When manufacturers like Callaway launch 3 drivers at the same time, how do you know which one is for you? I grabbed them all and asked their designer Alan Hocknell for some guidance.
Hi Alan. You have launched two new drivers under the Big Bertha name, so why have you done that?
Obviously launching drivers with the Big Bertha name is a big deal for us and the heritage of golf clubs that are easy to hit and are very long and have had innovation in them and that is exactly what we tried to do with the new Big Bertha drivers is to bring those ingredients to the present day. So both of them feature multiple materials that give us the weight benefit that we then use to create interesting and useful adjustable features.
The first one you have is the Big Bertha, so what is unique about this?
The standard Callaway Big Bertha driver (above left) features adjustable perimeter weighting, this is where there is a sliding weight that can move to anywhere on the perimeter to adjust the draw bias. So if you need to straighten out any shots that have a left or a right tendency, you get a large range of options but also very fine control of the settings in the middle.
Anywhere that you put the weight it’s going to have high Moment of Intertia (MOI) and high stability, so if you don’t hit the centre of the face, which quite honestly average golfers struggle with. If you have a handicap of say 10 or greater you are going to miss the centre 60% of the time, so having high stability in the head is a big deal for average golfers and this head has that no matter where you put the weight on that track so it has both benefits
It also has a hyper speed face again for the potential that you are not going to hit the centre of the face. Obviously we make the centre of the face very hot but the off-centre locations are very important too.
The Alpha version of the Big Bertha has really caught the imagination so what so special about it?
The Callaway Big Bertha Alpha driver is the other Big Bertha driver and it has a unique proposition in that it is the first driver to be able to move the centre of gravity (CG) vertically. So that’s going to allow you to alter the spin rate and the flight of your ball without altering the launch angle, effectively for the first time de-coupling spin rate and launch angle.
It’s going to open up launch conditions for golfers that they have never been able to achieve before and that’s going to convert to extra distance.
The Alpha driver is special in that is also has four independent forms of adjustability, so CG height is just one of the four. It also has draw bias or fade bias using the heel and toe weights and you can adjust loft and lie angle all independent of each other using the adjustable hosel.
That gives you a lot of control and that gives you the most complete fitting platform and we definitely encourage people to get fitted when they are considering purchasing either of these Big Bertha drivers.
You have the Big Bertha that is MOI adjustable and the Alpha that is CG adjustable, so which one should most golfers be looking at?
I would say that a lot of average golfers would get a lot of benefit from the standard Big Bertha with the perimeter weighting because it has the most stability.
However the Alpha driver with its ability to change the CG height is a unique proposition. I think a lot of people should experiment with that as well because it has quite different playing characteristics when the gravity core is in the low or the high position. The average golfer in particular could get a lot of benefit from that depending on how they deliver the golf club.
That’s one of the things we are most proud of here, is that we are individualising performance so any pair of golfers could fit into different drivers and even if it was the same model they could have different settings and we are pleased to facilitate that.
If you have it set to a high or a low CG, how does that affect the ball flight?
The high CG setting in the Alpha driver would give you around 300 rpm more spin than the low CG setting and depending on where you hit it on the face and how you deliver the club that can be used in tandem with the loft adjustment to achieve a set of launch conditions that are going to make you hit it further than you would have before.
As well as the Big Bertha driver, you have also launched the X2 Hot driver. What is the difference?
The Big Bertha’s give you the control over the character of the golf club, whereas with the X2 Hot driver more of it is built in for you. So we have adjustability in the hosel of loft and lie and that is important as they are primary variables to get the ball flight you want.
We have focussed the X2 Hot on being a bit lighter golf club configuration and of the 3 models it has the most stability and the highest MOI and again that is good for average golfers who tend not to hit the centre of the face and have issues with directional control. So by being lighter and having the weigthing configured for you the X2 Hot is just an easier club to get into.