Whilst Big Bertha used to signify Callaway's main product offering every year and was used on professional tours by the best players in the world, nowadays the line is geared towards providing more forgiveness to golfers who are typically higher handicappers and looking for better launch and easier clubs to hit.
The test 2023 Big Bertha range was announced earlier this year and came with a tagline of 'make every shot your best', and after Georgina put the BB23 driver and BB23 irons to the test, I wanted to put the fairway wood (a very important club for golfers lacking distance and launch) through its paces too.
Fairway woods can be among the most difficult clubs in the bag to hit, so finding something that gives you a bit more confidence both from the tee and from the fairway can be a real bonus.
I got my hands on the Big Bertha Fairway in a 19 degree 5 Wood - and I wanted to find out whether this was an underused option that more golfers should consider in their golf bag.
Who Is It Aimed At?
Anyone who is looking for something that is easy to hit, friendly to look at and provides lots of forgiveness. If you struggle getting fairway woods in the air, club could make your life a lot easier.
It will also appeal to golfers who played golf when the Big Bertha range first arrived on the scene, as it has produced some pretty iconic clubs over the years.
The Big Bertha fairways feature an oversized profile which combines with a shallow face design, to give golfers more confidence at address and promote an easy launch.
They also use progressively short shaft lengths as the loft of the club changes, which helps to promote more consistent contact for improved launch and carry distance.
Jailbreak has been around in Callaway's woods for a number of years and it continues into the Big Bertha range, combining with the same Batwing Technology we saw in this years Paradym fairway woods to stabilise the face, which allows for more flexing to produce faster ball speeds and increased distance.
Callaway use AI technology to design their high strength, which is unique to each head to optimise performance and enhance speed.
With a triaxial carbon crown and lightweight components, the fairways are made to be easy to swing and launch, with adjustability also available on the 3 and 5 wood models to dial in launch and spin.
There are five different fairway woods available in the Big Bertha 23 range, from 3 wood down to 9 wood, including a 21 degree Heavenwood.
Callaway Big Bertha 23 Fairway Wood Review
The Big Bertha fairway has a large, shallow profile which sits quite flat to the ground and this does make it look more friendly. When I'm testing I want to hit fairways off the deck as much as I can because I think that's where you really start to see the performance and the forgiveness, and this fairway does a great job of looking inviting to hit.
The black, red and grey colourway looks pretty smart and, whilst I usually prefer a matte crown, I liked the pretty simple carbon crown design complete with Callaway's V logo which makes alignment really easy.
There's a visible bit of offset at address which, when combined with the upright lie angle, did immediately make me think that I was going to have no trouble hitting draws with this club, something which proved to be true during testing.
The Big Bertha range is looking to inspire confidence and as soon as I started hitting shots I noticed that there was a pretty loud sound and reassuring feel off the face at impact.
It's not the softest feeling club in the world but in some ways that suits a club like this - it helps that it feels and sounds like you've hit every shot well, as it adds a bit of confidence.
The shaft options are all nice and lightweight, with just a 60g stiff shaft in the fairway that I tested, which made it really easy to swing freely and probably helped me with the launch too.
At times I probably felt like it was a little too lightweight for me, but for the golfer who wants to get the ball up in the air as easily as possible, I can only see this being a bonus. The progressive shaft lengths were a really sensible addition too, as it made the club feel much easier to control and I felt it added a bit of workability too.
I found it just so easy to get the ball up in the air with minimal effort, and there was plenty of forgiveness!
I was really impressed with the performance of the club on strikes that were low on the face, a common place to strike the ball with a fairway wood, as I found that the ball still launched well and travelled a decent distance.
The head profile helped with a bit of turf interaction too, the flat wide sole seemed to slide across the turf rather than digging in, which felt like it helped with the consistency of the strike.
I definitely found that I was missing more shots to the left due to the flat lie of the club as well as the slight offset at address. But this is really what these clubs are for, the Big Bertha range is designed to help golfers who are struggling with a slice and these clubs should definitely help to calm it down.
You can always then look at the Paradym range if you want something which sits more neutral.
I headed to Hukd Golf to test the performance of this fairway on the GC Hawk launch monitor, and compared the fairway to my own TaylorMade Stealth Rescue which is the same 19 degree loft.
I was impressed with the numbers produced, from the carry distance and peak height to the consistent spin rates, although I do think that the dispersion was a bit more variable with this club than it was with my rescue, even though in some ways the bigger head made it more forgiving.
I just felt like my left and right misses were bigger with the fairway wood than they would've been with a hybrid, although I know that there are plenty of golfers who don't like using hybrids and therefore would prefer the look and profile of a fairway wood.
Callaway Big Bertha 23 Fairway Wood Verdict
Having hit a lot of shots with this 5 wood during my testing I can say that I think this is a club which more people should be considering - either as a replacement for a long iron/hybrid or even as an alternative to a 3 wood. It's easier to hit and should be more versatile too, meaning that it could be used from a variety of different lies or situations.
The Big Bertha has been Callaway's game-improvement range for a few years now and this continues with their latest woods. This club is really easy to hit and seems to just launch high no matter where you strike it on the face which is a big plus.
It will also help those golfers who struggle with a slice, while the lightweight setup may also make life a bit easier for you compared to usual heavy fairway wood shafts.
If you haven't tried a 5 wood, I would highly recommend that you give it a go, and you might even find that it becomes your new favourite club.
Would I Use It?
I'm not sure this particular club is suited to me as I found that it had a little too much draw-bias and at times it launched a bit high, but I'd definitely consider a 5 wood in place of a hybrid at some point in the future.
Callaway Big Bertha 23 Fairway Wood Pros & Cons
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