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Callaway Big Bertha V Series Driver: The AmateurGolf.com Review
12 Sep 2014
by Pete Wlodkowski of AmateurGolf.com

see also: Equipment Reviews

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Callaway had to figure it was on to something when its new lightweight, speed optimized driver wound up almost immediately in the bag of more than a half dozen of their Tour staff, including Chris Kirk, who won a FedEx Cup playoff event with his 9 degree V Series in the bag. In a golf cart, speed is dangerous. Off the tee, speed is everything. (Ok, granted, you’ve got to deliver the clubface to the ball squarely and keep it on the course to really be able to say “faster is better,” but you know that.)

And if that didn’t strike a chord, Chris Kirk winning with the V Series and moving to the top of the FedEx Cup points list definitely did.

Before I get into some of the technical info, let’s take a look at where the V Series fits into the Big Bertha family.

Let’s start with how it looks because this Big Bertha takes some design cues from one of Callaway’s best-selling drivers, The Great Big Bertha. When I setup to hit my first drive with V Series, the crown and classic Chevron in the ball alignment position really reminded me of the “Great Big” but the paint job (and hey, this is important) is a stunning finely speckled black as opposed to the cold metal look of the classic. When I flipped it over, the soleplate was even more of a reminder that imitation is the sincerest form of flattery, especially when you’re imitating a club that your company sold thousands of years ago, leading the charge towards 460 cc heads.

A DRIVER YOU CAN HIT “OFF THE DECK”

One of the odes to the classic Great Big Bertha is the “Modern Warbird Soleplate” -- this is not only an updated version of that classic wedge shape, it also provides something few of the large drivers do these days, the chance to go “off the deck” from a good fairway lie. Now, granted, I’m not saying it’s a good idea to do this very often, but one of the things I remembered about the original Great Big Bertha was that it worked well off the fairway and when I tried it with the V Series I hit a nice rising fade that got out past where my three wood landed from the same spot. Take that par fives!

I should mention that while the physical appearance is retro, one of the most important parts of the V Series is not. That's the forged Hyper Speed Face, which provides excellent forgiveness resulting in more distance on slightly off center hits.

SPEED, SPEED, AND MORE SPEED

Everything about V Series is optimized for ball speed, starting with the weight and aerodynamics. Driver configurations resulting in 290 grams of total weight are available. (That’s light!) Similar to 2013’s Optiforce, the head shape is wind tunnel tuned for low resistance. Think of it as a sports car with really nice lines and a lightweight frame. By now, you get the idea. Callaway has a driver that players with lower swing speeds will love, but that’s relevant for Tour players like Harris English, Patrick Reed, and Chris Kirk. So if you’re ready to try one you can locate your nearest Callaway dealer or performance center and give V Series a go.

If you want to learn a bit more, including the difference between the various models, please read on.

LIGHT HEAD + LIGHTWEIGHT SHAFTS = LOWER OVERALL WEIGHT

We’ve all heard about super light driver shafts, and the tendency of players who once turned a blind eye on anything less than 75 grams in a driver shaft now going down into the 50s, or even 40s. But put one of those shafts on a heavy driver head and you’re likely to experience too much “heavy head feel” and wind up trying to time it too much. But remove some of the weight from the clubhead as Callaway has done with V Series – without reducing it’s ability to achieve the right secret sauce of speed, spin and launch angle – and the light shaft options really start to make sense.The forged composite crown of the V Series is responsible for much of the weight reduction – even better it helps to optimize the center of gravity. And on that subject, three loft models of the V Series are slightly different in that area. Please read on for more.

CONFIGURATION OPTIONS

Big Bertha V Series is available in 9, 10.5 and 13.5 lofts; the latter designated as the “HT” or High Trajectory version. Each one is 45.5” in length with a 460cc head, and opti-fit adjustability for loft and face angle (compatible with other new Big Bertha models). Be aware that the center of gravity and resulting spin/launch conditions change when you go from the 9 to the 10.5 or 13.5 lofts, so if you’re the low handicap amateur looking for what Chris Kirk and his fellow Team Callaway pros find so appealing about V Series, you may want to take a close look at that model. Loft can be adjusted plus/minus 2 degrees so you can take it up to 11.

SHAFT OPTIONS

The 9 degree version has a Speeder 565 Shaft and the 10.5 and 13.5 degree HT come standard with a 42 gram Mitsubishi Bassara shaft.

AVAILABILITY

The V Series Driver retails for $399 and is available now. Fairway woods and a new "Heavenwood" round out the V Series line. We will be reviewing those soon.

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