There has been a great amount of buzz surrounding the Callaway Great Big Bertha Epic line of drivers. Much of this has to do with Callaway touting their breakthrough “Jailbreak Technology” as a game changer in driver performance. There are two models in this line, the Standard Great Big Bertha Epic, and the Great Big Bertha Epic Subzero. Both Clubheads feature Jailbreak Technology as well as Exo Cage Construction, which allows Callaway to incorporate more Carbon Fiber into the design of the clubhead. This allows for weight to be redistributed to different areas of the clubhead in order to boost performance.
Standard Great Big Bertha Epic
The standard Great Big Bertha Epic driver features a sliding track movable weight system which can be used to alter ball flight. The sliding track is similar in design to what was offered in Great Big Bertha from 2015 with a few slight differences. The weight in the track has been increased from 10 grams in the previous version, to 17 grams in the new version. The weight being heavier will increase the effect it has on the ball flight, allowing for more correction for people who tend to miss left or right. The placement of the track has been changed as well. The 2015 version had the track positioned more in the heel compared to the new Epic, and it was great for golfers who missed to the right. The problem was that there really was not a setting that worked well for golfers whose miss was to the left. The placement of the track in the new Epic driver is more neutral, with equal heel and toe settings. This allows for similar heel settings to create the same draw biased ball flight from the previous model, while also providing an option for a toe setting that will create a fade biased ball flight. A heavier weight in the track, along with repositioning the track will help the new Epic Driver fit a wider range of golfers. This driver is available in clubheads that have 9, 10.5, and 13.5 degrees of loft. All utilize Callaway’s optifit hosel, which has different loft settings ranging from -1 to +2, along with a neutral and draw lie angle setting. Combined there are 8 different OptiFit settings to help further dial the player in. This driver retails at $499.99 with many no upcharge shaft options.
Great Big Bertha Epic Subzero
The Epic Subzero Clubhead also features movable weight to help alter the ball flight. Instead of using the weight to alter the ball flight left and right, however, the Subzero has two weight ports, one in the front and one in the back, which can be used to raise or lower the ball flight. The driver comes with a 12 gram weight and a 2 gram weight, and the placement of the heavier weight will dictate what type of ball flight the driver will produce. The heavy weight in the front will shift the center of gravity forward in the club head, which should give the player a lower spinning ball flight. This option is great for players who hit the ball high with too much spin. The heavy weight in the back will shift the center of gravity back in the clubhead, boosting forgiveness and providing a higher ball flight. Players who need more spin or a higher trajectory will benefit from this setting. This driver is available in both a 9 and 10.5 degree clubhead, with the same OptiFit hosel that is in the standard Epic head. This driver also retails at $499.99 with all the same no upcharge shaft options.
With all the technology and movable weight that is available in both of these drivers, we were curious to see just how much of an effect it can have on the ball flight. To find out, I took both drivers out to the Cluboratory and documented the results using the Trackman 4 launch monitor. I hit the standard 9 degree Epic Clubhead in the N/S OptiFit Hosel Setting with the weight all the way in the heel (draw), right in the middle of the track (neutral), and all the way in the toe (fade). For the Subzero clubhead I hit the 10.5 degree clubhead in the -1/N setting, with the 12 gram weight positioned in both the back and front of the clubhead. The main reason for using the higher loft in the subzero was that the 9 degree clubhead was not enough loft for me to produce optimal launch conditions. I used the Matrix Black Tie 75m4 X Flex shaft for this test, as it provided the best results in these two clubheads for me. The results are below:
|Setting||Club Speed||Ball Speed||Launch Angle||Spin Rate||Carry||Total||Launch Direction||Spin Axis|
Results – Standard Epic
Let’s start with the standard Epic clubhead. I think the results definitely show how much the weight has an effect on the flight of the ball. In the most extreme heel setting, I averaged a spin axis of -15.2 degrees which is a large amount of curve to the left. When compared to the -6.5 spin axis from the neutral setting, and the 0.3 spin axis from the fade setting I think we can see the weight really showing what it can do. The neutral weight changed that large draw bordering on a hook, into a gentle draw with a spin axis of -6.5. This spin axis should curve around 10-15 yards, which is much more playable. Going to the fade setting, my average spin axis was 0.3, or essentially a straight ball that might fall slightly to the right. The draw setting produced the lowest launch and spin for me in this test, and I attribute that to the fact that I was hitting a big draw with this setting. A draw ball flight will generally spin less than a fade will, and that held true here. For me I gained 10 yards in carry distance as well as having a much straighter ball flight just from finding the right weight setting. I think this shows how important it is to make sure that you are properly fit for this driver, as something as simple as having the weight set properly for your swing can help you gain distance and accuracy.
Results – Epic Subzero
As for the Subzero, again there was a definite difference between the two weight settings. The back setting gave me a higher ball flight, and this was due to the higher spin rate it produced. The spin rate in the back setting was 457 rpms higher than the front setting, which is a fairly large difference. For golfers who tend to hit the ball fairly straight or who need help with spin reduction, the forward weight setting is definitely something for them to try. For golfers who might need help hitting the ball higher, or who want added stability, the back setting is a great option. Again, the importance of finding a qualified fitter to make sure this driver is setup properly for you cannot be overstated.
Both of the new releases from Callaway for the 2017 season are among the best performing drivers on the market. With both offerings they can cater to a wide range of players, from someone who struggles with a ball flight that curves too much to the left or right, to a player who needs help either hitting the tee shots a little higher or lower. These drivers provide a great amount of adjustability, which can be used to dial the club into the proper settings for the player gaining them distance and consistency. Here at Miles of Golf, we have both of these drivers available to fit in the Cluboratory along with an extensive selection of custom shafts. Most importantly, we have highly qualified fitters on staff who can help dial this driver in to your specific needs.