Callaway Great Big Bertha Epic Driver Review
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Way back in 1991 Callaway introduced the Big Bertha driver. Inspired by the behemoth wartime German howitzer of the same name, it set a new standard in driver engineering and size, sporting a radical 190cc head and stainless-steel construction. Subsequent evolutionary changes in technology heralded the arrival of the Big Bertha Alpha driver in 2014, which introduced Callaway’s notion that connecting the crown to the sole would mean stiffening the body of the head, as it were, which favorably altered the way the face behaved when it struck the ball.
It’s not surprising then that the 2017 Great Big Bertha Epic pushes on with this approach maintaining that it’s patent-pending Jailbreak technology and triaxial carbon composition will enable any player to hit the ball harder, further, and with more authority than ever before. In this Callaway Great Big Bertha Epic driver review we’ll dig down deep into the features of the legendary driver. Come along for the ride!
In a hurry?
The following features are some of the legendary technologies that have been developed for the driver. After reading this it will be easy to understand why it’s called Epic and why so many golfers love the club.
Callaway’s Jailbreak technology induces more speed across a greater area of the face of the GBB Epic by changing the way the head and face react on strike. It works through a pair of lightweight parallel titanium struts positioned behind the face that connects the crown and the sole.
The idea is that this provides a rigidity that reduces the simultaneous deformation of the face, crown, and sole when the ball is struck. This, along with the Epic’s thinner and more flexible face, alters the response of the head, resulting in better energy transfer, increased ball speed, and longer carry distance.
Despite its heavyweight name, the Great Big Bertha Epic boasts the lightest crown of any of the drivers in the Callaway range. Weighing in just shy of 10 grams, it’s made from triaxial carbon with the body, or Exo-Cage, of the club head constructed from aerospace grade titanium. This combination of materials yields a significant reduction in mass despite the Epic’s huge 460 cc's.
Callaway’s Adjustable Perimeter Weighting (APW) has been rethought for the Epic and it’s sliding rack is now sited lower on the sole than on the previous Big Bertha model to further reduce the Center of Gravity (CG).
Now shorter, the track allows variable positioning of a heavier 17-gram weight to provide maximum forgiveness, through no less than 21 yards of shot shaping corrections, allowing players to adjust the club settings to suit their swing. The APW offers a fairly significant increase in accuracy and distance and provides a humdinger of a ballistic MOI response which makes huge fairway shots a thing of ease.
The Speed Step technology used in the Epic was created to provide improved aerodynamics through the shot. Callaway have worked with aerospace boffins from Boeing to devise a method of improving airflow over the head at no cost of effort to the golfer, resulting in an increased head speed.
The real power and benefit comes from the way these multiple technologies combine to give you extreme confidence at the tee, great power and forgiveness resulting in consistent accuracy with great distance.
There’s no doubting the Great Big Bertha Epic is indeed a big club that looks like it means business. But there’s a sleek sophistication to the hulking 460cc head, with its high gloss and part woven-carbon pattern finish, that make it quite easy on the eye.
The dual Callaway chevrons and the Boeing inspired face-centre indicator on the crown are great visual cues and certainly inspire confidence at address. Turning the club upside down reveals the familiar angular design motif, this time employing a striking combination of black, silver, and shamrock green, inlaid with the woven-carbon look carried over from the crown.
Feel and Sound
Callaway designers have particularly concentrated on engineering not only good looks but also sonic quality in the Epic. Ball strike is marked by a somewhat muted, though lusty thud and one gets a sense that there is far more substance behind the shot than the Epic’s lightweight chassis would imply.
Gone is the tinny feedback from the likes of Callaway's XR driver, this has a strong feel and ball connection is hugely positive regardless of where on the face the point of impact is. The Jailbreak technology certainly plays a role in reducing any trampolining effect and the solid impact is discernible through the hands.
Even with common mishits, the Epic offers solid performance and it’s features make it one of the most forgiving tour level drivers on the market which should prove to be popular with a wide range of golfers.
The low set CG and high MOI reduce spin and increase launch angle resulting in increased ball speed and distance; hitting consistent, long-range shots is a breeze. As long as you’re dialed in for accuracy, the generous nature of the Epic still sends slightly off-centre shots packing and feels more solid than any other Callaway driver - after all, they are confident enough to state this club affords epic distance for every player.
The Epic is available with four high-quality stock options to choose from according to weight preference. The Mitsubishi Diamana in 40 grams, the Diamana or a Project X HZRDUS in 50 grams, the Fujikura Pro in 60 grams, and the Aldila Rogue Max in 60 and 70 grams. This impressive range of shafts, when paired with the Optifit hosel offering 8-way adjustability for loft and lie angle, provide loads of ways to enhance the Epic for your particular game.
One has to wonder how much further golfing advances can be pushed, particularly in drivers. The Callaway Big Bertha Epic with its Jailbreak and Speed Swing technologies may appear gimmicky, however, there is definite substance to the claims that these progressive devices are indeed game-improving features.
This is a great driver that outperforms its competition and has a rich heritage that makes it the choice of professional and amateur alike. Perhaps that’s why it’s just as at home in the bag of the beginner as it is the scratch player.