Martin Hopley

Callaway has been creating stronger lofted fairway woods for a while, with the most famous being the 3 Deep that Phil Mickelson used to great effect when winning the 2013 Open at Muirfield.

Most of these models have been for elite players, but now Callaway brings us the Bertha Mini 1.5 Driver that claims to offer the distance of drivers with the playability of fairways.

Callaway Bertha Mini 1.5 Driver

As the name suggests the 235cc head is larger than a normal fairway wood, but smaller than a driver. Compared to the Callaway Big Bertha Alpha 815 Driver it is significantly smaller and closer in size to the 14° Callaway XR 3 Deep fairway.

Callaway Bertha Mini 1.5 Driver

Compare to the XR 3 Deep, the Mini has a larger more rounded profile at address and a shallower face that gives it a little bit more forgiveness.

Callaway Bertha Mini 1.5 Driver

The face on the Mini sits neutral but is in fact 1° open, which is much less than the XR 3 Deep which is 3° open to ensure it is an 'anti-left' club.

The Mini 1.5 comes in two head lofts of 12° and 14° that can then be adjusted up 2° or down 1° with a neutral or a draw setting using the standard Callaway Optifit hosel.

Callaway Bertha Mini 1.5 Driver

The head is a multi-material construction with a 17-4 Stainless Steel body and Callaway's proprietory Forged Composite material in the crown. This weighs only 9 grams and is three times lighter than titanium whilst also being stronger, so it enables Callaway to play around with the saved weight to move the Centre of Gravity (CG) low and back.

Callaway Bertha Mini 1.5 Driver

The face design is the tried and trusted 455 Carpenter Steel Face Cup that is wrappped around the front of the head to ensure the weld lines are not on the front of the club and this maximises the ball speed.

Callaway Bertha Mini 1.5 Driver

Like most Callaway woods, the Bertha Mini 1.5 sat very nicely behind the ball at address and had a more of a fairway style to it than a driver.

Callaway Bertha Mini 1.5 Driver

The stock shaft is the 65g Mitsubishi Kuro Kage Silver TiNi that is 44 inches long as standard, so that is a nice combination of length for distance and control for accuracy, even if the white top half of the shaft made it look longer than it actually was.

Callaway Bertha Mini 1.5 Driver

The sole features a slight camber, which is a little nod to the classic Warbird sole and the red graphics remind me of the Callaway Optiforce fairway colour scheme.

Callaway Bertha Mini 1.5 Driver

At impact the sound and feel from the Mini 1.5 was excellent and similar to the feedback you get from an XR fairway, or indeed any of the recent Callaway fairways. Indeed you can almost take it for granted that this is a quality club and from that point of view there is nothing to fault with the Bertha Mini 1.5 driver.

However the issue with this category of club is whether it fits into your set make up and what will be the advantages for you using the Bertha Mini 1.5 over a similar lofted driver or fairway. To illustrate this point I went along to the Callaway Perforamance Centre in Chessington, London to compare the Mini with the other woods in their range on Trackman.

Firstly I got some benchmark figures with both the 12° and 14° Mini heads. As you would expect the 12° carried another 3.5 yards over the 14° and ran out to an additional 7 yards with less spin due to the lower loft.

Callaway Bertha Mini 1.5 Driver

Given the different lofts on the face I preferred the look of the 12° at address as it seemed to sit a little better for me. Both lofts were good from the tee, but bizarrely I found it easier to hit the 12° from the deck. This is counter-intuitive, but it could be due to the fact the 12° face is 1° more open and also the lie is 1° flatter and that suited me better.

I then compared it to the best spec of Callaway Big Bertha Alpha 815 driver for me of 9° loft and this only out-carried the Mini by 8 yards giving 10 yards more total distance.

Callaway Bertha Mini 1.5 Driver

With the Speeder 565 shaft in the Alpha Driver 815, I was a lot more accurate and of course the 460cc head size gives me a lot more forgiveness, although the Mini is obviously easier to hit from the fairway.

Staying in the same family, the Big Bertha Alpha 815 Fairway was next up. Set at 14° this carried 12 yards less than the 14° Mini and span a lot more.

This is to be expected as it is a much smaller head with a shorter shaft and really is an elite player club, for those who might want to shape the ball more. The sound and feel is great, but I think we all need the forgiveness of a bigger head than this.

Now we were onto the main contender in the XR 3 Deep fairway that Phil used to such good effect in a previous incarnation. The matte black head shape did not look as good at address compared to the Mini, as it seemed a little pointy, but the extra 2° open face still sat pretty square.

Distance wise the 3 Deep carried the same as the 14° Mini, but it had a lower launch with less spin so it ran out an extra 5 yards. It was probably easier to hit from the deck than the 12° Mini for me and was only a couple of yards behind. This is because the smaller head and face gave me a little more spin from lower strikes on the face.

Given the anti-left nature of the club I did hit it straight or with a slight fade, when I would probably prefer it to go the other way, so you can see here that the flight characteristics of the 3 Deep are what differentiate it from the Mini, rather than any performance gains.

Callaway Bertha Mini 1.5 Driver

Callaway expect half of golfers who buy the Mini to be driver dodgers who need a longer, fairway style club from the tee and the other half to be fairway fanatics who want more distance from the short stuff. So what am I?

Well, based on this test I am not sure. I like my driver and the forgiveness it brings so I would probably keep that in the bag as I am pretty accurate with it. However it is a little unnerving knowing that a 12° head with a 2 inch shorter shaft is almost going as far.

And that is probably the reason why I would not go for it from the tee because if I am hitting a fairway to lay up then I want to be more than 10 yards back from my driver .

From the fairway it could be a contender, but most of my fairway wood shots are from the tee, so it may depend on the course I am playing. A links course in the wind is the most likely option where extra run would be easily achieveable, as Phil demonstrated at Muirfield.

Callaway Bertha Mini 1.5 Driver

So there you have it, after much analysis and thought, my considered opinion on the Callaway Bertha Mini 1.5 driver is...maybe.

Maybe for certain courses that are not too long or firm links courses then I could see the 12° mini replacing the driver and complementing a 16° or 18° fairway and a 19° or 21° hybrid in the woods. However do you have the budget to buy an extra two woods and then the ability to make the right choice on the right day?

Maybe for others the benefits from the tee or from the fairway will see the Callaway Bertha Mini 1.5 driver replacing the driver or fairway in their bag, but watching the distance gaps to the next club in the bag is crucial.

Callaway Bertha Mini 1.5 Driver

However, performance wise it is a great club, so if you would like to find out if either of these options are for you, then you maybe you should go to a Callaway Performance Centre too.

Golfalot Rating: 5 stars
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Callaway Bertha Mini 1.5 Driver - Product Details

Launch UK29 May 2015
Launch USA29 May 2015
Launch RRP£249
Handicap Range
Hand AvailabilityLeft, Right
Left Handed Lofts12°, 14°
Right Handed Lofts12°, 14°
MaterialSteel, Composite
Head Volume235 cc
Club Length44 inches
Swing WeightD3
AdjustabilityLoft, Face Angle
Shaft NameMitsubishi Kurokage Silver TiNi
Shaft TypesGraphite
Shaft FlexLight, Ladies, Regular, Stiff, X Stiff
Shaft Weight65 grams
Manufacturer's WebsiteCallaway Website

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User Reviews

July 2016

I'm a 70-year old, 17 handicap golfer (used to be 12) who has always struggled to hit a 460cc driver consistently. Over 14 holes I would probably hit 4/5 really good drives, 4/5 really average drives and 3/4 poor drives. I have a Titleist 913F which I can hit consistently well and straight off the tee but I wanted something meatier and a club that would completely replace my existing driver. And this is that club! I love everything about it, the look, the feel, the sound and most of all the consistency and confidence it gives me. I haven't lost any distance to speak of and I haven't lost any balls either!

March 2016

I have tried so many drivers and have lost so much confidence. I hit the ball high with at times a bad slice. I played this weekend in a match play comp, 3 rounds in total and only missed 3 fairways over the 3 rounds. This club has truly changed my game. I am accurate and long with low spin, averaging around 270 off the tee and playing off 10. This is the best club I have ever bought.

March 2016

Purchased the 14* and set it to -1 neutral. Love the smaller, shallower face. Very happy with its performance off the tee. 62 years old and had never fully bought in to the 460cc longer shafted drivers. This one is a winner.

March 2016

I'm a 9 handicap and I purchased the Callaway Mini 1.5 Driver about 3 months ago and it has changed my game completely!! I used to lose distance off the tee with my Ping G30 due to my natural fade/cut. With the Mini, the ball flight is lower but much straighter and the ball runs out further! I'm driving the ball anywhere from 250 to 270 with this club (compared to 250 max with G30) and loving it. Love this club and it will stay in my bag for a long time!

December 2015

I have been playing the mini 1.5 12 degree and find it to be a game changer, long and straight off the tee and very easy to hit from the fairway,- it has improved my par 5 scores. It will stay in my bag.

November 2015

I bought the 12 degree version about a month ago, what a fantastic club.

I'm a 57 year old 12 handicapper - I was 8, but have had a couple of bad years. I was fine with a driver but this thing is amazing - hitting it 10+ yards further and much straighter, with the added bonus of being able to hit it off the deck as well.

My driver has been sold on ebay, and I won't be going back to one. Think this club may well help me get back to single figures.

September 2015

This club is what a proper driver ought to be: not like those huge bed-warming pans and with a decent loft angle too! Eventually these will dominate!

July 2015

Just played my first 18 holes with the mini. Definitely longer than my driver. At least 20 yards. And it is easier to control off the tee. Like it a lot!

July 2015

Played my first round yesterday with my new CBB Mini, and was surprised that the length of the shot was marginally different from my Ping G30. So far very positive,and looking forward to my second round with it this afternoon.

July 2015

Purchased this club last week and played a round with it on Sunday. I play off a handicap of 3, but have been finding myself in too much trouble off the tee. This club is long, I would say perhaps 5 metres shorter than my driver when I get them both. I would say the misses with the 1.5 are not as severe. Not a 3 wood - I only see this as a driver replacement - does not sit like a 3 wood on the ground.

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