that ended up in a player’s bag but we learned some things in that process and will keep in mind for future builds and projects.”

The finish also looks to be a little different than the standard Tri-Hot 5K putter’s black and silver motif. The face and neck are finished in silver and the rear done in more of a blueish-gray tone. The White Hot insert looks to be standard and the sole still contains two interchangeable weights.

The shaft looks to be painted in the same metallic red as their standard Stroke Lab shaft, but we don’t see a steel tip section. Not sure if this putter has a full graphite shaft or painted steel.

Toe sitting slightly up

Check out more photos of the Odyssey Tri-Hot 5K Three Putter.

More “Spotted” pieces

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