2023 Callaway Big Bertha Irons Review

2023 callaway big bertha irons

50 Words or Less

The 2023 Callaway Big Bertha irons are at the forefront when it comes to ball speed, forgiveness, and ease of use.  Clubs that easily live up to the legendary name.

Introduction

In golf, the name Big Bertha is synonymous with forgiveness.  Since their introduction almost three decades ago, Big Bertha irons have helped golfers hit the ball higher, straighter, and longer, even when their swings are less than perfect.  The 2023 version continues that trend, pushing the performance to truly elite levels.

2023 callaway big bertha irons 7I address

Looks

The most notable visual feature of the 2023 Callaway Big Bertha irons is the finish.  Callaway calls it “Smoked Black” which is a perfect name.  This isn’t your typical black finish – it’s a bit lighter with more depth to it.  I prefer the matte sections, such as the middle of the face and the back of the head, but it looks good in the high polished sections, too.

2023 callaway big bertha irons address x3

At address, these irons are classic Callaway game improvement.  They have a rounded shape without any sharp edges.  From the offset to the leading edge to the toe, every elements rolls smoothly into the next.  There is a healthy amount of offset, and the top lines are unapologetically thick.  In the long irons, you can see a bit of the sole protruding beyond the top line.

In the bag, I think these Big Berthas look absolutely stellar.  That starts with the finish, but that’s not the only excellent choice that Callaway made.  Everything about the look is more subtle than you would expect in a large, forgiving iron.  The Callaway logo is almost camouflaged in black on the dark finish.  My favorite subtle touch is the carbon fiber texture of the lower portion of the cavity.

2023 callaway big bertha irons face

Sound & Feel

At impact, the 2023 Callaway Big Bertha irons produce a concise sound with average volume.  They are slightly higher in pitch but muted, so it’s not an annoying, ringing tone but more of a snap.

The feel of impact is more thump than snap or explosion.  I found this more satisfying as it’s closer to a traditional forged feel but with some extra power behind it.

For being large, forgiving irons, the Big Berthas provide a lot of feedback.  When you miss the center of the face, the sound switches from crisp to dull – a less lively “thud.”  The sound is what most clearly differentiates a pure strike from a miss.  I found the character of the feel to be similar across the face, but I was still able to locate impact without much trouble.

Performance

The 2023 Callaway Big Bertha irons are elite when it comes to ball speed and forgiveness.  In fact, with these irons, I set a new personal ball speed record – 143 MPH with the 4I.  While some of the credit for that number goes to an improving swing, it definitely couldn’t happen without a very speedy club.  These Big Bertha irons use Callaway’s A.I. designed Face Cup to maximize ball speed.  For me, they were an easy ten yards longer than my gamers.

On both the launch monitor and the range, the forgiveness is the other standout feature.  The aforementioned Face Cup and the Precision Tungsten Weighting make it so that you get great ball speed almost anywhere on the face.  I had poor heel strikes landing within eight yards of my best strikes.  Each iron has as much as 54 grams of tungsten positioned strategically to make them extremely stable, so even those toe and heel strikes won’t fly wildly off line.

In addition to being fast and forgiving, the 2023 Callaway Big Bertha irons want to launch the ball high all the time.  You don’t need a great strike to send the ball soaring toward the target.  This is one of the traits I remember most from the Big Bertha B21 irons [review HERE], and I was pleased to see it carried forward.  High launch is paired with mid spin to give these irons a ball flight that stays under control even in moderate wind.

Finally, as always, it’s important to get fit to get the most out of these irons.  The stock shaft is a bit lighter than average, but players who want to maximize speed can opt for graphite or an even lighter steel shaft like the Nippon Zelos [review HERE].  Alternately, going to a slightly heavier, stiffer shaft might help to accentuate the stability of these heads, creating a set that almost never hits a stray shot.

2023 callaway big bertha irons in the bag

Conclusion

If distance and ease of use are high on your priority list, you can’t do much better than the 2023 Callaway Big Bertha irons.  With their high, easy launch and ample ball speed, these clubs will make every swing look like an A+ effort.

Visit Callaway Golf HERE

2023 Callaway Big Bertha Irons Price & Specs

Matt Saternus
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30 Comments

  1. John Sweat

    Great review!! I just had a set of these come in yesterday and I am really looking forward to putting them in play this weekend.

  2. I am guessing these are a replacement for the Rogue St Max OS irons.

    How do these compare to those? Any major differences other than improved aesthetics?

    I am current gaming the Rogue ST max OS and love them other than the looks.

  3. They look great. Will you be reviewing the driver and woods from this line as well? I was a fan of the 21 release.

    • Matt Saternus

      Steve,

      We have a review of the driver in the pipeline. We will review the fairway wood if there’s a strong interest.

      Best,

      Matt

    • Nice review. I play 2019 Big Brothers & love them. These look like something that I would consider. One question though, you mentioned you hit your personal best ball speed w/ a 4i, but that 4i only has 18° of loft. That’s stronger than my 5 wood! Do you think the loft has something to do with your higher ball speed? And how many folks using super game-improvement irons such as these would actually be able to hit on 18° iron?

      I guess Callaway has joined the ‘club number silliness’ game. What I mean is, calling a 21 degree loft club a ‘five iron’ so now I have to have 2 gap wedges.

      • Matt Saternus

        Mike,

        Yes, the loft of this 4I certainly contributes to the ball speed. As to how many people can hit an 18* 4I and get a sensible gap between that and their 5I, I don’t know, but that question is part of why we are constantly pushing custom fitting.

        -Matt

  4. Thanks Matt. If comparing to the Rogue ST Max OS irons would there be any reason to ‘upgrade’ to the BB ‘23s?

    • Matt Saternus

      Johnny,

      If you test them head to head, preferably with a fitter, and the Big Bertha performs better, that would be a great reason to change. If you’re happy with your Rogues, there’s probably not a need to change.

      -Matt

  5. Alan Lynch

    Do you ever not love the clubs you test?????

    I am a 18 handicapper and have yet to see something for me!

    • There aren’t tons of clubs out there that Matt hasn’t reviewed. Pure a regular reader here, I can’t imagine that not one single club hasn’t feel to you. Have you hit them all? If you’re an 18 handicapper, I’m only a few strokes better, but I would definitely look at these big bertha’s. I have to 2019 ones and I love them.

      • W the 7 iron at 27 degrees (which would typically be 6 iron), they are a full club strong lofted. What did you observe comparatively in terms of trajectory? I tried the Rogue st max os recently and found them impressive & comparable to G425’s.

  6. I purchased these clubs last month 5-Gap and they were ten yards longer than my T-200’s. I play to a 10 handicap and switched from a 75 gram regular shat to 75 gram stiff shaft which made a big difference in stabilizing the head. With little effort when catching it on the sweet spot I’m carrying the 8 iron 160 yards. They really provide a high launch and the ball lands softly. They are a little thick but the results outweigh the aesthetics

  7. Would I see a significant difference between the BB irons and my Mavick irons?

    • Matt Saternus

      Rob,

      The Big Bertha irons are going to be more forgiving. Whether the difference is significant depends on A) your swing and B) what you feel is significant.

      Best,

      Matt

  8. I currently have the 2015 BB 4-AW with Graphite shaft.
    Obviously 8 years old!
    Keen to retain the feel of the old club but wondered should I expect to see improvements in distance or forgiveness with this upgrade

  9. Charlie Navarrete

    Hi Matt,

    I normally use setups of 2 types of irons in my set. 4-6 Super game improvements (such as Tour Edge Hot Launch E521 – hybrid irons) and 8-G Game Improvements (such as Tour Edge Exotics E721). I don’t really need a 7 because from the 6 (29*) to 8 (32*) iron there are only 3 grades because of the strong loft of the exotics.

    My situation here is that long irons have always been a problem for me, that’s why my mix, currently with hybrid irons I feel comfortable with my swing but sometimes the dispersion of the shot is not what I expect.

    Do you think that with these big berthas they can be compared to some Hybrid-irons in confidence in front of the ball and help me with dispersion?

    • Matt Saternus

      Charlie,

      Confidence is personal, so I can’t speak to how the Big Bertha irons will make a given golfer feel, but I do think their forgiveness is on par with anything I’ve tested, hybrid-iron or otherwise.

      Best,

      Matt

  10. I’ve had my eyes on the Taylormade Stealth HD for some time. Mostly because I’m really interested in changing to hybrid irons. I struggle with my higher irons. Then I came across these Callaway BB23 irons. How would you compare these against the TM HD when it comes to forgiveness and ease of use?

    • Matt Saternus

      Jon,

      Both are excellent. My advice is always to get fit to find the one that better suits your eye and your swing.

      Best,

      Matt

  11. Charles Cronk

    Looking forward to playing these irons.

  12. My 4 Iron, with a Gen 4 Silver shaft snapped off. Looking to buy the Zelos 7 but don’t know if I need to buy a .355 Tip or .370 Tip? Able to assist?

    • Matt Saternus

      Keith,

      I’m not sure if these irons are .355 or .370. When you (or a club maker) pulls the current shaft, they can find out for sure.

      Best,

      Matt

  13. Great review. I understand that forgiveness has to do with retaining ball speeds across impact locations on the club face. Clubs can also be designed for higher trajectory, and offset can help with squaring up the club face for some golfers (I think that’s the purpose of offset). However, is there any club, club category (game improvement vs super game improvement) or design feature that producers straighter shots with less curve when comparing identical swings (same path, face orientation and strike location)? I’ve just always wondered whether that was part of forgiveness or if there is no design element that can “straighten” a shot when all other variables are the same. Thanks, and I will check out these clubs. As a 20 hcp I am looking for all the help I can get.

    • Matt Saternus

      George,

      A club’s resistance to twisting (MOI) can promote higher ball speed and straighter shots, because the face isn’t being twisted open or shut by an off center strike.

      Best,

      Matt

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