Great Big Bertha driver review

Andy Roberts's picture
Andy Roberts
Tue, 29 Sep 2015

Great Big Bertha driver review
The Great Big Bertha represents better players with Callaway's most appealing driver to date

Need To Know

Compact head shape, good distance gains, accurate performer, excellent feel and sound at impact,
Launch angle was a little lower than ideal;
Our score:
Overall: 
4
PRICE: £369.00 YEAR: from 2015

Synonymous with driver innovation for the best part of 20 years, the new Callaway Great Big Bertha more than lives up to its name.

The Great Big Bertha driver, which Callaway claims is aimed at players of all standards, has been engineered to maximise distance and forgiveness using all the knowledge the company has accrued through four decades of driver design.

The key feature of the driver, which the brand touts as its “fastest, most forgiving and distance-enhancing product ever”, is a 10g sliding weight that not only adds greater stability but also provides players with unlimited draw and fade bias options.

Looks

The eagle-eyed will notice subtle features from just about every previous Big Bertha driver  in its latest incarnation.

Despite a volume of 460cc - nothing like the original, measly, 250cc Great Big Bertha of 1995 - the head shape of the new Great Big Bertha does appear marginally smaller than last year’s XR driver when it sits behind the ball. This might just appeal to better players more than than those in double digits, but it is a personal choice.

The crown, which is made up of a light Forged Composite like the recent Big Bertha V Series driver, is once again splashed in a nice dark matte finish. The renowned Callaway chevron remains, although the subtle accompanying graphics, which formed a good alignment aid on the XR driver, have been removed.

The compact nature and simplicity of the crown design is more than likely a hat tip to the Big Bertha name, but maybe they could have gone further and used the silver or grey colour of the early days. 

The 10g sliding track on the base appears similar to the one attached to the Big Bertha driver of two years ago, but the track is now aligned more towards the heel of the head with the track stopping half way up to the toe.

Callaway has made this move to counter the fact many Big Bertha customers were not using the toe end of the track to add fade bias.

Most players, according to the brand, need more help reducing their fades and so the Great Big Bertha is set up to be more neutral with a slight draw bias.

Another interesting feature is a visible sole weight that moves the centre of gravity lower and further forward.

Feel

There is a lovely "thwack" sound on hits out of the sweet spot and satisfactory feedback on off-centre hits.

Although the stock Fujikura Speeder shaft felt a little lightweight at times, it was easy enough to control throughout the swing and the length felt much better than the XR at 45.5" rather than 46".

Performance

Looking at our shot data with a GC2 launch monitor, our average carry distance reached 244 yards, with total distance running out to 272 yards – a four-yard improvement against the XR driver.

Of the 20 shots we hit with the Great Big Bertha, the worst drive ran out to 262 yards and the best cracked the 280 mark.

Aside from three banana balls to the right and two duck hooks to the left, 15 of our 20 drives finished no more than 10 yards outside of our target line. 

Other improvements included a 3mph increase in clubhead speed to 102 mph and 2mph increase in ball speed to 149mph.

Slight negatives were a higher spin rate than normal and a lower launch angle at 10.6 degrees, but that is splitting hairs. 

Verdict

Callaway claims its Great Big Bertha driver is for "everyone", and so it is, but the more capable player will reap the rewards. You only have to look in a number of Callaway staff bags on the European Tour to realise that.

But if you do class yourself a better player, the Great Big Bertha presents you with Callaway's most appealing driver to date. 

The more compact shape will likely inspire confidence at address and the adjustability is one of the most simple and effective out there, especially if you want to eradicate any frequent fades.

It is by no means a bargain at £369, but there is no question the Great Big Bertha driver will add distance and accuracy to your game. 

first look
picked
Category: 
Brand: 
0
Performance: 
5
Quality: 
5
Value: 
4