Callaway Big Bertha and Big Bertha Alpha Drivers

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Callaway Big Bertha Driver (2014 Model)

Views of the soles of the Callaway Big Bertha and Big Bertha Alpha drivers
Side-by-side views of the soles of the Callaway Big Bertha (left, 2014 model) and Big Bertha Alpha drivers. © Callaway Golf

Dec. 4, 2013 - The original Big Bertha driver from Callaway Golf was the first mass market, oversized, metal driver when it debuted in 1991. It was a whopping 190cc in clubhead size; the fact that it seemed huge in its day tells you how small driver heads were up to that time.

Callaway continued to launch Big Bertha-branded products over the years, drivers and other clubs (and even balls). But the company's last driver to carry the Big Bertha name was released in 2007.

Until now. Or until February 2014, rather, which is when a new adjustable Callaway Big Bertha driver, joined by the ultra-adjustable Big Bertha Alpha, arrive for consumers.

The Big Bertha Alpha will introduce a new adjustability feature, and cost more. So we'll start with the lower-priced of the two models. (You can read more about each at callawaygolf.com.)

New Callaway Big Bertha Driver

The 2014 model of Big Bertha will be priced at $399 ($100 less than the Big Bertha Alpha featured on the following page) when it hits retail outlets on Feb. 14.

A first for a Callaway driver is included in this one - "Adjustable Perimeter Weighting." Around the rear rim of the driver head is a sliding weight that moves on a track nearly five inches long. The weight is 8 grams, and golfers who are good at reading their ball flight can use it to fine tune shot shape and dispersion patterns. Its position also helps create a higher MOI.

More options are found through the "Advanced Adjustable Hosel." Loft angle and lie angle for the Big Bertha driver can be changed through this hosel - lofts can be adjusted in a range of four degrees (down 1 or up as much as 2); and there are two lie angle settings for neutral or a draw bias.

Weight is saved in the clubface through Callaway's Hyper Speed Face; and in the crown with the company's Forged Composite. This helps move weight to other areas to influence center of gravity, moment of inertia and forgiveness. It also results in an overall clubhead weight below 200 grams, and a swingweight of D2.

Of the two new Big Berthas, this is the one aimed at the broadest range of golfers and more appropriate, in particular, for higher handicaps and recreational players.

The 2014 Big Bertha comes in three stated lofts - 9, 10.5 and 13.5 (each adjustable as described above) degrees - with the Fubuki Z shaft standard. Custom colors and sole engravings are available through Callaway's Udesign.

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Callaway Big Bertha Alpha Driver

Toe views of the 2014 model Callaway Big Bertha and Big Bertha Alpha drivers
Toe views of the 2014 model Callaway Big Bertha driver (left) and Big Bertha Alpha driver (right). © Callaway Golf

The Big Bertha Alpha driver also arrives at retail outlets on Feb. 14, 2014, but costs $100 more than the "regular" Big Berth at $499.

That extra money gets the golfer even more adjustability, including the ability to raise or lower the height of the center of gravity inside the clubhead. What's the point of that? It affects spin rate, which in turn affects trajectory.

Callaway has named this "Gravity Control Adjustability," and it is accomplished with the so-called "Gravity Core." That's a screw, basically. The body of the screw weighs 1.5 grams, but one end only is a tungsten weight of 10.5 grams. You can insert the "gravity core" with the heavy end at the sole, or the heavy end inside the head toward the crown. The core sits inside a carbon tube connecting the sole and crown.

Callaway says there is as much as a 600rpm difference in spin rates between the two "gravity core" positions. The heavy end toward the sole reduces backspin. That position is recommended for golfers with high clubhead speed - or golfers who need to lower backspin for other reasons - who want a flatter trajectory and more roll-out.

The mid-CG position created by inserting the core heavy-end up (toward the crown) is recommended for golfers who want more control and more carry.

And that's without messing with loft. But if you want to adjust the loft, too, in order to affect spin and trajectory, you can - the Big Bertha Alpha comes in stated lofts of 9 and 10.5 degrees, but those lofts can be adjusted down by 1 degree or up by as much as 2 degrees through the adjustable hosel.

The hosel can also be adjusted to affect lie angle, with a neutral setting and a draw-bias setting. Shot shape is also affected by the screw port on the heel and on the toe and interchangeable weights weighing 1, 3, 5 and 7 grams, respectively. Those weights change the swingweight, too, which is D3 with the standard, installed screws but can range from D0 to D5.

If that sounds like a lot of adjustability, it is; if it sounds overwhelming, it certainly could be for many golfers. To make the most of the Big Bertha Alpha, you'd best be a lower-handicapper, but any golfer who enjoys tinkering and knows how to read ball flight on the driving range can give it a whirl. Callaway provides this handy recommendation for how to start configuring the Alpha:

  1. Start with Loft matched to current driver, Neutral Lie and mid/High CG Gravity Core.
  2. Move CG Bias then Lie adjustment if necessary to dial Left/Right shot shape.
  3. Move Loft or Gravity Core, or both, to achieve more optimal launch angle and spin numbers as required.