Review: Callaway Big Bertha & Big Bertha Alpha by Levi Slings
I was recently invited to test Callaway’s latest driver offerings, the Big Bertha and the Big Bertha Alpha. Disclaimer: I currently carry a +2 handicap, I play competitively, and I have played Callaway woods for a few years. However, I am in no way associated with Callaway and I pay full price for said clubs. Now, with that out of the way, I thought I would give a very quick overview of the process and my initial impressions. What I will not give are my specific numbers, because my opinion is that everyone’s swings are so vastly different that the carry distances, spin rates, launch angles, etc that I get from a club don’t mean anything to anyone else.
It’s very cold and snowy in the upper Midwest, where I reside. However, I’ve been fortunate enough to have played 5 rounds of golf since mid January. Airplanes are great. With that said, my swing obviously isn’t in tournament form, but it’s not as bad as it could be this time of year. I arrived at a local retailer for the test. The trackman was set up for me with both the Big Bertha and Big Bertha Alpha. I fully intended to bring my current driver, a Callaway RAZR Fit, but a freak snow storm that morning had my mind on other things, like oceans and beaches and umbrella drinks. So, I arrived at the store driverless. I know my numbers pretty well so comparing would be pretty easy. I warmed up for about 15 minutes, going thru some club progressions and getting stretched out. The last thing I want to do during a driver testing is injure myself. Then, I was ready to go.
I started with the standard Big Bertha, set up at 10.5 loft with the stock stiff shaft. In all honesty, I was not impressed with the club. The carry distance was comparable to my existing driver, and the spin rates were higher. Launch angles were comparable. My main complaint with the driver was the hollow feel and the head at setup felt large. What did impress me with this club were the distances and feels achieved on mis-hits. This driver is definitely designed for the mid to high handicap, and with this said I don’t necessarily think my opinion should matter. But, it was very good to hit this and compare it to the Alpha.
The Alpha: My initial impression at setup was that this driver, with its smaller head and deeper face, reminded me of my favorite fairway wood of all time, the Callaway Big Bertha Steelhead III. The color and shape of the club at address were frighteningly similar. I hit quite a few balls with the Alpha. Each shot impressing me more and more. The initial feel and sound of the club is completely different than that of the Big Bertha. A solid feel and sound accompanied each shot. Even before looking at the trackman numbers, this driver had the feel and sound I am looking for. Then came the numbers. They were astonishing, not just to me, but to the equipment rep facilitating the testing. The carry distances were, on average, 9% longer than the Big Bertha, and the spin rates were over 1000rpm less. The spin rate was the most remarkable number. The Alpha has an adjustable core weight, which is designed to move the weight for better players, resulting in less spin. I’m far from an engineer, and I have no idea how the club designers come up with these things. But, incredibly, this driver performs exactly as advertised.
So in review, my opinion of the Big Bertha – it’s not for me, but it could easily be for you. When driver shopping this year, you would be doing yourself a huge disservice to not include the Big Bertha in your list of options. My opinion of the Alpha, I want one. I want one now. It’s going to be a game changer.
Categories: Levi's Swings