Callaway Great Big Bertha 2015: The AmateurGolf.com Review
26 Aug 2015
by Pete Wlodkowski of AmateurGolf.com

see also: Equipment Reviews

Remember the original Callaway Great Big Bertha? It was the driver that made titanium a household name (at least among golfers) when it hit the market in the 1990s, looking huge behind the golf ball at a whopping 253cc. Fast forward to 2014, which saw the release (and huge success) of the Big Bertha 815 series. But missing from the party was Great Big Bertha. And, like a new Ford Mustang GT, you’ve got a modern version of a classic, reborn with new lines, and all of the best technical features that have gone into recent Callaway drivers.

At the end of this review I will provide links to Callaway website pages and a “Leave no Yard Behind” white paper where you can learn more. Because Callaway is really good at explaining how everything works. But for now, let’s focus on how the Great Big Bertha performs out on the course.


I’m a 3-handicap player that loves driving the ball and swings at about 102mph with an average distance of 260-270 yards. Sometimes I even get one out there over 300, but the thing I’m most concerned with on the golf course is hitting fairways and avoiding the occasional “big miss” that can lead to a big number. Based on our audience I’m guessing that’s similar to many of you. But even if you’re swing speed is different, there are enough loft and shaft options to fit everyone, except the 120mph folks who might want to take a look at the low-spin Callaway Big Bertha 816.


Upon opening the box and removing the plastic, I found the red “boxing glove” head cover which was introduced with the Big Bertha. I love the easy on-and-off of this style head cover, and hope it will encourage more golfers to use it to protect their drivers. (I hate seeing drivers clanging around in carts getting all marked up.) The matte- black crown, accented by chrome sides (not visible at address) and a high tech looking sole give the Great Big Bertha my check mark in the looks category. And by the way, the crown is actually carbon fiber, which is one of the key elements of the Great Big Bertha's design that leads to a lower center of gravity. The head shape and face depth combination that caught my eye at address. It’s similar to the Big Bertha V-Series, but with a flatter sole and slightly shallower face. And at 45 1/2" standard length, it's right where I like a driver to be.


I like to start with several groups of balls, on a relatively tight hole (as opposed to the range) for my first test with a new driver. Doing that, I can "A/B" test with my gamer without worrying about a launch monitor or indoor golf simulator. It's just me and the fairway, either early in the morning or late in the day when nobody's around. What amazed me the most about my first shots with the Great Big Bertha was the dispersion. These shots left the club with a tight draw, nothing wild at all. Sound, feel, and distance were all really good, but the ball flight was a bit high. So I notched down the 10.5 loft test model by 1 degree, and moved the sliding weight on the back out towards the toe to promote a straighter shot. Things got even better. Finally I switched out the Mitsubishi Kuro Kage shaft for a Project X LZ I have in my other Callaway driver and got a nice boring trajectory and noticeable improvement in lag and distance. Thinking back to what a golfer would have had to go through just ten years ago to make similar modifications made me smile. Now we don't have to adjust to our equipment, we can adjust it to fit us.

Now ready to take it out for a round, I put the GBB in the bag for a round two days later. On the golf course, I had no trouble adjusting to it from my "gamer" and hit 11 of 14 fairways, which is good for me. My playing partner commented on my apparent confidence off the tee, and wanted to try the Great Big - always a good sign!


I tested one of the four stock shafts in the Great Big Bertha driver is the Mitsubishi Kuro Kage, a black shaft with white accents that provides a mid to high ball flight and a really nice feel at the top and through impact. As discussed above, I got a pretty tight dispersion with the Kuro Kage, and a light bulb went off as to why Callaway might have gone with this shaft. Tightening dispersion is one of the three ways to get back some of those yards that Callaway says you’re leaving on the tee. Before you settle on the Kuro Kage, you should consider one of the other 14 premium models that are available – get this – at no upcharge. I tried a Project X LZ (Loading Zone) that I had in another driver and got a more boring trajectory and added run out, plus the feel of “loading” the driver during my transition.

Mitsubishi Bassara E 42
Mitsubishi Kuro Kage Black Tini 50
Fujikura Speeder Evolution TS 665
Mitsubishi Diamana D+ 70

Custom Shaft Offerings at No Upcharge

Aldila Tour Green or Blue True Temper Project X LZ Blue
Aldila Tour Blue True Temper Project X LZ Red
Aldila Rogue or Rogue I/O Fujikura Speeder 565, 665, 765
Matrix Ozik Red, White, or Black Tie  


The Callaway Great Big Bertha is a driver that can be fitted to a wide variety of golfers. It does have a draw bias, which some better players might shy away from, but in my case all I had to do is play around with the sliding weight a little bit to get my personal draw bias setup just the way I wanted it. And I had no problem working the ball the other way.

On Tour, Callaway staffer Jim Furyk put it in play before it was released to the public, and immediately contended for a big title. He’s been known to be sensitive to equipment changes, so that’s a pretty good sign. For my money, I would rather look at what players like Jim Furyk are using than Phil Mickelson (who plays the new Callaway Big Bertha Alpha 816). I can relate more to someone that doesn't overpower a golf course. But I realize that some of you can get it out there like the pros, and you should definitely get custom fit for all your clubs, but especially your driver.

Here's some feedback from Callaway's Tour rep, Kellen Watson. "“He [Jim Furyk] was really pleased with the ball flight and how easy the shot-making was with Great Big Bertha. His draws were consistent, his fades were consistent, he had a great ball flight, and he was hitting a lot of fairways.” Furyk averaged 311.4 yards per drive in the first round on Thursday with his new gamer, which has a 9 degree head, a Neutral directional bias with a Standard loft adjustability, and the adjustable perimeter weighting slide set very close to the neutral setting.


Whatever mode you fall into, be it the “driver of the week” club, or the player who seldom changes, Callaway wants to know how many yards you’re leaving on the tee. They’ve even posted a technical document, which focuses on three things that need to be optimized in order to maximize distance:

  • Ball speed
  • Dispersion
  • Launch Conditions

If you're interested in Great Big Bertha, I suggest you read the white paper, and then follow up with a visit to the Great Big Bertha product page, where you can find videos, Q&A's, podcasts, and everything to please even the biggest gear heads out there. This is Callaway's go-to product for 2016, and for good reason.

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