50 Words or Less
The most anticipated driver of 2014 delivers. Callaway’s Gravity Core is the most significant advancement in adjustability in years.
Even if you do live under a rock, by this point you know that #BerthasBack. Callaway rolled a tank into the PGA Show! Subtle is not exactly what they’re going for. But then again, when you’re looking to re-launch one of best names in golf, why hide it?
With the Big Bertha Alpha, Callaway has a driver that is not only a monster performer, it also has the most exciting piece of technology of 2014: Gravity Core. This club establishes beyond a doubt that Big Bertha is golf’s alpha female.
With the exception of its silver face, the Big Bertha Alpha is a dead ringer for last year’s RAZR Fit Extreme. If you ask me, that’s a good thing: there’s no reason to mess with a really good look.
The gloss black crown is devoid of alignment aids or graphics, a nod to the better players that this driver is targeted towards. It’s relatively compact from front to back and from heel to toe. To my eye, the silver face makes it look deeper than the RFE at address. When you put them next to each other at eye level, however, the difference appears slight to nonexistent.
Sound & Feel
The sound and feel of the Big Bertha Alpha are most similar to one of my favorite drivers of 2013, Callaway’s FT Optiforce. The Alpha gives a feeling more akin to a forged iron than a hard titanium-faced metal wood: very solid, soft, and satisfying. The sound is slightly louder and more explosive than the Optiforce, but, compared to most drivers, it’s very understated.
Callaway’s new Gravity Core is such a big deal that it merits its own section. What it allows the golfer to do is move the Center of Gravity (sweet spot) up or down. Practically speaking, this means you can change the spin rates independent of loft, something that was never possible before. This is an absolute game changer for club fitting, and it will give high-spin players options that they never had before.
If you’re skeptical that a little piece of metal can yield big differences in ball flight and launch monitor numbers, just check out the graphic below.
As you can see, the Gravity Core makes a BIG difference. For me, flipping the Gravity Core down dropped over 300 RPM of spin, improved my accuracy, and added over 10 yards of total distance. When Bill tested the Alpha, he found that with the Gravity Core altered his spin over 400 RPM and put him 10 yards closer to the centerline.
Let’s also not forget that Big Bertha Alpha has the same type of exchangeable weights in the heel and toe that the RAZR Fit Extreme did. The bonus for 2014 is the Callaway includes additional weights with the driver so you can modify the head weight and horizontal CG to suit your preference without any additional purchases. Additionally, the adjustable hosel allows for changes to the loft and lie independent of each other.
With regard to its general performance, Big Bertha Alpha is a great driver. It has a fantastic stock shaft that both Bill and I found to be very stable with excellent feel. The spin was low, the distance was long, and it was very accurate. In fact, given that this is billed as Callaway’s driver for better players, I was very surprised at how well mishits stayed in play. I probably wouldn’t recommend Big Bertha Alpha to a high handicap player, but I found nothing in my testing that said it wouldn’t be a great driver for anyone from a mid-handicap to a scratch player.
The addition of the Gravity Core elevates Big Bertha Alpha from “great driver” to “revolutionary golf club.” As I’ve already said, it’s the most significant advancement in adjustability in years, and its impact on ball flight is undeniable. Big Bertha Alpha places Callaway in the center of the discussion of most innovative companies in golf.
Price and Specs
Callaway’s Big Bertha Alpha is available in 9° with a 10.5° model coming later this season.
The stock shaft is the Mitsubishi Rayon Fubuki ZT.
Retail price is $499.
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Two questions on this one. How often when fitting do you think the gravity core would actually be in the ‘up’ position? I would think 99% of people would have it down to help reduce spin.
Also I’m assuming you tested the 9° head, did you find yourself wanting to ‘loft up’ with this driver similar to the SLDR?
According to Callaway, 48% (or thereabouts) of their pros are playing Gravity Core up. I think among the “internet golf gear nuts,” lower spin would probably be the want/need. Among the golfing population in general, more spin can be desirable. You also have to think about more than distance. Gravity Core up might be a small sacrifice in distance for a big gain in accuracy.
With regard to your second question, I found the 9* head to be a good option for me. I would certainly be interested in testing the 10.5*, but I don’t think there’s a big need to loft up, at least for me.
I’m receiving a Callaway Big Bertha in a warranty exchange for a Razar X driver that the shaft broke on. My question is what driver do you think would be better for my game Alpha or the Big Bertha? I’m an 18 HC that generally hits with a fade. I’m 5 11 230 lbs. with a 115 mph swing speed. I would prefer the club that will provide me the most forgiveness
Based on my conversations with Callaway, I think the Big Bertha will be a little more forgiving. That said, I’d recommend hitting both before making a decision because the stock shafts are quite different.
Thanks for your review. Need a new driver and have read a lot about the Alpha and it sounds great. Used the Razr fit extreme a few times last year and didn’t like it – is there a big diff. between the two regarding performance? Do you know if there is a big diff. between the Alpha and new 815. Can buy the Alpha for about $200 now so there’s a big difference in price. Out of all the drivers that came out last year is this the one you would use? Thanks.
I think there is a big forgiveness gap between last year’s Alpha and this year’s Alpha 815. We have a full review of both new Alphas coming soon, but I think both the new ones are excellent and better than last year’s. Whether that’s worth the price difference is something only you and the launch monitor can decide.
I hope that helps.
Picked up a regular flex BB alpha on eBay for $80, brand new in wrapper. I currently play a Callaway x tour 460 in stiff flex and I normally shoot in the mid 80s/low 90s. Best score is an 81. I swapped out the 460 driver with the BB alpha driver and shot in the 70s (79) for the first time ever. My drives were at least 20 yards longer and straighter than ever. This Fubuki ZT shaft in regular flex must fit my swing better than the Fujikara tour platform 26.3 in stiff. The club face on the BB alpha is also way hotter and more forgiving. I was “missing” balls and still launching them out onto the fairway far as ever. I never really believed that switching a driver out could affect your game so dramatically, but I am sold now. Highly, highly recommend this club. Note: I didn’t even mess with the weight and the COG yet; just went with the factory settings. I may possibly gain even more distance if I do…