What we say...
The Callaway Big Bertha B21 driver combines an unusual mix of low spin, forward CG and high MOI performance for golfers who suffer with a distance zapping slice.
There’s never been more chatter around the incredible levels of speed and distance tour players are creating than there is right now. But while some in the golf world obsess over Bryson’s bombs and call for technology to be reined in, it’s important to remember that at club level, golfers aren’t getting longer every year.
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In fact, as golfers get older, we start to lose distance.
It’s an issue most equipment brands have identified as an opportunity for some years now and the thinking has led to a new trend of clubs targeting ‘moderate’ swing speed players with their own specific ranges. But the thinking behind how to cater for this group of golfers is changing fast.
A few years ago moderate swing speed players were handed super-light, low-tech product families [because tech often has less impact at slower speeds]. But brands are now loading up their ‘moderate’ swing speed models with their very latest tech – as Callaway have with the new Big Bertha B21 range.
Callaway's tagline for B21 is ‘Distance any way you swing it’, and the family is rammed to the rafters with Callaway’s latest driver technology to help golfers with average swing speeds hit shots both further and straighter.
What you need to know about the Callaway Big Bertha B21 driver
A new distance recipe
The B21 driver is Callaway’s first high launch driver with an ultra-low forward centre of gravity (which adds ball speed). Low and forward CGs are usually reserved for less forgiving, high speed, low spin drivers, but Callaway insist this is a new low-spin recipe for distance and accuracy at average swing speeds.
How much tech?
Just like Callaway’s Mavrik driver, the B21 driver has Jailbreak bars behind the face to max out ball speed from whatever swing speed you can muster. There’s also a stronger and lighter titanium Flash Face, plus a Triaxial carbon crown to help rinse every last drop of performance from the driver.
Callaway say the new B21 head is larger from front to back so there's more of a triangular shape, which ups forgiveness. Internal draw bias is built into each head to help counteract a distance zapping slice, too.
Callaway have designed a completely new shaft for the B21 metalwoods. A reasonably lightweight construction and an active tip section mean it naturally tries to add loft at impact, so shots are flighted higher to maximise carry. There’s also a specially selected new grip for the target golfer, Golf Pride’s Tour 360 Soft.
Callaway Big Bertha B21 or Mavrik Max?
Callaway say the Mavrik Max and B21 drivers are aimed at different golfers and there’s two reasons behind their thinking. The B21 is specifically designed for golfers who hit down and across the target line, and in doing so create too much backspin. Backspin robs distance and an across the line delivery adds side spin, which compromises accuracy.
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The B21 has less face progression so shots start further left and thanks to the new low and forward CG recipe there’s also way more spin reducing capability than the Mavrik Max.
Think of it like the B21's forward CG being good for spin consistency and the low CG as being great at spin reduction and you won’t go too far wrong. All in the B21 is a super game-improving driver, or as Callaway like to call it, a slice stopper.
We asked Dr Alan Hocknell, Callaway’s Head of R&D, for the story behind the B21 driver
The whole B21 project started with a huge investigation into 17+ handicappers and we looked into how these golfers actually hit their driver. Where very often 2,200–2,600 RPM of backspin is seen as optimal many of our test group were producing between 3,000–4,000 RPM. And it’s no secret the loss in distance is dramatic for golfers who hit both down onto the ball and across the path of delivery.
So we set out to design a driver that helped, not just by adding distance but also allowing golfers to aim more at their target and eliminate the dreaded slice. The B21 is the fruit of our labours, and it’s pretty unusual.
We’ve teamed a low and forward CG (that’s usually reserved for our fast swing speed Sub Zero drivers) with extra draw bias and a forgiving high MOI performance. The B21 driver gives an unusual mix of spin reduction (both back and side spin), spin consistency and oodles of ball speed protection, as our target golfer sparays shots all over the driver face.
We’ve never designed a driver like it before and currently there’s nothing like it in the market place.
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Review written by: Simon Daddow
Job title: Today's Golfer - Equipment Editor
Callaway Big Bertha B-21 Driver
Lofts: 9° / 10.5° / 12.5°
Stock shaft: Callaway RCH (65g R, S) 55g (L, R, S) 45g (L, R)
Stock grip: Golf Pride Tour Velvet 360 Soft
Adjustable hosel: Yes (-1°/+2°)
Adjustable sole weight: No