Callaway Big Bertha Alpha 815 Driver Review

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50 Words or Less

The Callaway Big Bertha Alpha 815 driver adds above-average forgiveness to a massive array of adjustability.  One of the best drivers currently available.

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Introduction

Last year, Callaway broke new ground with the introduction of the Gravity Core.  With the new Callaway Big Bertha Alpha 815 driver they build on that innovation, add more adjustability, and throw in the forgiveness that recreational golfers need.

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Looks

The Callaway Big Bertha Alpha 815 driver is a great looking driver with enough visual interest that it stands out from the crowd.  At address, the look is reminiscent of other recent Callaway drivers like the RAZR Fit Extreme.  It’s a round, balanced look, slightly longer front-to-back, with a simple white chevron for alignment help.

A closer look at the crown reveals the first unique visual piece: it’s a dark navy blue, not black, and it has a hint of sparkle to it.  When you flip it over, you see a sole that screams “high tech” and really stands out in the bag.  If that’s not enough for you, Callaway is once again offering udesign which allows you to customize the colors on the sole among other things.

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Sound & Feel

Callaway deserves major kudos for delivering a very traditional sound from the Big Bertha Alpha 815 despite all of the moving part and adjustability.  The sound is a metallic crack with a medium pitch and volume.  The feedback is solid, particularly given that this is a pretty forgiving driver.

What’s most notable about the feel of this club is how much the Gravity Core changes it.  When you swing the club, then flip the Gravity Core and swing again, you’d swear you have an entirely different club.  I’ve watched a number of people test the Big Bertha Alpha 815, and they all showed a distinct preference for one setting over the other.  This is a piece of adjustability you simply can’t ignore.

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Performance

Last year’s Big Bertha Alpha was a great club with revolutionary technology, but some people found it to be a little difficult to hit.  This is the biggest change that Callaway has made with the Big Bertha Alpha 815 driver.  This is a driver that no golfer should be afraid to play.  The ball speed and distance are excellent, even on mishits, and off-center shots hold their line well.

The biggest part of the performance story with the Big Bertha Alpha 815 is still the Gravity Core.  As you can see above, flipping the core makes a big difference in the numbers.  It also makes a big difference in how you swing.  I found that I was much more comfortable with the Gravity Core in the “Up” position (higher CoG).  I hit the center of the face more consistently and drove the ball more accurately.  Flipping the core also changed my angle of attack 1.5 degrees!  The Gravity Core is simply the most meaningful piece of adjustability in golf right now.

The adjustability of this driver doesn’t end with Gravity Core.  There are interchangeable weights on the heel and toe that will move the center of gravity slightly right or left to promote a draw or a fade.  The Alpha 815 also features Callaway’s OptiFit hosel which has eight settings to change the loft, face angle, and lie angle.

Finally, Callaway is offering a great selection of shafts at no upcharge.  There are three Fujikura Speeders, two Mitsubishi Bassaras, Matrix Red, White, and Black Tie, two Fubuki shafts, Mitsubishi’s Diamana S+, Project X LZ, and Aldila’s Rogue and Tour Green.  You would be hard-pressed to not find a great fit on that list, and you would be a fool to not take advantage of it.

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Conclusion

I’m not sure there’s anything you can want from a driver that the Callaway Big Bertha Alpha 815 driver doesn’t deliver.  Forgiveness?  Check.  Low spin and distance?  Big check.  Adjustability?  Like nothing else on the market.  If you need a new driver for 2015, this club is a must try.

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Matt Saternus
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20 Comments

  1. Great review! What shaft and loft did you test with?

  2. Great review. Great looking driver. Absolutely on my wish list for 2015. Was looking at Titleist 915, but this one could be even better.

  3. Great review, Matt. This driver has it all. Are you close to reviewing the Callaway XR driver?

  4. do u suggest a mid or high launch shaft if you are trying to get distance without with out ballooning or losing carry distance- such as the matrix white or red tie

    • Matt Saternus

      Mike,

      I recommend being fit for the best shaft for your swing. Too soft or too stiff means lost distance and poor accuracy.

      -Matt

  5. Informative review. Thank you. I tested my buddy’s Alpha 815 DBD this morning. Love the way it sounds and feels at impact – a powerful, muted sound that reminds me of the Titleist 975L-FE or 983K from 12-15 years ago but much more forgiving. I don’t like the loud, bright sounding drivers, e.g., Ping G30. Does the regular Alpha 815 have a similar sound/feel as the DBD?

    • Matt Saternus

      Nick,

      The Alpha 815 is a bit louder and more like other modern drivers. The DBD is the more muted of the two.

      Best,

      Matt

  6. Matt, in comparison with your review of the Big Bertha Alpha (you know, the first one) it seems like you got a little better numbers with the BBA, at least as far as launch and carry are concerned. I have the BBA, and since Callaway has now dropped the price of the 815, I’ve been trying to compare and see if there is much difference between the two. It seems the big difference is more forgiveness with the 815?

    • Matt Saternus

      Tom,

      Yes, I think forgiveness is one of the biggest differences between the original Alpha and the 815. Also, I wouldn’t put a ton of stock in comparing numbers that were created a year apart. As you surely know, we’re not the same golfer from day to day, let alone year to year.

      -Matt

      • Heh, definitely true. So the question is, do you think it’s worth switching to the 815, or is there not enough of a discernible difference? Also, I read the DBD review – would you say that it’s more for more consistent ball strikers?

  7. Does the gravity core plug “click” when ypu’ re tightening it?

    • Matt Saternus

      Paul,

      You don’t tighten the gravity core, just the cap that holds it in place. The wrench will click when it’s tight.

      Best,

      Matt

  8. Mike Oakley

    I recently got a Big Bertha Alpha 815 and like it so far. Got on a machine today and I needed to drop the 10.5 standard loft to 9.5 and the lie on neutral. My swing speed is now around 95 and my shaft is the Speeder 665 R. I was hitting them 250 with a 1.5 Smash Factor, which the guy said was great. Can’t wait to really get used to this club.

  9. Scott Darrow

    What size head is the Alpha 815?

  10. Matt how do you flip the gravity core?

    • Matt Saternus

      Tony,

      Remove the cover, slide the core out and re-install it with the other end down.

      Best,

      Matt

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