Early in 2014, Callaway released the Big Bertha and Big Bertha Alpha drivers, resurrecting one of the most iconic names in golf.
The original Big Bertha, released in 1991, put Callaway on the map. This year’s models, complete with adjustable hosel systems, movable weight and space-age materials, quickly found homes in the bags of PGA Tour players and amateurs alike.
Now, with the late-season release of the Callaway Big Bertha V Series drivers, the company plans to bring more distance off the tee to players who don’t create enough ball speed to benefit from the trend toward lower-spinning drivers. In other words, this is a driver for the masses, not necessarily Tour pros.
“We believe that you need more than one driver to fit all the golfers out there,” said Tim Reed, Callaway’s senior vice president of product strategy and management. “At the end of the day you either need lower spin to maximize distance and/or you need more speed. There is a big contingency of players out there that will benefit from being able to swing the club faster.”
In physics, V stands for velocity, and it does here too. To help golfers hit the ball farther, Callaway designed the Big Bertha V Series drivers to be lighter and more aerodynamic.
The stock shaft in the 10.5- and 13.5-degree versions is a 45 ½-inch, 42-gram Mitsubishi Rayon Bassara. The 9-degree model gets a lightweight Fujikura Speeder 565 shaft.
When you combine lighter shafts and lightweight grips with a head that moves through the air more efficiently, you get a driver that should produce more clubhead speed, and therefore more ball speed, with the same effort.
So how much lighter are the Big Bertha V Series drivers? The recently released Big Bertha driver weighs about 315 grams, and the Big Bertha Alpha weighs about 324 grams. The new Big Bertha V Series driver is 290 grams.
According to Dr. Alan Hocknell, Callaway’s senior vice president of research and development, the trick to maximizing the benefits of a lightweight driver is to efficiently transfer the energy from the faster swing into the shot.
“We don’t want to reduce the mass of the head too much, because that can create in inefficient transfer of energy from the head to the ball,” Hocknell said.
To transfer that speed into distance, Callaway gave the Big Bertha V Series drivers the same Hyper Speed titanium face that is offered in the other Big Bertha drivers. They also have been given an eight-position OptiFit hosel system that allows golfers to increase the stated loft by up to 2 degrees or lower it by up to 1 degree. The lie angle can also be set in either a neutral or draw position.
By using forged composite in the crown—an ultra-light carbon material Callaway developed with automaker Lamborghini—Callaway was able to reduce weight while maintaining a high moment of inertia. Also, because the top of the crown was made lighter, the center of gravity naturally lowers, which should boost the launch angle and the spin rate. Remember, for slower-swinging players, increasing spin often means increasing carry distance.
The Big Bertha V Series drivers will be in pro shops starting Aug. 22 for $399.