Callaway’s Great Big Bertha range: what you need to know | Golf equipment: clubs, balls, bags


WHAT DO YOU WANT TO KNOW: Callaway’s new Great Big Bertha line (driver, fairway wood, hybrid and irons) uses special forms of carbon composite and titanium grades, even in the irons. The goal is to maximize how mass can be reallocated in search of new range potential, all without cost limitation.

THE PRICE: Driver, $700. Fairway wood, $500 per club. Hybrids, $450 per club. Irons, $450 per club.

DEEP DIVING: In an age when lotteries reward Joe’s billions on average, we’ve all dreamed of what we could do with our lives if money weren’t a concern. Callaway engineers apparently already know what it is. It was basically the design brief for the company’s latest launch of a family of wood and metal irons known as the Great Big Bertha. Build yourself a full set of the new Great Big Bertha and it will cost you a Powerball jackpot or two, maybe $5,300, putter not included.

But the Great Big Bertha range is not about gratuitous extravagance. Rather, it is a chance to explore the possible.

“The goal was to see how far we could push performance,” said Scott Manwaring, design director at Callaway.

Achieving this required special forms of carbon composite that help the Great Big Bertha reduce the driver design by 30 grams or nearly 10% of overall weight. It also includes a set of irons constructed with “commercially pure titanium” (essentially medical grade). Over 50% of the head’s mass, an average of 150 grams, is contained within an external tungsten bar that frames the sole and lower back of the iron. Altogether, this is a collection of clubs looking to set new standards in mass ownership for Callaway.

“We wanted to bring as much innovation as possible, as much technology as possible and a real material difference,” said Dave Neville, senior director of brand management at Callaway.

This tech push naturally starts with the speakerphone, which, like Callaway’s recent high-end offerings such as the Epic Star range, focuses on a more lightweight approach. The Great Big Bertha driver uses a lightweight form of carbon composite called forged composite (or what Callaway calls “forged carbon”). Forged composite, which was first used in Callaway pilots with the Razr Hawk in 2011. Forged composite includes small pieces of carbon fiber composite that can be shaped into distinct shapes, which is different from sheets typical carbon fiber. Callaway originally developed the use of the material in conjunction with Lamborghini automobiles.

“What’s really interesting about the forged carbon material is that it’s multi-directional,” Neville said. “It’s very light and very strong, and it allows us to do different things with the shaping that we can’t do with traditional carbon. It allows us to have this huge toe patch on the sole which saves us a ton of weight, and that’s going to help a lot with swing speed.

Fairway woods and hybrids in the Great Big Bertha range feature the same approach as the driver, including a titanium face backed by a version of the company’s “jailbreak” structure that reinforces the crown, sole and base. perimeter of the face to create a larger softer area on the face.

Another element in the metal woods, which will be repeated in the irons, is how the lighter carbon composite and titanium face and body free up more discretionary mass to use in the form of heavy steel and tungsten. . This results in a low center of gravity and a slight draw bias. According to Neville, approximately 53% of the fairway wood’s total mass is “discretionary weight,” while 100 grams of each hybrid head is saved weight.

Great Big Bertha irons use a commercially pure titanium body, which is both lightweight and bendable, making it ideal for irons set to the right lie angles. Screwed to the back of the irons is a heavy tungsten bar that weighs 145 grams, lowering the center of gravity and providing the impetus for higher launch with less spin. This combination is both obvious and non-trivial, Manwaring said. Titanium is just the beginning of a solution to take advantage of the most optimized mass properties, he said.

“You have these competing issues and you have an asset that you can leverage to kind of find your way to success,” he said. “But you still have 50% of the weight you need to manage. You have now solved a few problems and now you have opened many doors to mass properties, CG depths and many exciting opportunities.

But it’s how the tungsten weight works with the rest of the iron’s construction, and more specifically how it’s screwed into the iron body, that is crucial to club success.

“There are a few things going on here that you have to be careful about in terms of momentum conservation,” he said, saying the key is how the multiple pieces of the iron, including the cupface , body, vibration damping urethane microspheres and massive tungsten weight work as a unit. “These screws see a jackhammer force. These screw threads see the maximum load. You need to match the screws perfectly so the ball can see the body.

“It’s a tricky, delicate design project.”

Manwaring said the goal was to take the form of Callaway’s Apex DCB iron and “see what we could do if we could convert it to a titanium platform and overcome all the issues that come with a titanium iron. titanium, from flexing to managing stress to getting enough weight in the body.

In comparison, Great Big Bertha irons contain almost triple the tungsten used in Apex DCB irons.

The Great Big Bertha line, which largely targets golfers looking to improve swing speed and launch over standard clubs, will require some investment. The range includes lightweight rods in all clubs (the 60 gram and 50 gram helium irons and UST Mamiya’s driver rods). The pilot (9, 10.5, 12 degrees) sells for $700. Fairway woods (15,18, 21, 24 degrees) and hybrids (18, 20, 23, 26, 29 and 32 degrees) sell for $500 and $450 each. Irons (4 iron to sand wedge) are offered at $450 per iron or $3,600 for a set of eight.

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