Published on February 14th, 2014 | by Ryan McKesson
Callaway Big Bertha Fairway Woods Review
When I first heard Callaway was relaunching the Big Bertha line my immediate reaction was nostalgia. Receiving a Callaway Big Bertha Warbird for Christmas in 1994 is still one of my fondest memories in the game of golf. That driver made me the envy of my high school golf team and helped a scrawny 4-foot-11-inch version of myself keep up with anyone off the tee.
I am sure there are many similar stories among the golfing masses but Callaway claims bringing the iconic Bertha line back is not merely a play on nostalgia, and the technology they put into these clubs proves it. With a price point starting a bit higher than its 2014 competitors from TaylorMade, not to mention Callaway’s own X2 Hot offerings, these fairways will need perform as advertised and deliver the “absolute bombs” players have associated with Big Bertha for decades.
From the super hot Hyper Speed Face Cup to the new advanced adjustable hosel technology, it is clear Callaway put a lot of engineering into this club.
“We didn’t bring the name back out of some misguided sense of nostalgia. We brought it back to advance the science of hitting the ball far.”Alan Hocknell, Senior Vice President, Callaway Research & Development
While much of the attention is being focused on the Big Bertha drivers, the fairway woods were of much more interest to me. For the better part of 20 years I have had a Callaway fairway wood in the bag, from the original Warbird to the Steelhead Plus. The main reason I have always been so fond of the Callaway fairway woods is they are long — very long. I still believe one of the best feelings in the game of golf is “playing safe” by mashing a 3-wood down the fairway. The Callaway line of 3-woods has always allowed me to do this without sacrificing much distance from my driver. The new Callaway Big Bertha fairway wood may be the longest of them all. I just hope my driver doesn’t get jealous…
The look of this club is awesome: Callaway absolutely nailed it. The first thing you notice is the very patriotic, US Ryder Cup red-white-and-blue color scheme throughout the whole club. Callaway even took the graphics on the shaft into consideration. As part of the adjustable technology there is a line that ensures the shaft graphics will be underneath and not visible when you set up over the club. Ted Williams used to turn down the logo on his bat so he wasn’t distracted by it at the plate, he was that focused on the task of hitting the ball; Callaway seems to know you should be too when preparing to hit a golf ball.
The next part of the look that was great about this club was the way it lied down at address. Most Callaway fairway woods tend to lie down very closed, but the new Bertha lies down straight and has a nice neutral feel when you set up to the ball. This is important to me because I want to be able to open or close the clubface on my own to work the ball. Overall the look of the club made me feel very confident that I could swing away with positive results.
Once I got past how cool the new Bertha fairway woods looked, I actually hit a few balls to see how they performed. I have to admit my expectations after seeing the club may have been a bit high as I expected to hit the ball perfectly each time. Again, this speaks to the look of club, but the results did leave a little bit to be desired. Let me explain: the Hyper Speed face was definitely hot, but it felt a bit hard to me. I prefer a softer “buttery” feel and no matter how square I hit the ball it still felt hard off the clubface. It was certainly solid, but not as responsive as I would like.
Next, I noticed the trajectory with the 3-wood was very low. I could not seem to get the ball in the air off the deck which takes away a bit of versatility for me. The 5-wood, on the other hand was much easier to get airborne and after several swings my average distance was within 10 yards of the 3-wood with a more desirable ball flight.
Now, the 3-wood is easily as long as advertised and plenty forgiving. Almost all of my shots ended up at a similar distance (far) and many of them were not exactly flushed. Off the tee this club was an absolute rocket. This could easily act as second driver for me, and from the fairway any par-5 would be in reach as long as there was no trouble to carry before the green. If I had to choose between just one of the clubs I would lean towards the 5 wood. The good news for us is we don’t have to choose!
My overall impression of the new Big Bertha fairway woods is very positive. The look is awesome and the performance was great. These clubs will fly off the shelves and into many golf bags this season. For those who do add them to their arsenal they will not be disappointed. One piece of advice for recouping the cost of your investment in these fairway woods: start betting your friends you can outdrive them with your 3-wood.