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Callaway Big Bertha B-21 driver, fairway wood, and hybrids: All about forgiveness

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Callaway’s Big Bertha brand is synonymous with forgiving golf clubs. The Carlsbad-based company is bringing the name back once again to introduce their new line of ultra-forgiving, slice-reducing clubs, including the 2020 Callaway Big Bertha B-21 driver, fairway woods, and hybrids.

“You can’t argue with physics.” That was the tagline used the last time Callaway reintroduced the Big Bertha name to golfers, and the company remains absolutely right—it’s hard to argue against physics.

What’s also hard to argue is that, for the vast majority of recreational golfers, the most common miss is a high spinning shot to the right (for right-handed golfers) AKA  “a slice.” The ball flight is created by a glancing blow to the ball, which increases spin and spin axis, causing shots to veer offline.

If you fall into this category of frustrated golfer tired of yelling at your driver and fairway woods to “get down!” and “land soft!” then the new B-21 line from Callaway could be your ticket to reducing spin, reducing your slice miss, and shooting lower scores—or at least finding the fairway more often.

What is also very interesting with this release is the timing, because right now in recreational golf history, we are seeing an influx of new golfers not seen since the late ’90s. New golfers generally struggle with a slice miss, and as mentioned off the top, the name “Big Bertha” is well known to even casual golfers as forgiving. Regardless of whether you are just getting into golf or have been struggling with that banana ball for a while, the Big Bertha is here to help.

2020 Callaway Big Bertha B-21 Driver

Callaway is throwing everything its engineers know about drivers into making the Big Bertha B-21 a spin-killing, slice-reducing machine by pairing a more low and forward center of gravity (CG) with draw-biased internal weighting—along with many more of its proprietary technologies.

The other part of the B-21’s story is its MOI and ability to match a high-MOI forgiving design with a lower forward CG. When combined, it helps engineers generate spin robustness (a term we will continue to hear more about), which is a golf club’s ability to create more consistent numbers and smaller standard deviation from optimal conditions. It’s a much more specific way to say “we are building a big sweet spot”—and bigger it is.

One of the biggest keys to the B-21’s design is the face—it’s HUGE! It puts more surface area higher in the toe and lower in the heel, which is exactly where golfers who come over the top and create slice conditions mishit shots. Callaway conducted a test with golfers that had an average handicap over 17. In fact, 17 was the minimum handicap to be involved in the testing process and the B-21 dropped the average participant’s spin by close to 600 RPMs from their standard drivers.

This kind of spin reduction helps in aiding straighter shots, because as spin drops, so does the effect of a tilted spin axis. An easy way to understand the concept is that as an airplane turns it “banks” into the turn; you see it lean towards the direction it wants to move. A golf ball does the exact same thing when traveling through the air, and when you pair more axis tilt with more spin, you have shots that curve further offline—that is what the B-21 driver is designed to reduce.

Other key technologies included

  • Callaway’s Patented “Jail Break” technology to stiffen the frame of the driver and help boost ball speeds.
  • All-new, artificial intelligence-created Flash Face SS21 to better optimize the new larger face shape for the intended golfer.
  • T2C Triaxial Carbon Crown to save weight from the crown of the driver’s head and help in lowering the CG.

We’ve done a lot of talking about the head, but there is one last part to building a club that helps reduce spin and hit straighter shots: the shaft! For the Big Bertha B-21 Callaway is bringing back another component of the historic brand—the RCH shaft. This is an in-house designed profile with a higher balance point to help make it easier for golfers to square the clubhead.

We have seen this with a number of OEMs when it comes to building clubs as “total systems” designed to work in conjunction from grip to head. Yes, fitting is still important, and there could be potential gains from various shaft profiles, but the BB-21 is targeted towards the biggest part of the golfing bell curve with the stock RCH shaft (available in 45, 55, and 65-gram offerings).

Specs pricing, and availability

The Callaway Big Bertha B-21 Driver will be available in lofts of 9, 10.5, and 12.5 degrees in both right and left-handed and will be in stores starting September 10th. It will be priced at $499.99

Callaway B-21 Fairway Woods

“Drum roll, please! Now, introducing…for the very first time…Callaway fairway woods…with offset!”

This is truly a big deal, because beyond the center of gravity shifting and lie angle adjusting, adding offset to woods is one of the easiest ways to help golfers reduce a slice, and until now the biggest players in the fairway wood market has completely stayed away from adding it as an option in its lineups. Of all the OEMs, the only one to consistently offer an offset option is Cobra (I know this segment well as my dad has been playing offset woods for more than a decade, and any time a new line comes out the first question I get is “anything with offset?”)

When looking at the intended target golfers for Big Bertha B-21, fairway woods becomes a very important part of the set because they are used often and mostly from the fairway to approach greens. Since hitting fairway woods from the fairway is also one of the most challenging things for a lot of golfers, the designers at Callaway have put every tool they can into these clubs to make them as easy to elevate and confidence-inspiring as they possibly could.

The key design feature to make the B-21 fairway woods easy to hit from tighter lies is how designers have lowered the leading edge to get more face closer to the ground and below the ball. Now, speaking of the face, each head has been optimized with Flash Face SS21 and individually designed for the loft to create maximum ball speeds based on algorithms given to the AI from impact testing of golfers. I know that seems like a lot to take in, but what it really means is Callway knows where you are most likely to mis-hit shots and taken that into account when designing these clubs.

Other technology features include

  • Callaway’s Patented “Jail Break” technology to stiffen the frame of the fairway wood and help boost ball speeds at the center and around the face.
  • T2C Triaxial Carbon Crown to save weight from the crown of each fairway head and help in lowering the CG.

Just like with the B-21 driver, the stock Callaway RCH shaft has been specifically designed to work for the fairway woods and will be available in 45, 55, 65, and 75-gram offerings to allow golfers to progressively matching their shafts through their set.

This makes the Callaway Big Bertha B-21 fairway woods the most forgiving, slice-reducing fairway woods Callaway has ever made.

Specs pricing, and availability

The Callaway Big Bertha B-21 fairway woods will be available in a 3-wood (15 degrees), 5-wood (18-degrees), 7-wood (21-degrees), both right- and left-handed with a 9-wood (24 degrees) available in right-hand only, on starting September 10th.  They will be priced at $299.99 each.

Callaway B-21 Hybrids

This brings us to what could be the most valuable part of the line for regular golfers who struggle with long to mid-iron approach shots—Big Bertha B-21 Hybrids. These are a combination of everything Callaway has learned from previous game-improvement hybrid designs mixed with their most recent Super Hybrid. The B-21’s pack a major punch, all the way down to an available 8-iron hybrid.

They have more offset to fall in line with the new B-21 irons to help build combo sets and maintain a look as the set transitions from irons, and that’s just what you can see. Inside is a combination of technology and materials built to offer the maximum amount of forgiveness available.

The most important technology brought over from the Super Hybrid is the MIM (metal injection molded) tungsten weights strategically placed at the heel and toe of each club and optimized for loft and head weight. This puts upwards of 70 grams or more than 30 percent of the club heads total mass (depending on the loft) around the perimeter to boost MOI and raise launch. Raising launch also means shots that land with a steeper angle of descent, equalling greater stopping power.

Similar to other clubs in the new Big Bertha B-21 line, the hybrids and have:

  • Callaway’s Patented “Jail Break” technology to stiffen the frame of the hybrids sole to crown and help boost ball speeds around the entire face.
  • All-new, Flash Face SS21 created with the help of artificial intelligence to optimize each loft in the hybrid series for ball speed and launch.
  • T2C Triaxial Carbon Crown to save weight from the top of each hybrid to lower the CG and help golfers hit higher-launching, easier-to-stop shots.

The end result is a set of hybrids that can help any golfer in need of more launch and more distance, and the ability to properly gap from their longest iron to their highest-lofted fairway wood without having to sacrifice any forgiveness or ball speed along the way.

Specs, pricing, and availability

The Callaway Big Bertha B-21 hybrids will be available from 3-hybrid all the way to 8-hybrid, in both right and left-handed starting September 10th. The stock shaft with be the Callaway RCH 65-gram hybrid.

They will be priced at $249.99 each.

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Ryan Barath is part of the Digital Content Creation Team for GolfWRX. He hosts the "On Spec" Podcast on the GolfWRX Radio Network which focuses on discussing everything golf, including gear, technology, fitting, and course architecture. He is a club-fitter & master club builder with more than 17 years of experience working with golfers of all skill levels, including PGA Tour players. He is the former Build Shop Manager & Social Media Coordinator for Modern Golf. He now works independently from his home shop and is a member of advisory panels to a select number of golf equipment manufacturers. You can find Ryan on Twitter and Instagram where he's always willing to chat golf, and share his passion for club building, course architecture and wedge grinding.

6 Comments

6 Comments

  1. VooDoo

    Aug 19, 2020 at 2:17 am

    Time to take a trip to the PGA superstore and listen to the sales pitch.

    I bought a XR16 when it was released and has been working great, so good I have tried every Callaway release since and have yet to see more than 3 yards gain,,,,

    • Doug Star

      Aug 21, 2020 at 9:40 am

      Same, I use the 6 year old BB V-Series with an updated Evenflow stiff 65g shaft that I took off my updated Rogue driver. It work better for me, so no further need for the Rogue head and my drives easily match or better all the new drivers being played by my colleagues. Although, I do like the look of the BB B21.

  2. Paul

    Aug 18, 2020 at 2:03 pm

    So it’s the 2017 Big Bertha with jailbreak? That driver didn’t get nearly the attention it should have. I have that head in a 70 gram aldila green shaft, and it matches or beats everything I try against it.

    • Gunny

      Aug 18, 2020 at 2:54 pm

      $499 to get people into the game is s tough sell. This could’ve been a changer for Callaway at $349.

      • Je

        Aug 18, 2020 at 8:46 pm

        We can wait one more year and get it from callaway preowned. Will be cheaper than 350 for sure.Some of my friends who don’t want to practice but still want to enjoy golf are highly interested.

      • Pushslice

        Aug 19, 2020 at 2:38 am

        Cobra F-Max anyone?

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Equipment

GolfWRX Classifieds (10/29/20): PXG BlackJack, Toulon Garage, TP Mills custom

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At GolfWRX, we love golf equipment plain and simple.

We are a community of like-minded individuals that all experience and express our enjoyment for the game in many ways. It’s that sense of community that drives day-to-day interactions in the forums on topics that range from best driver to what marker you use to mark your ball, it even allows us to share another thing – the equipment itself.

One of the best ways to enjoy equipment is to experiment and whether you are looking to buy-sell-or trade (as the name suggests) you can find almost anything in the GolfWRX BST Forum. From one-off custom Scotty Cameron Circle T putters, to iron sets, wedges, and barely hit drivers, you can find it all in our constantly updated marketplace.

These are some of the latest cool finds from the GolfWRX BST, and if you are curious about the rules to participate in the BST Forum you can check them out here: GolfWRX BST Rules

Member CC_Stryder – Toulon Rochester

Looking for a putter that gets its names from a city in New York state with a flow neck? Well…the name might not be exactly what you are looking for, but if a flow neck is what you are after, then look no further.

To see the full listing and additional pictures check out the link here: Toulon Putter

Member StillCantPutt – PXG BlackJack Putter

The newest putter from PXG at less than new price. Don’t let the seller’s name discourage you either, this thing should help you sink more putts.

To see the full listing and additional pictures check out the link here: PXG putter 

Member KC_Badger – TP Mills Custom

There is something about TP Mills putters that just screams classic, timeless, masterpiece. This example is no exception with its flow next and unique finish.

To see the full listing and additional pictures check out the link here: TP Mills Putter 

Remember that you can always browse the GolfWRX Classifieds any time here in our forums: GolfWRX Classifieds

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Equipment

Building a home hitting net and simulator

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Golf and winter don’t get along very well, which is why so many golfers head indoors to practice facilities that offer year-round climate-controlled environments. The problem for many is these facilities can be busy and often require booking well in advance, which doesn’t work well for those seeking last-minute “driving range” flexibility.

So what is a diehard golfer to do? Build your own home hitting bay/simulator of course, and in my case build it on a budget to offer fun and flexibility all winter long.

Finding the right space

The first part of the process is accessing your wants and needs along with understanding any possible limitations your space might create. You have to consider which clubs you plan on using—and if that means hitting drivers, then you are going to need enough height and width to feel comfortable. The space I used is our garage, which is 12 feet wide and has 11-foot high ceilings, more than enough room to hit any club in the bag, and can easily accommodate both right and left-handed golfers.

Golf net and screen options

The Net Return hitting net

After figuring out your space, it comes down to selecting the best option for ease of use and flexibility—flexibility being the key ingredient in my situation. This is our only full garage bay, and if there is one thing I have gotten used to, it’s not having to clean snow off our car in the winter, so the net and mat had to be easily portable and storable.

If you are repurposing a space that won’t require flexibility, then there are a number of fantastic options including The Net Return and others that provide projector screen capability. On the highest-end, before getting into a full room renovation, Costco has a $20,000 “Sim in a box” powered by a Foresight GCQuad—let’s call this the dream scenario.

Since I have no intention of using a projector, nor do I have $20,000 just lying around, I ended up going with standard golf impact netting from Amazon: 10′ x 20′ golf impact netting, which allowed me to build my own net system which I can open or store within minutes.

The last thing to remember is you will be putting a lot of wear on a small part of the net caused by proximity, which is why if you plan to practice a lot it’s important to reinforce the impact area of the net. There is nothing more dangerous or damaging than a rubber projectile (in our case a golf ball) ricocheting around a small space at over 140 mph.

My solution was fine mesh netting from a local fabric store. It’s light enough not to put extra stress on the suspended cable supporting the net but strong enough to take a lot of abuse. The nice thing is at only $5 per yard and 60″, wide it’s very affordable and easily replaceable. An interesting thing to note, is a net doesn’t wear out specifically from just high-speed impact but from the friction of the spinning ball as it hits the net with shorter clubs, so the more layers the better.

The parts list

The list will vary depending on your situation and personal setup, but here are the tools & supplies I used when putting together my own net system.

Tools

  • Power drill and/or impact driver to drill pilot holes for the anchoring i-bolts. Since there will be a lot of tension on the supporting cable you have to be sure to put these anchors into wall studs.
  • Stud finder
  • Various size drill bits
  • Level
  • Tape measure
  • Screwdrivers
  • Pliers or vice grips

Supplies

There are a lot of ways to secure the net and create a welcoming space to use as a practice facility but these are all the supplies I used to install and support the net.

  • Stainless steel aircraft cable (2mm) rated for 900lbs.
  • Aircraft cable clamps
  • I-bolts to secure the cable to walls
  • Turnbuckle to properly tension the cable
  • Small hooks to hold the corners of the net up and around
  • Carabiners – Climbing rated ones are unnecessary, but they need to be sturdy
  • Carpet (for noise dampening and to prevent balls hitting the floor after falling from the net)

The Mat

Beyond the net itself, this is by far the most important piece of any home hitting bay or simulator because it needs to have enough give/compression in the impact area to not cause joint or muscle pain when hitting irons and wedge. This could require you to use extra padding under the mat or purchasing a separate hitting area depending on the base it is on.

Note: At the time of publication, I am currently waiting for the soft hitting area of my mat to arrive 

Getting fancy and simulated

This is the part where we go from home hobby setup to full-blown golf nut practice facility. The options beyond a basic net setup can get pretty crazy and for data and shot information it will require a substantial investment, with the most affordable being a SkyTrak unit followed by the all-new FlightScope Mevo+. After that, we get into more expensive options like the Foresight GC2 with HMT or the newest option the GCQuad followed by the radar-based Trackman.

All of these systems can work alongside various simulator software to provide playable course options, but they all come at an additional cost depending on the company and package.

For my personal use, I already happen to own a FlightScope Xi+ (which I purchased used), which requires a minimum of 16′ from unit to net to capture data, and since I don’t have any plans for playing rounds of golf, it is the perfect solution for getting the information I want in the space I have.

So whether you are looking for a full-blown golf simulator at home or just a space to help you keep those “golf muscles” loose over the cold winter months, use this GolfWRX how-to guide as a starting point for finding the best solution for you.

The How-to Video

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Whats in the Bag

WITB GolfWRX Members Edition: Kblahey

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Recently we put out the call for our members to submit their WITBs in our forum to be featured on the GolfWRX front page. Since then, our members have been responding in numbers!

Now it’s time to take a look at the bag of Kblahey.

*Full details on the submission process can be found here, and you can submit your WITB in this forum thread.*

Member: Kblahey

Handicap: 7

Kblahey WITB

Driver: Ping G (10.5 degrees set at neutral)
Shaft: Ping Tour 65 S

3-wood: TaylorMade M5 (15 degrees set at neutral)
Shaft: Mitsubishi Tensei Orange S

5-wood: TaylorMade M3 (19 degrees set at neutral)
Shaft: Mitsubishi Tensei Blue S

Irons: TaylorMade MC 2014 (3-PW)
Shaft: KBS Tour S

Wedges: Titleist SM7 Jet Black (54-14, 58-10 degrees)
Shaft: True Temper Dynamic Gold Wedge Flex

Putter: Scotty Cameron Studio Stainless Newport 1.5 Prototype

Golf Ball: TaylorMade TP5x

Grips: Golf Pride Tour Velvet +4

Get submitting your WITB in our forum as we’ll be publishing more and more of them on our front page over the coming days and weeks.

Feel free to make it your own too by including some thoughts on your setup, your age, handicap, etc. Anything you feel is relevant!

Share your WITBs here.

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