Callaway Big Bertha Alpha driver: review

What do we make of the new driver with a Gravity Core?

Callaway Big Bertha Alpha driver: review

CALLAWAY BIG BERTHA ALPHA holds a very special place in my heart. Not just because it represents one of the biggest equipment launches the game has ever seen with the revamp of the iconic Big Bertha name, but also because of the hat tip to Sir Isaac Newton with its new Gravity Core.

My late grandfather, who sadly passed away a few years ago, handed me my first ever golf club in 1992. It was a cut-down original Big Bertha driver. Yet before he died, I vividly remember him showing me a family tree that he'd spent years researching and penning together in fancy Calligraphy.

He laid it all out on his dining room table - it quite literally took up the whole table - and reliably informed me that Sir Isaac, the man who came up with the theory of gravity when a falling apple inspired the understanding of gravitational force, was in fact my tenth great grandfather. I was pretty surprised. Not just because I was related to fame but the fact there were some brains associated with the Roberts clan.

This tedious link doesn't stop there, I also happen to like a good Flower of Kent.

Yet casting all personal memories of Big Bertha and my great, great, great, great, great, great, great, great, great, great grandfather aside, the Alpha happens to be one of the most impressive drivers I've tested for some time.

The Alpha model contains an innovative Gravity Core that fits in a carbon tube in the head that connects the crown and sole. It has a glass fibre-reinforced body that weighs in at just 1.5g connected to a tungsten end weighing 10.5g. Either end of the core can be inserted into the clubhead, allowing golfers to raise or lower the centre of gravity and thereby alter their spin rate.

Video: Phil Mickelson Big Bertha Alpha bloopers

When the heavy tungsten end is closest to the sole, it lowers the centre of gravity and reduces backspin, and when the tungsten end is closest to the crown, it raises the centre of gravity and increases spin.

I favoured the former and was achieving some seriously impressive numbers. Of the 20 balls I struck using a GC2 monitor down at City Point Golf in Moorgate, I averaged a very pleasing 265 yards average and even sent one out there 300 yards! My spin rate was touching around the 2600 RPM mark which I've always considered about perfect for my game.

Players with above-average head speeds and those trying to prevent excessive spin will benefit from the lower CG as it creates a flatter, more penetrating launch and consequently, more run out when hitting the deck. Those craving a little more workability and a little less run will want to flip the core over and take advantage of the higher CG.

According to a recent chat with Callaway's Luke Williams at the PGA Show in Orlando, player testing has proven as much as a 600 RPM spin differential between the different CG settings without changing loft.

Along with the Gravity Core, Alpha offers the ability to change the horizontal centre of gravity through heel and toe weights of 1, 3, 5 and 7g to promote a certain shot shape. The 1g and 7g screws are installed as standard and deliver a D3 swingweight, but the swingweight can be adjusted from D0 to D5.

In terms of looks, I'm a big fan of how the Alpha has a slightly smaller footprint and more traditional shape at address that better players find appealing. Dare I say it, a little like the older Big Bertha shape. It's also more than likely a reason why many Callaway Tour staffers have favoured the new Alpha stick. With the Gravity Core in the middle of the sole, acting as the famous red apple that landed on the head of my tenth great grandfather, it gives off a very modern, futuristic look.

Those of you who regularly read my reviews will understand that no matter what technology you put into a driver, I'm going to pick up upon alignment. It's something small but for my own game at least, it's something I look for. I'm a little disappointed not to see anything on the Alpha, when the standard Big Bertha has the traditional chevron.

In terms of feel, it's incredibly light but not so light that it gets uncontrollable. I enjoyed the standard Mitsubishi Rayon Fubuki ZT 50 shaft and really felt like I had great control as I went after the ball on my downswing. The clubhead only weighs 205g, so it's not exactly the heaviest out there. The face feels really solid at impact but it's a bit loud! Then again, who cares when it flies straight and long down the fairway. It also aids good feedback on those off-centre hits.


Big Bertha Alpha represents Callaway's most advanced adjustable driver ever. Gravity Core is such a clever idea - one Sir Isaac would have been proud of - as it helps those players who want to lessen spin and those who want to increase spin off the tee, all independent of launch angle.

It's a very forgiving driver at the same time, as well as being up there as one of the longer drivers I've tested in recent months.

Expensive at £399 and that may put a few interested punters off. A little loud at impact and I could do with a better alignment aid but those are just personal preferences though.

Alpha is a total performance driver and it ticks just about every box when it comes to driving the golf ball long and straight. If you're after a game-changing Tour-proven driver, this is one of the better ones on the market right now.

Review: Callaway Big Bertha

Click here for Callaway Big Bertha Alpha owner reviews. Click this link for our 2014 PGA Show interview with Callaway R&D

Sponsored Posts