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The Callaway Big Bertha Alpha 815 fairway wood is arguably the best looking fairway wood ever and its adjustable center of gravity helps provide some exceptional performance.
Callaway of recent years has made pretty good looking golf clubs that have performed better than a lot of their previous efforts, but they have maintained steady iterative improvements. In my mind, Callaway has stepped up to a whole new level with this new Big Bertha Alpha 815 fairway wood. My immediate impressions were that this was one hell of a beautiful looking golf club and it also has maybe the best/coolest OEM headcover in the game right now. When you get a club like the 815 in your hand, you’re anxious to get it out on the course to see what it can do.
As it should be fairly clear by now, I think the Big Bertha Alpha 815 fairway wood is a great looking golf club and I genuinely believe it could be the most attractive fairway wood of all time. The club has a very small footprint with a black gloss finish that reminds me of a Spinal Tap album cover, and from address the face has a smallish to medium depth. The sole has a red, white and silver theme to go with the black, but the focus is on the two moveable weights. To put the finishing touches on the club, Callaway has a great headcover and adds a red/platinum Golf Pride New Decade Multi-Compound grip.
Sound & Feel
There are good looking clubs, there are strong performing clubs, but it all has to be tied together by a club that feels good in the hands of the player. Typically, this will be the make or break area for me in a golf club. With the Big Bertha Alpha 815 fairway wood, I was pleasantly satisfied with the feel of the club based on its solid feel at impact. It doesn’t feel the least bit metallic and “springy.” You really get the feeling that the ball is making solid contact and exploding off the face.
The sound of the club matches its solid feel. At impact, you get a muted crack when you hit the sweet spot. Off-center shots are still quiet, but you lose quite a bit of the crack sensation.
The Big Bertha Alpha 815 fairway wood has all of the standard loft and lie adjustments that are expected in a modern club. The change in adjustability characteristics comes in the ability to adjust the center of gravity (CoG) which had only previously been available in the Big Bertha Alpha drivers. By moving the heavier weight back, you will get a higher launching shot, more forgiveness, and more carry but less roll. With the weight forward, you will have a lower ball flight and more roll. In addition to the adjustable CoG in the Alpha 815 fairway wood, Callaway has introduced the “Hyper Speed Face Cup” which is designed to maintain ball speed all over the face, especially on shots hit lower on the face.
My personal preference was to have the heavier weight forward in the Alpha 815. As you’ll notice in the chart above, I gained about 8 more yards of carry and distance based on a different launch angle and less spin. More importantly, I felt very natural swinging the club in this configuration. When I had the weight back, I felt like I had to fight the ball down range and work much harder to get good shots in play. Though the numbers are fairly close in the graphic, it doesn’t show how much more work I had to put into the “weight back” setting to get comparable data. The beauty of this fairway wood is that everyone can set it up to suit their own preferences.
Not to continue gushing about the Callaway Big Bertha Alpha 815 fairway wood, but this club genuinely impressed me right from the start. After I completed my testing, I texted Matt and told him that I was pretty floored by how well this club performed for me once I got the CoG set correctly. It sincerely felt like it made hitting a fairway wood easy. Callaway should pat themself on the back for this one, because they definitely deserve it. The Callaway Big Bertha Alpha 815 fairway wood is a winner and my “Best in Class” for 2015.