Usually when new drivers hit the the market the big sell manufacturers use to hook golfers in is how the clubs can hit further from the tee than anything that’s gone before. But that’s changed a bit with Callaway’s new Big Bertha Fusion as it’s the first driver we’ve seen that spouts about being aimed specifically at golfers needing a “super-forgiving driver” for “enhanced control”. It goes without saying then the company are quick to point out how the Fusion’s the most forgiving driver they’ve ever designed!
How have Callaway’s crack team of engineers done it? Well first off they’ve reinstated Fusion technology which was first launched in 2004. It brilliantly fuses titanium for strength with carbon fibre for weight saving within the same head. But in a time when carbon fibre is super cool they haven’t just used the same carbon composite material used in previous drivers. Oh no far from it. Thanks to the knowledge they’ve gained from working with carbon crowns and bodies since 2004 the company have created a new Triaxial Carbon fibre material which is 65% lighter than titanium and 35% thinner than their previous carbon composite material. Thanks to the new materials tech Callaway reckon the forgiveness (MOI) of the Fusion is 17% higher than the brands popular XR 16 Driver, which is seriously impressive.
The forgiveness tech doesn’t stop their either. In a new step to improve control and accuracy Callaway are launching the driver in two shaft lengths. One at 44.5” is a full 1.25” shorter than the current XR 16 driver which they say enhances control and consistency (and who doesn’t need the extra help?) while a more standard 45.5” length will give greater distance potential.
Expect to see the Fusion arriving at retail from 30th September, for further information visit www.callawaygolf.com.
Callaway Big Bertha Fusion Driver
Lofts: 9°, 10.5°, 13.5° HT
Adjustable hosel: Yes +2/-1°
Stock shaft: UST Recoil or Mitsubishi Diamana Red Board
Exo-Skeleton body and Triaxial crown
Callaway’s engineers have created a 54.9g aerospace-grade titanium EXO-CAGE frame to offer strength where it’s needed most and in the process remove inefficient weight from around the body. By combining the Triaxial carbon crown (which weighs just 10.5g) and sole sections, 34g of weight is freed up which is relocated around the perimeter and as far from the face as possible, to boost MOI.
Callaway say the the Fusion’s new Triaxial carbon material has allowed them to break away from the aerodynamic, sound and weighting trade-offs associated with normal driver head shapes. So a new blunt back head creates not only an appealing look at address, but also improves acoustics and is aerodynamically faster too.
You only need to look at Callaway’s last couple of driver launches to see how much emphasis they put on aerodynamics. The Fusion uses a speed step in the crown which was developed with aircraft giants Boeing to maximise the drivers through the air performance. Which ensures you deliver maximum club speed to every drive.
New shorter 44.5” shaft length
Yes you read it right, as standard the Fusion comes in two shaft lengths, but we hear Callaway are actively promoting going shorter as they believe it can bring a serious hike in fairway finding performance. You’ll have a choice of either UST’s first ever Recoil driver shaft which is designed to load and unload more efficiently during the swing or Mitsubishi’s Diamana Red which has a firm mid-section and active tip to make it easier to hit a distance-enhancing draw.
With so many questions over how the new Fusion compares to the original and more current Callaway drivers, we asked Evan Gibbs Director of R&D for Woods at Callaway Golf for some answers.
How different is Big Bertha Fusion to the original Fusion driver? What’s changed to make it different?
The original Fusion was only 350cc so the volume of the new Big Bertha Fusion is significantly larger. It’s a complete evolution of technologies and a much more progressive larger perimeter weighted head (using lightest ever ‘Trixial Carbon’ for super-high MOI), with an Exo-Cage chassis to offer much more stability than previous Fusion models. The ‘R·Moto’ face is also much hotter than the original VFT for our highest ever ball speeds across face.
Why is there more of a titanium chassis on Big Bertha Fusion compared to the original?
The aerospace-grade titanium exo skeleton, called an Exo-Cage, creates a much stiffer structure which helps improve the sound and feel at impact (one of the major challenges of some of the earlier Fusion designs). It's also much stronger which better supports loading at impact which tightens the tolerances for face design.
We can see the heads not conventionally round like a driver what’s the thinking behind the blunt back of the head?
The “triangular” shape of Big Bertha Fusion gives us a higher MOI design versus a traditional head shape, and was a key part in maximising forgiveness. The goal was to try and maximise the linear dimensions (particularly front to back) under the USGA rules, while trying to minimise the weight and keep the driver at 460cc.
How much difference is there between Big Bertha Fusion, original Fusion and last year’s Great Big Bertha driver when it comes to launch, ball speed, back spin and carry distance?
The Big Bertha Fusion will tend to launch the ball higher with less spin than previous models, which will improve carry distance. Furthermore, the higher MOI and deeper centre of gravity, along with the latest generation of 'R·Moto' face technology, will provide higher average ball speeds and improve the consistency of a player’s overall launch conditions. Exact performance comparisons are dependent on how the product is set up for a specific player, as Big Bertha Fusion has the ability to be customised to suit a wide range of players (8° up to 15.5° loft).
There’s Fusion fairways too…
No top driver launch is complete if not accompanied by a matching fairway wood. So Callaway have pulled out all the stops on a new Big Bertha Fusion fairway too. Just like the driver the Fusion fairway thanks to its multi-material construction can boast of super forgiveness. Callaway reckon the fairway’s Triaxial carbon crown weighs in at just 5.8g, which sounds incredibly lightweight and means its 78% lighter than a steel alternative. All this weight saving means more weight to position low and deep to maximise MOI and forgiveness when shots don’t hit the centre of the face. Callaway reckon the heads blunted back means more weight is positioned around the perimeter and further from the face compared to other fairway woods which means higher launch is teamed with extra forgiveness. Not content with all that ball speed retaining tech Callaway have also included a Hyper Speed Face Cup to help shots fly further when you don’t hit the centre of the face.
Callaway Big Bertha Fusion Fairway
Lofts: 3 / 15°, 5 / 18°, 7 / 21°
Adjustable hosel: No
Stock shaft: UST Recoil or Mitsubishi Diamana Red Board