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Review: Callaway Big Bertha Alpha Driver

I Won't Argue With Results
Callaway built its brand on the popularity of the original Big Bertha driver.  Just about every golfer either played one or at least has heard of the Big Bertha driver.  It turned Callaway into “the” brand of metal woods for many years.  When Callaway announced that in 2014 they were going to resurrect that name, they clearly had huge shoes to fill.  The new Big Bertha Alpha is touted as their most advanced driver to date and has the physics to back it up.  They are using Sir Isaac Newton (as they did originally) as part of their tag line, “You can’t argue with physics”.    While we all try to keep ourselves from getting sucked into marketing speak, I won’t argue with my  results when it comes to the Callaway Big Bertha Alpha.
The nuts and bolts of the Big Bertha Alpha are the adjustable CG Gravity Core, heel and toe weights, as well as an adjustable hosel. The plethora of adjustments is mind boggling.  The standard loft of 9.0* can be adjusted at the hosel and the standard swingweight of D3 can also be changed via weights.  It comes with a high end, real deal, stock shaft; the Fubuki Zeta Tour Shaft.  The colors are Blue, Red and White.  The Golf Pride Dual Compound grip rounds out the complete package.  The headcover is quite extravagant too with the multiple colors and faux gravity core.  All-in-all the Callaway Big Bertha Alpha is an impressive driver just sitting there.

Marketing talk and fancy adjustments aren’t going to win any club championships or a spot in the bag if it doesn’t live up to the hype.  I’m as skeptical as anyone.  I took the Big Bertha Alpha to the course for my first spring round in MN and the ground was still fairly soft which I figured gave me a good test of how the distance of this driver was.  The first hole is a pretty straight forward par 4 playing 377.  My first whack left me 70 yards from the pin in the fairway.  Roughly 307 yards with the 1st swing will sell just about anyone on a driver.  I couldn’t believe it.  Maybe it was a fluke, so the next driver hole is a par 5 slightly uphill and into a slight breeze.  Found the center of the fairway at 285 off the tee.  This is long for me, I typically average 265-270 total distance off the tee.   For the rest of the round it was more of the same, averaging 275 off the tee when all was said and done for the round.  I won’t argue with those results.

So the question was, how does it get it done?  How could I pick up yardage off the tee when I have already hit some really good drivers that were fit for my game?  It really came down to spin.  I’ve always fought higher spin numbers because of swing flaws.  I’ve worked hard to fix some of those, but still my swing is my swing, I’m not ready for an overhaul at this point in my life, especially because it typically gets the job done.  My next outing was with the Flighscope X2 launch monitor.  I found the physics that explains my additional few yards: lower spin.  I had lower average spin numbers than I had seen with any other driver.

Based purely on distance, the results don’t lie, the Big Bertha Alpha is LONG.  But before you go out and buy one, make sure you take into consideration the other factors of a driver.  While I certainly hit some of my longest drives with this driver, I unfortunately had a few control issues.  I found a few less fairways than normal.  Typically I’ve been hitting 11 or 12 fairways a round, but I was averaging 10 with the Big Bertha Alpha.  While that isn’t bad for many golfers, I realize I play so much better from the fairway.  That is why I’m trading out the Fubuki Zeta Tour for a little stabler shaft.  I’ve always struggled with the Fubuki line.  They feel amazing and have great spin and launch properties but I never seem to have the control I want.  I believe a shaft change will keep the distance and add control.  Callaway has many custom options if you go for a fitting, which I highly recommend.  The head is awesome and the shaft is really good, if it fits.

I terms of feel and sound, Callaway has it dialed in perfectly with the Big Bertha Alpha. The head feels hot with a solid muted metallic crack at impact.  It isn’t as dead as some previous metal/composite blended heads, nor as tinny as an all titanium heads.  It certainly rivals the best feeling drivers from any other brand.

I’m not going to argue with the results of the Callaway Big Bertha Alpha, it is so long.  I’ll swap out the stock shaft to something a little better fit for my swing and add the control I need to go with the distance.  If you are like me and need to kill some spin, the Big Bertha Alpha can certainly do that while maintaining great sound and feel.  What is even better is that if you find out that with the Gravity Core down you end up with too low of spin, you can flip it to add a few hundred rpms.   Bertha’s Back and I won’t argue with results.

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Quick Hits
+Sooo Long
+Excellent Sound and feel
+Great look
+Many adjustment options
+Every detail is top-shelf

–Not the most forgiving driver

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