Callaway Great Big Bertha Irons
- Driver technology in an iron with titanium face and body
- Up to 145 grams of tungsten for low CG, easy launch
- Lightweight construction, targeted at lower swing speed golfers
- Ultra-premium priced at $449,99 each
The Great Big Bertha irons story may, for many of you, begin and end right here.
They’re $449.99 per stick.
But before you jump right to the Comments section and proclaim OEMs are pricing the average golfer out of the game, please note that we have checked the internet this morning. The golf industry did not force Sub 70 to close down. PXG’s 0211 line has not been pulled from the market and Tour Edge hasn’t locked its doors.
In fact, all of the game-improvement and super game-improvement irons listed online yesterday for less than $1,000 are still available today. You can still buy complete iron sets from Wilson, Cleveland, COBRA, PING, TaylorMade, Mizuno and Callaway anywhere from $599 to $999.
So before we dive into the new Callaway Great Big Bertha irons, let’s say it all together so the folks in the back can hear:
“The existence of high-priced, premium equipment does not eliminate the existence of lower-priced equipment.”
With that out of the way, we can now move on to the story at hand.
Callaway Great Big Bertha Irons
Give Callaway credit for being upfront on Great Big Bertha’s target market.
“They’ll be playing a lot of their golf at private clubs,” says Zach Oakley, Callaway’s Marketing Manager for Irons and Hybrids. “They’re definitely going to be someone who’s willing to pay a premium for distance and be proud to show off this product in the bag.”
If Callaway’s Epic Star line had a ménage à trois with XXIO Prime and the Honma Beres, you’d wind up with Great Big Bertha. These irons are for the aging golfer with plenty of disposable income to spend. They’re lightweight with a metric crap-ton of technology to help said golfer get the ball up in the air and to keep that distance-robbing bastard known as Father Time at bay.
“There’s definitely nothing else out there that’s built quite like this,” says Oakley.
Specifically, Callaway is doubling down on the twin T’s: titanium and tungsten.
Driver Tech in an Iron
What are you getting for your $449.99 per club? For starters, there’s both a titanium face and body.
“You have a forged titanium face that’s ultra-thin,” says Oakley. “Imagine taking a material that’s usually reserved for drivers and putting it on an iron.”
And as with its drivers, Callaway is using its artificial intelligence-designed Flash Face to optimize ball speed and spin consistency.
Additionally, Callaway is using what’s called “Commercially Pure” titanium (CP Ti) for the Great Big Bertha body. CP Ti is unalloyed titanium with trace amounts of impurities. It’s commonly used in the medical and dental industries for miniaturized implants.
For Callaway, CP Ti has three important qualities. It’s light, strong and, unlike standard titanium, bendable.
“That’s going to save 96 grams of weight compared to a traditional steel iron body,” says Oakley. “You’re creating a ton of discretionary weight that you can move around and really dial in launch and really help with speed.”
And it wouldn’t be a Callaway iron without a lot of tungsten. Like up to 145 grams worth of tungsten per club.
“That’s 50 percent more than any other iron in the industry,” says Oakley. “That’s going to really help us dial in the launch for golfers who need that.”
Great Big Bertha: Light Speed
The common theme in the ultra-premium iron category is lightweight performance. Whether it’s XXIO, Honma Beres or, in this case, Callaway, the goal is to make a light grip-to-tip package. The Great Big Bertha lineup was built from the ground up and each product had its own dedicated team working on it.
“When we have a titanium face and a titanium body, we’re seeing incredible speed gains,” says Oakley. “You really don’t need to have super-jacked lofts to get distance upgrades.”
A quick spec check shows lofts that are, relatively speaking, non-jacked. The Great Big Bertha loft structure is based off a 30-degree 7-iron. In fact, the overall loft structure is identical to Callaway’s Apex DCB irons. In fact, the profile, top line and offset are virtually identical.
The differences? Lighter weight and, due to the 145 grams of tungsten, a center of gravity that’s slightly lower than the River Styx.
“With where we’re going and who we’re targeting, we want really lightweight components to complement the heads,” says Oakley, “and we want something that’s more premium.”
XXIO and Beres feature their own proprietary lightweight shafts (both parent companies own shaft manufacturers). The Great Big Bertha will be the first Callaway iron to use a Nippon product as its stock steel shaft. The NS Pro 850GH neo, according to Nippon, is popular on the Japan Ladies Professional Tour and with target amateurs of both genders and is engineered to work with larger GI and SGI heads with low CGs.
The UST Helium Nanocore is the stock graphite offering. UST says it’s also designed for modern clubheads with a counterbalanced design that’s stable while still being lightweight.
Callaway Great Big Bertha – Price, Availability and Final Thoughts
The new Great Big Bertha irons will be available for fitting and pre-sale starting Nov. 4 and will hit retail on Nov. 11.
As mentioned, the 85-gram Nippon NS Pro 850GH neo will be the stock steel shaft. It will be available in both S and R flexes. The UST Helium Nanocore is the stock graphite option. It will be available in a 50-gram women’s flex and in 60-gram L, R and S flex.
The Winn Dri-Tac Lite 2.0 is the stock grip.
The Great Big Bertha is apparently replacing the Epic Star as Callaway’s premium line. It’s fair to ask what possible market there could be for a $449.99-per-club iron set but XXIO, Beres and others have proven there is one. It’s not a large one but it’s large enough and it’s surprisingly underserved.
One can argue it’s a market with more money than brains. But one could also argue that it takes brains to have that kind of money to spend on golf clubs. Either way, it’s their money. They get to spend it any way they want.
To reiterate: “The existence of high-priced, premium equipment does not eliminate the existence of lower-priced equipment.”
For more information on the new Great Big Bertha irons, visit the Callaway website.
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