Callaway Big Bertha Alpha 816 Fairway Wood Review

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50 Words or Less

The Callaway Big Bertha Alpha 816 fairway wood has more forgiveness than its predecessor while retaining its adjustability and great looks.

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Introduction

Callaway’s Big Bertha Alpha line has been noteworthy for giving golfers the ability to move weight in unprecedented ways, often increasing the amount of movable weights with new iterations.  The Callaway Big Bertha Alpha 816 fairway wood, however, has less movable weight than the previous version.  Is it possible that less is more?

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Looks

The Big Bertha Alpha 815 that was released earlier this year was the fairway wood that everyone better player wanted to play.  It was so tiny that it just screamed, “I’m a high-level ball striker…or at least I want to look like one.”

The Callaway Big Bertha Alpha 816 is a great looking fairway wood with a size that will make it more playable.  It’s still small by modern standards, but it’s definitely larger than its older sister.  Callaway has also switched to a matte black crown for the 816.  Perhaps my favorite thing about the Alpha 816 FW is the height of the face: it’s just right for giving you confidence off the turf and off the deck.

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Sound & Feel

Though Callaway has dialed down the amount of weight that you can move compared to the Alpha 815 FW, the adjustability on the Big Bertha Alpha 816 fairway wood still makes a big difference in the feel of the club.  As I’ve said about the Alpha drivers: if you don’t like the feel of the club, try switching the weights before you give up on it.

At impact, the Alpha 816 FW gives you a muted sound, but it still feels like it has some pop.  The sound has a slight metallic quality, but it’s not the high-pitched “tink” many fairway woods produce – the Alpha has a little more bass, more thump to it.

BB Alpha 816 FW LM Data

Performance

Given the substantial difference that the weight made in the club’s feel, I expected a similar change in performance.  While there is a change, it’s not exactly what I expected.  True to Callaway’s claims, when the heavy weight is back in the Big Bertha Alpha 816 fairway wood, the club launches the ball easily, even at 14 degrees of loft.  The ball flight is far from high spin, but the shots do stay in the air longer and carry farther.  What surprised me was how easy the club is to launch when the weight is forward.  I was expecting to hit knee-high bullets, but that’s not the case.  The ball launched at a similar angle, but the spin was clearly lower resulting in a slightly lower trajectory, shorter carry, and more roll.  Players who spin the ball a lot may get longer carry with the weight forward, but I think most golfers will see maximum distance with the weight back.

Callaway also notes that the club is more forgiving with the weight back.  This makes logical sense, but I will admit that I had a tough time getting proof of this because I was so much more comfortable with the weight back.  In either position, this fairway wood is much more forgiving than I would have guessed.  Despite the small size and “better player” label, the Alpha 816 FW is generous on small mishits.

Finally, the Big Bertha Alpha 816 FW has the same adjustable OptiFit hosel that has become standard on Callaway woods over the last few releases.  The Alpha 816 FW is available in 14°, 16°, and 18°, and with the OptiFit hosel, you can hit lofts from 13° to 20°.  Especially with such a strong ball flight, you will need to get fit to find maximum distance with this club – less loft does not always mean more distance!

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Conclusion

Though the Alpha 815 FW was a beauty, I think that Callaway has produced a substantial upgrade with the Big Bertha Alpha 816 fairway wood.  Though there’s less movable weight, the adjustment still has a major impact on both feel and performance.  Also, the larger head boosts forgiveness and makes going Alpha an option for more players.

Matt Saternus
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One Comment

  1. Troy Bowers

    Ive hit many fairway woods and by far this in the club i NEED in my bag!
    I loke tge eood so much, ive purchased THREE! JUST IN CASE I COULDN’T FIND THE MODEL AGAIN.
    THE FEEL, SOUND AND EFFORTLESS PLAYABILTY OUT THE ROUGH MAKES THIS MY #1 CLUB IN MY BAG.

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