Callaway Big Bertha Alpha 815 Drivers: The AmateurGolf.com Review
22 Nov 2014
by Pete Wlodkowski of AmateurGolf.com

see also: Equipment Reviews

Callaway’s driver lineup continues to impress. For the 2015 season they’ve got three Big Bertha models, the V Series, 815 Alpha, and 815 Alpha DBD (Double Black Diamond.) I’m going to take a look at the 815 models here, but before I do here is a quick overview of the Big Bertha V Series with a link to our full review.


A slightly retro head shape in a gorgeous sparkling flecked-black finish defines the V Series on the outside. The modern Warbird soleplate might even tempt you to try it off the deck. When it came out in mid-2014 a number of Tour players immediately put it in their bags even though it’s perfectly suited for “the rest of us” looking for higher swing and ball speeds. Big Bertha V Series has the same hosel adaptor of the new Big Bertha Alpha 815 models, but it doesn’t have adjustable waits on the sole or a Gravity Core to fine tune spin. But if you’re looking for speed and simplicity, V Series might be a good fit. And there is still plenty of adjustability in the hosel connector to adjust your loft and lie and of course swap out shafts. (Read Review)


Both models share a number of the same design features, albeit with totally different head shapes and dynamics. Callaway says that both models offer the elusive combination of low spin and forgiveness, and my launch monitor numbers bore that out. I know that some golfers are going to look at the second model, the “Double Black Diamond” (think of the difficulty rating of ski trails) and think “hey, I’m good, this must be the model for me,” but be wary of first impressions.

I got my best overall drive using the 815 Alpha DBD, but at spin rates in the 2000 rpm range which required me to work a little harder than I would like in order to the get the right trajectory and consistency. (I swing approx. 100mph as a point of reference and tend to launch the ball relatively low.) With the 815 Alpha, I found more consistency. At the risk of sounding like a broken record I want to remind you how important it is to get fitted, even though Callaway right now is offering a program that allows you to trade out any of the 2015 models for one of your liking in the event you’re not happy the first time (and our retail partner Worldwide Golf Shops offers a similar program).


Weight Ports: Both models have heal and toe weight sockets that allow for draw, neutral, or fade bias while also providing an easy way to accommodate shaft changes, where you want to keep a constant swing weight. Even in the neutral position, I find heal and toe weighting adds to Big Bertha Alpha 815’s stability.

Gravity Core:
Another shared feature, Gravity Core is a feature carried over from the previous model of the Big Bertha Alpha. Smack dab in the middle of the sole is a removable “core” that is about an inch long with weight on one end. (The chamber is lined with graphite for stability.) Change the core’s orientation, and you can raise or lower the spin you’re getting with any given loft. It sounds much more complicated than it is – simply unscrew, change, and try and you’ll know which position works for you. Just don’t do it during an official round of golf.

R-Moto Technology:
This is a new feature for the 815 models – a set of rails on the bottom and crown of the club where the face is integrated with the body to provide stability for an ultra-thin face design. It’s part of the secret to getting forgiveness and low spin and I’m convinced that whatever they’ve done the feel of the ball coming off the club is among the best Callaway has produced. My first impression on hitting the 815 was that “the ball was staying on the face a long time” and while I liked the feeling I worried that the spin numbers might be too high, but that wasn’t the case. Impressive.


Head Shape:
Both models are jet black -- the most noticeable difference between 815 Alpha and 815 Alpha DBD is the shape of the head. The Alpha is longer from face to back and has a fairly typical face shape and height. The Alpha DBD is much taller and slightly pod-like in appearance; you can really feel the height of the face at address. Flip them over, and they look like “weapons of golf ball destruction” and I mean that in a good way. I love the technology and since the bottom of the club is the first thing you see when you take off the red, boxing glove style head cover (it’s cool) you want something that inspires confidence and both models do that.

Stock Shafts:
The 815 Alpha comes with either a Fujikura Speeder Motore 565 or 665 or Mitsubishi Diamana S+ 60 shaft while the 815 Alpha DBD comes with either a Aldila Rogue 60 (The one I tested) or a Matrix 75M4 Black tie shaft. A number of other models including the Project X LDZ are available with no upcharge. Standard length is 45.5 inches.

The Numbers:
The degree of difference will be different for every player, but I think it’s safe to say that the DDB will provide the lowest spin numbers of the two models. Every driver has an optimal spot on the face (usually a little high and slightly towards the toe) that provides that dream shot that launches high, with relatively low spin and just a hint of draw. If you can find that with DDB then don’t be scared of the moniker “Double Black Diamond” regardless of your handicap. If not, try the Alpha 815 and don’t forget the Big Bertha V Series as an option.


Say what you wish about driving for show or putting for dough. Getting (or keeping) extra yards and hitting more fairways is really important and puts you in position to attack the course, rather than have to play defensively from the rough all day. Callaway has a full arsenal to take a hard look at and they’re providing you a fitting guarantee so you can buy with confidence.

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