Callaway Great Big Bertha Driver Review

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50 Words or Less

The Callaway Great Big Bertha driver brings back the adjustable perimeter weight while introducing some new technologies to create one of Callaway’s best drivers to date.

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Introduction

It was awfully exciting when Callaway brought Big Bertha name back to golf and, with apologies to the drivers of the past two years, the new Great Big Bertha might be the best yet.  The Great Big Bertha brings back the adjustable perimeter weight that we first saw on the “original new” Big Bertha driver while introducing Callaway’s Next Gen R•MOTO Technology to create a hot and forgiving face for maximum distance.

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Looks

Something I have come to love from Callaway is their ability to keep it simple, yet make it cool and a bit edgy all at the same time.  When you look at the Great Big Bertha from address, it really is a beautiful, plain, and simple club with its matte black crown, round shape, and deep face.  Note: the deeper face makes the toe sit higher at address so you get a little bit of a pear shape illusion.  Typically I’m not crazy about how deep-face clubs sit at address, but the Great Big Bertha looks good to me.

When you flip the club over, you’ll find the recognizable black, silver, red, and white branding with plenty of visible technology.  Call me ridiculous, but when I look at the bottom of the Great Big Bertha, it reminds of Walt “making the bus look mean” in the movie Slapshot.  I think it just looks cool and means business.

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Sound & Feel

What made the biggest impression with the new Callaway Great Big Bertha driver was its sound.  Matt and I rarely do equipment testing together, but we happened to cross paths on this particular evening.  After my very first strike, we both paused and just went, “Wow…”  We both agreed that it was one of the best sounds we have ever heard from a driver.  It’s a muted thwack that really makes it sound like the ball is absolutely snapping off the face of the golf club.  Shots more toward the toe and heel are still muted but get a little more hollow.

What Matt couldn’t experience on that first shot was how good the Great Big Bertha felt.  Honestly, I was shocked.  The ball felt like it really exploded off the face and the feedback from the head was incredible.  I would have to say the Great Big Bertha has to be one of the best feeling drivers of the year.  You definitely know when you miss sweet spot, but it doesn’t sting or hurt in any way.  My only complaint was the I felt the stock Fujikura Speeder Evolution II TS 665 didn’t feel as great because it’s not a great fit.  Once I paired the driver with a better shaft for me, I created an almost perfect feel.

The sound and feel of the Great Big Bertha are undoubtedly affected by the Next Gen R•MOTO Technology in the driver.  This technology allows Callaway to create a thinner face but have a solid structure behind it which in turn should lead to higher ball speeds off any location on the face of the club.

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Performance

My time with the Callaway Great Big Bertha driver has been very interesting.  Frankly, I think the review is ongoing, and there may be a little magic in this club for me.  First of all, as I’m trying to optimize the feel and performance of the driver, I’m finding myself having to make different adjustments in the hosel and the perimeter weight to get the flight and distances I’m looking for.  What I can say is that the Callaway Optifit adapter adjusts and performs just as it has in all of its previous generations of clubs.  Additionally, the perimeter weight certainly does impact the flight of the ball.  An underrated component, however, is understanding that moving the perimeter weight will change the feel of the club and will require some adjustment by the player to adapt.  That’s been a key point for me in deciding on the right balance between feel and flight.

So far, I can’t tell you that I’ve optimized the Great Big Bertha driver for me, but I would say it’s more a matter of adjusting to the golf club.  Though I’ve been inconsistent in my handful of sessions with it (I have not had multiple sessions with the same shaft), when I do get dialed in and put a good swing on the ball, the Great Big Bertha is long.  I will go through spells where I feel like it’s easy and effortless, and the club not only does the work for me, but it really throws the ball a long way out there and on target.  Furthermore, it seems to be really forgiving on mishits.

All of the adjusting and shaft swapping that I’ve done simply reinforces the point that Callaway makes in their marketing of this club: fitting matters.  To that end, Callaway is offering 19 different shafts with no upcharge.   These aren’t off brand shafts either, we’re talking about stuff like Fujikura Speeders, Aldila Rogues, and shafts from Matrix and Mitsubishi.  This is a great driver, but to #LeaveNoYardsBehind, you need to work with a knowledgeable fitter.

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Conclusion

From my point of view, Callaway has created some of the best woods of the past four years or so.  While I think there are a lot of great drivers that have come out in 2015, and I’m sure more are on the way, Callaway’s Great Big Bertha driver is going to be one of the drivers at the top of the lists.  At its core, the Great Big Bertha has enough adjustability without feeling like you need an engineering degree to understand it.  And as Callaway is emphasizing, being properly fit for this club will be what takes it from a good driver to an absolutely great driver.

Bill Bush
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12 Comments

  1. Great Review, Bill. My experience was the same as yours. I never did find the proper fit either. I am disappointed, as I had great hopes for this driver.

  2. Kenneth Fisher

    How would you compare the GBB with the 815 Alpha in regards to distance, forgiveness, sound, etc.? I currently play with the 815 Alpha, but at my age (early 60s), I’m always looking for some additional distance. Since distance is my key concern, would the Callaway XR (or its successor coming out this winter) be something else I should be looking into? Thanks!

    • I haven’t hit both drivers, but I would say you can expect the common Callaway feel. In regards to all of your other points of interest, I can’t accurately answer these questions. There are too many variables between components and individual swings. All I can say is don’t tie yourself up in Callaway a lot of other brands like Cobra and Ping are making great drivers right now. Hit them all on a radar and see what works best for you and what feels the best.

  3. John Pock

    Bill, were you ever able to find a shaft that was satisfactory? I have been using the Kuro Kage Black TiNI 50 and the Bassara E42 Series trying to find the best. Any thoughts?

  4. Bob Lindsey

    seems like the Kuro Kage was getting a lot of play with this Driver.

  5. Walter R Lawson

    I NEED INSTRUCTIONS ON HOW TO ADJUST MY DRIVER.

  6. bruce vollick

    Bill Im an 83 yr old high handicapper. I bought a Cobra f max driver and it works okay for me. But im losing distance with increasing age. I bought a Great Big Bertha 10.5 head on ebay and am going to put it on the Airspeed shaft that came with my cobra Fmax. it s a pretty light shaft. Do you think it will work???

    • Matt Saternus

      Bruce,

      If the Great Big Bertha head is a better fit, you will get more distance, but on centered strikes both will produce similar ball speed.

      Best,

      Matt

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