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Home BIG BERTHA IS BACK

When Chip Brewer became Callaway Golf’s CEO in March of 2012, he said he was going to count on the Research and Department to spark the company’s turnaround. In the equipment business, after all, product is everything. Safe to say with only a month left in 2013, Dr. Alan Hocknell and company have more than earned their pay as the company has seen its metalwoods business on a significant upswing, despite difficult market conditions. It’s a critical category since it (typically) represents healthy profit margins for an equipment company as well as for retailers. Metalwoods are also what put Callaway Golf on the map in the first place and some might say its part of the company’s DNA. Now it looks like the R&D department has saved its best for last as Callaway announced not one but two new drivers are headed to retail.

bigberthaBig Bertha is instantly recognizable with any golfer that has been playing the game for more than a few years. Callaway and Big Bertha go hand in hand as it was once a product that made the game more enjoyable for those that struggled with their tee shots. Callaway announced it is bringing Big Bertha back and she’s made a few “adjustments” since we last saw her. As is the case over the past several years, adjustability has become the battleground with drivers as a means to attract attention with consumers. In what is fast becoming a two horse race, Callaway’s newest Big Bertha driver will go head to head with TaylorMade’s SLDR.

Big Bertha, originally launched in 1991 and named after the famous German Big Bertha howitzer, features a sliding weight on the perimeter of the club. Golfers will be able to adjust 8 grams of weight on an approximately 5-inch track as a means to dial in their tee shots. The newest Big Bertha also enables players to independently adjust loft and lie angle in order to help improve ball speed. Golfers can chose from four different lofts (from -1 to +2) to optimize launch angle and backspin and two different lies, denoted by 'D' for Draw and 'N' for Neutral, to optimize the directional bias.

According to Callaway’s test data, a significant number of golfers with a handicap of 10 or higher don’t use the center of the face very often with their drivers. Therefore ball speed and performance suffers. In the new Big Bertha, Callaway has incorporated a new Hyperspeed Face that it said is lighter and larger than faces it’s had in this category before. It promises to deliver improved ball speed for players who do and don't hit center of face.

The 8-gram perimeter weighting also assists the Moment of Inertia (MOI) or stability in the new Big Bertha driver. Traditional, if it can be classified as such, weight screws found in the heel and toe featured in today’s drivers are stationary or binary. The sliding weight theoretically represents an infinite number of positions to put it for the sake of tuning ball flight but it also maintains the stability of the club high since its on the perimeter of the club. It offers a dual purpose as it helps players improve shot shape but also ball speed for on and off center strikes. Big Bertha (US $399) will arrive at retail on February 14, 2014.

Callaway also has Big Bertha fairway metals to complement the driver. According to the company, the new Big Bertha fairways have the highest MOI of any of its fairway products this year. The fairway metals have an adjustable hosel that can change the loft by four degrees. In fact players can actually achieve the same lofts via multiple heads; for example, both the 3-metal and 5-metal heads can get to 17 degrees. Similarly, the 5-metal and the 7-metal can both get to 20 degrees. Through adjustability, golfers can play the role of do-it-yourself or by professionally getting fitted they can configure the long part of the golf bag to manage distance gaps. Golfers worldwide are hopelessly addicted to distance and Callaway stated its new Big Bertha Fairways are it’s longest due to the ability to configure to individual needs.