Equipment Report

    Callaway Big Bertha Alpha 816 Double Black Diamond driver and fairway woods

  • Callaway's Big Bertha Alpha 816 Double Black Diamond (Jonathan Wall/PGA TOUR)Callaway's Big Bertha Alpha 816 Double Black Diamond (Jonathan Wall/PGA TOUR)

At first glance, Callaway's Big Bertha Alpha 816 Double Black Diamond driver looks similar to its predecessor, Big Bertha Alpha 816 Double Black Diamond, with multiple forms of adjustability including interchangeable heel and toe weights.

However, if you take a closer look you'll notice one key piece of technology has moved: the gravity core. First introduced with Big Bertha Alpha, the core gave golfers the ability to alter spin independently of launch angle (also known as CG height) depending on its position inside a chamber that was centrally located in the sole.

While the core was effective at altering CG height, the low CG position wasn't nearly as forgiving as the mid CG, which led Callaway engineers to come up with a way rectify the issue.

The solution? Eliminating the interchangeable weights on the heel and toe and replacing them with dual distance chambers. As opposed to the original gravity core that could only alter launch and spin characteristics, adding a second chamber and moving them to the perimeter (heel and toe) allowed engineers to improve forgiveness and alter shot shape.

"In previous models, we had interchangeable heel and toe weights, and one chamber in the middle of the club head," said Evan Gibbs, Callaway Golf's senior manager of product performance in metal woods. "In this model, we eliminated the weight screws and added a second chamber so the gravity core can be used to move the center of gravity both up-and-down, and side-to-side. This was a much more weight efficient way to design the driver.”

"By moving the gravity core from the middle of the club head, where it's very ineffective for MOI, and moving it to the perimeter, we've been able to drastically improve the forgiveness of this club while retaining the low-spin characteristics of last year's Double Black Diamond."  

With the new design, if a golfer wants a more neutral or fade shot shape, the gravity core should be positioned in the toe of the driver (vice versa for a draw). From there, launch and spin can be dialed in simply by altering the core position.

When the tungsten end of the core is closest to the sole, the driver will have a lower CG with lower backspin — producing a flatter, more penetrating ball flight.

However, when the tungsten weight end is inserted first into the chamber, closer to the crown, the driver will have a mid CG that produces a higher ball flight with less rollout and more forgiveness.

The new driver will also feature the company's RMOTO (rib motion control) design — a rib-like structure that runs along the leading edge of the sole, making the face lighter than previous versions Callaway has released. The weight reduction design also helped improve ball speeds, particularly around the edge of the face, and lower the CG to reduce spin. 

In addition to the new technology, Big Bertha Alpha 816 DBD has a traditional shape, deeper face and OptiFit hosel that offers 8-way adjustability with settings ranging from minus 1 degree loft to plus 2 degrees loft; draw and neutral settings also allow the lie angle to be adjusted.

Callaway's Big Bertha Alpha 816 Double Black Diamond driver (Sept. 18) retails for $500 and comes in two lofts (9 and 10.5 degrees) with either an Aldila Rogue I/O 60 shaft or Mitsubishi Diamana D+ 70 shaft. 

Big Bertha Alpha 816 fairway woods: Created with single-digit handicappers and professionals in mind, the Big Bertha Alpha 816 fairway wood has a similar design to the driver with adjustable weights (3 gram and 16 grams) that can change ball flight. 

When the 16-gram weight is in the forward position, the fairway wood produces a lower launch with less spin. However, when the 16-gram weight is placed in the rear position, with the 3-gram weight closer to the face, the club has a higher launch with more forgiveness. The different launch angles make the fairway wood an option off the tee or more playable from the fairway, depending on how the weights are positioned. 

Callaway's Forged Hyper Speed Face Cup increases the size of the sweet spot while boosting ball speeds and forgiveness on off-center strikes at the same time. To increase MOI, the head was made slightly larger (165 cc) than its predecessor. The sole was also re-designed and provides control from a variety of lies. 

The Big Bertha Alpha 816 fairway wood (Sept. 18) retails for $300 and comes in three loft options (14, 16 and 18 degrees) with an OptiFit hosel that provides 8-way adjustability.

For more on Callaway equipment, visit the PGA TOUR Superstore