Lamkin Grips

Callaway Big Bertha Diablo Review

| February 13, 2009 | 47 Comments

When people think of Callaway most of the time, one name pops into their head. The BIG BERTHA. In 1991 Callaway created the “Big Bertha” Driver, an oversized driver named for the huge gun used by the Germans during World War I to drop shells on Paris from six miles away. The principle behind Callaway’s creation of the metal wood driver was that it put more weight around the perimeter of the head of the club, resulting in a thinner face. According to Callaway, this gave the golfer a greater “feel” at the time of impact with the ball. Moreover, the golfer did not have to hit the ball precisely on the button to obtain directional control and good distance. Soon golfers were swearing by them, and sales surpassed all the other brands of golf clubs made in America.

Fast forward 18 years Callaway is launching their new version of the club called “Big Bertha Diablo”. Over that time the company has released countless versions of the driver that made them famous and many of them were fantastic drivers. For the past few years however the testers at The Hackers Paradise were not thrilled with the Big Bertha releases. This driver for some reason stuck with us as one that we could not wait to try out. Just the name alone makes you think Evil, and the new shape had us extremely excited to give it a whirl. What got us excited about this club was the fact that Big Bertha drivers have always been very “user friendly”. Extremely forgiving off the tee and at a price point that does not make most golfers buckle over. However this year the Big Bertha Diablo adds Hyperbolic Face Technology. If it works anything like it did in the Callaway FT-iq Driver Review than we will all be extremely happy.

Hyperbolic Face Technology increases ball speed across the entire face of the club helping launch the ball further, even when you miss-hit it. The Diablo is available in both Draw and Neutral with the Draw version being 1* closed and the Neutral being .5* open. Callaway was kind enough to send us one to try out and that model was the 9* neutral setup. The shaft that is used in this club is the Big Bertha Diablo DVS From Aldila. While we found it adequate, it would not have been our first choice in such a strong driver. The headcover is well done as well. Very colorful and has a nice pull tab to get it off the driver and out of your golf bag quite easily. Once armed with our Big Bertha Diablo we were eager to try it out on the range and could not wait any longer. The day it arrived, we assembled four testers and headed out to the course.

We each took turns hitting our personal drivers and then hitting the Big Bertha Diablo. The results were automatic and the same for all four of the players. We all loved the overall look of the club. The head shape is not completely traditional but very close and is extremely nice looking to the eyes at setup. The shaft was not really to our overall liking but did not really take away from the testing of the club too much. It just seemed to get the ball up a little fast rather than a penetrating type of trajectory we like to see. The head was HOT!!! What we found with the Diablo was very similar to the FT-iq that we tested a few weeks back. They have extremely hot faces and the ball just flies at impact. Apparently our issues we have had with previous Big Bertha models are behind them because these seem to perform as advertised.

Over the next couple of days we put it into play quite a bit. 7 different golfers used it for a round of golf and all seven reported back the same findings that we had come up with. A really hot face on a driver that gets the ball up in the air extremely fast and flies very straight. This is one of the first drivers we have encountered that on miss-hits does not really lose a ton of distance. Most were pleased. One thing I noticed when using the driver on the course is that the stock grip that comes on it did nothing for me. It was almost slick in our humid FL conditions.

We decided to take the Big Bertha Diablo to a very busy local driving range and bring it to the masses to check out. We were lucky enough to catch them at a very busy time and every area of the range was full. Thankfully THP was able to convince 24 additional players to try out the new Big Bertha Diablo. One by one we marched up and down the range having golfers of all skill levels tee it up with this soon to be released driver. We were a little surprised to find out that many of the high handicap players did not really care for the driver as much as we did. That could be because the setup we had was slightly open but we received quite a few comments calling it a “slice machine”. The better players out there all really liked the club. Surprisingly enough in our minds, it is marketed the exact opposite.

Overall, we really liked the driver. We think that with the proper setup (draw or neutral) it can fit just about any golfer out there. Some of the testers at the range struggled with control, however I had no issue with that at all. Neither did any of the players the first day at the range or the next few days on the course. We would have preferred a different shaft in the club, but that is more about preference than quality. With the MSRP at $299.95 we feel it is a great combination of price and performance. The Callaway Big Bertha Diablo will be available in stores on March 15th, 2009. Give it a try and our feeling is you will not be disappointed.

Till Next Time

Josh B.

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Category: Drivers, Equipment

About the Author ()

Josh is the Publisher of The Hackers Paradise and co-founder of THP Media with his wife Morgan Babbitt. Together they share a passion for golf, and they travel the country along with their two dogs in the THP Tour Van bringing their love and knowledge of the game to golfers everywhere.

Comments (47)

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  1. Paul H says:

    Really good info. I would have thought that this one would have been better for the average player, but your testing shows different. I might have to check this one out.

  2. Dave Schmidt says:

    It seems as though the face changes they have made over at Callaway for this year are working. Good write up. Surprised that the higher handicap players struggled. It could have been the neurtal setup. Love the clean honest reviews though. Thank you.

  3. Mike Turner says:

    I have been waiting to read a few reviews on this one. I have always had an issue with the stock shafts Callaway has chosen, but the good news is the head is back to being at the top of its game. Thanks for the write up.

  4. bogeyme says:

    Great review Josh. I have been waiting to hear about this line since I heard about their release. Upsetting to hear that the higher handicappers had a probelm but like others said it may have been just the neutral setup. I will check these out when they hit store shelves unless I get the chance before then. Thanks again for a great review.

  5. LG says:

    Josh…good review. My buddy is a Callaway rep in Jacksonville and I had been asking him about the driver. He did give me some Diablo balls, which I have played three rounds with and they are surprisingly good with regards to both distance and feel/spin. For those of you who like Callaway, give those balls a try.

  6. Scooter says:

    Excellent review! I’ll be checking it out when it hits stores near me.

  7. The Brain says:

    Exactly what I was looking for. Cannot wait for this one to come out.

  8. Osahar says:

    Great review JB! I’m hoping they will have this at the Demo Day out at Baytree National this Saturday so I can try it out.

  9. RocketSauce says:

    although i only hit a few shots with this club, i really enjoyed the feel of it and would not hesitate to recommend it to anyone

  10. Mike Bizzle says:

    Solid write up. Looking forward to trying this one out.

  11. mark lauri says:

    I am a little shocked by the real world results you guys had here. But that is why I love the reviews because there are real world thoughts.

  12. LefTe says:

    Refreshing to read a review where it’s not based on the writer only. What’s nice is the effort put in to get a good cross section of players of varying skills and abilities. Sure glad I found this site!

  13. AJ says:

    Callaway continues to impress me with their face technology but I don’t think I will get past the head shape of this driver at address, to may sharp angles…seems like it would screw up my alignment. Although they say the face is neutral it does not look so from the pics, but I’ll wait to judge that until I see it in person.

  14. Administrator says:

    AJ,
    We thought so too, however at setup, you do not see any of the sharp angles. And the head is definitely neutral.

  15. Osahar says:

    Just got home from a Demo Day that Callaway was at. I have to say, Admin is right. At address, you don’t notice any strange angles. It looks like a slightly stretched traditional 460cc head. I liked how the ball came off the face of the club. Great distance, and I didn’t have any issues with losing the ball to the right. It just made it’s way onto my short list, as did the FT9 (WOW!).

  16. Scott H says:

    Just tried this demo club at the range today… ordered it right after. I used the 10 degree draw with stiff shaft. It was perfect for my fast swing, and fixed my consistent slice. Added 10-15 yards to my drive. Also tried the TM tour burner and Ping G10- Neither compared to the Diablo.

  17. Thanks for review, i want to buy this hell machine in one online shop. They claim its in store. Should i trust them?

  18. LouBoy says:

    I tried out the Diablo just this past weekend and I must say I was very impressed. I am a high handicap player and I found most of my shots flew straight and true, which is impressive because one might consider me a slice machine.

    The distance was what really got me. Consistently hitting 20-30 yards further on the simulator than with a “standard” driver. And that says a lot because of my slow swing.

  19. Aloha Al says:

    Great review. Curious on the shaft flex and if the ball flight promotes or minimizes the roll after landing.

  20. ham says:

    GREAT REVIEW!!!
    i have a high handicap of 25. when i tried the the club at my local store i found the neutral set-up made my shots slice a fair bit but with the closed faced draw set up i found myself hitting the target line 8 out of 10. the shaft seemed too flexible for my liking as i have a high speed swing. i will be waiting for a stiff shaft to be introduced and then i would definately consider buying this club.

  21. Geckko Man says:

    I purchased this driver after demo-ing it and hitting 12 out of 11 fairways I used it on. That is about 2 or 3 more than my other driver. I LOVE THIS CLUB!!! I got a great incentive to purchase it too– a free Diablo fairway wood with purchase (I took the 3 wood).

    This is a great club. I have played with it 3 times now and it has not let me down. I cannot believe how much better it is than my 10 year old Big Bertha (and that is a great club too!)

  22. Ron says:

    I recently tested this club and was very impressed with the caveat of a stiff shaft. I am a newer golfer with a high HC. The regular flex just felt too soft but once I went with the stiff shaft the club was impressive, Nice balance, good feel and yes, the face is very hot. I am still undecided in whether to go Neutral or Draw. I will be demoing the FT-9 later this week.

  23. Hien Pham says:

    Nice review. I agree with many of the statements. I liked the Diablo too, it is long long long.

  24. Dave H says:

    Great article. Just purchased the Diablo driver yesterday – Neutral set-up, Stiff shaft. I had been using a Cleveland Hi-Bore 10.5 degree purchased 18 months ago and I really loved the feel of that club. I was hitting very straight but very very high drives. So went with an 8 degree Diablo. After a nervous drive on the 1st tee, I couldn’t believe how good this club felt at impact and how far the ball was going. On many holes, I picked up as much as 25 to 30 yards. Admittedly, much of this was attributable to the lower loft. But on 18, I hit one too close to the toe that still travelled at least 20 yards past my typical drive on that hole. Great club. mid handicapper

  25. Roger B says:

    Just bought the Diablo driver 10 degree draw great club only one negative i have found the sole of the club scores very easily infact i have deep scrathes which is disapointing.

  26. Mike Johnson says:

    Just bought the club yesterday (10 deg, Neutral, reg flex). I shoot mid 80s and occasionally creep into the 90s or 70s if it is a really good/bad day.

    Snikies is this club hot! I have been playing a Titleist 907 D1 for the past couple of yrs, and I loved it when I first got it, but my swing had become really screwed up the past 3 months and I had lost all confidence.

    Went to the range with a friend after purchase and fixed my swing within one large bucket of balls (sounds unrealistic, but my setup and grip had become so bad, that I was really able to fix it quickly once I had someone watch my swing shot after and shot and point out what I was doing wrong).

    Once my swing was fixed I started hitting ball after ball straight and long with the Diablo (probably about 20 yds further than the 907). When I went back and hit the 907, it just seemed dead, the lack of bounce off the face was very different from the Diablo. Trajectory with the Diablo was good, med-high and seemed to hang in the air forever. The range I was at had really long grass, so judging roll was impossible. I ams so excited to play tomorrow for the first time with this stick!!

    I’m sure the hackers that didn’t care for it would like it a lot better if they hit the draw model, and I don’t think I read anywhere in the review if it was a reg or stiff shaft, but no club that is 0.5 open, 9 deg, and maybe a stiff shaft would help a slicer!!!!!

    I bought it for 319 (here in Canada) and got a free 3 wood and a free round voucher at a course that is 165 to play!

    Thank you Callaway!

  27. Chris says:

    I bought this club over the weekend, and man do I like it. I must have hit 50 or 60 balls at the store in front of the simulator (testing the G10, R9 and my R5), and this one was by far the best. I’m a high-handicapper (typically shoot around 110), and I am a slice machine. The draw version of this club fixed my slice for the most part, but I have to admit that about half the time on the course I still sliced the ball. However, it didn’t slice as bad as my R5 used to, and all but one of my sliced drives was findable.

    I also got a 5-wood for $1 with this driver, and I was amazed. At the simulator, I was hitting the Callaway 5-wood as far as my R5 driver, and the Diablo driver 25 yards further than that. To say I was shocked is an understatement.

    Despite still slicing about half the time on the course (which I’m sure is due to my poor set-up and swing), I think this is a great club and would recommend it to anyone.

  28. peter mac says:

    i was really impressed by the diablo’s ease of use.i play off an 8 handicap,and chose the neutral 9 degree driver.my friends however are both high handicappers and therefore chose the 11 degree draw version.i have never known a driver to give them such confidence,once upon a time i was reguarly 50/60 yards longer than them off the tee.now even when they seem to misshit their drives,they dont seem to be that far behind me.the draw face seems to have levelled out the slice they both had,and occassionally they even hit a high hanging draw the way it should be hit.all in all i think the diablo is a great club for all levels of golfer,and especially the draw version,as i can honestly say it really does work,and does improve the higher handicappers game.well worth a try at your local range.

  29. Rafael Eduardo says:

    No wonder the pros are flying the ball 300 yards. If I were making the rules for Professionals I would outlaw thsese incredible tools. I was about a 6 handicap when I left the game back in ’95–started a family etc…I played 9 holes every year (once per year) or so since–virtually a non-player. I have the same equipment I used back in the early 90s. So, I ordered this Diablo because this summer I decided to get my kids into golf and I wanted to fit in when I was showing my kids how to hit the ball–everybody else seems to have these monsters that completely shocked me in both sound and presence. Bottom line, when I first took the Diablo to the range I could NOT mishit the club. It is night and day and there is no way I can ever go back to my original Big Bertha from ’93–which looks like an undersized peanut in comparison. I don’t know if I’ve gained much more than 10-15 yards when I hit it completely solid–but on the miss hits it is incredible. I played 13 holes last week with my kids–I don’t think I missed a fairway and I’ve been away from the game for more than a decade. I’m sure other large clubs like Taylormade etc. are just as impressive–but the price of this club is very low IMO–in fact I paid $50 less than what I paid for my original BBertha.

  30. Bjarni Jonasson, Iceland says:

    I played 2 rounds of golf in Greensboro, NC last weekend. Didn´t have my clubs with me, so I had to grab some rentals, including Diablo neutral with regular shaft. I thought I was just having two of those good driving days, hitting it long and straight. However, when I came back home and started playing with my old 460X I almost cried. Guess what? My old, high and week fade was back on the menu. Unfortunately I have to go out shopping.

    Greetings from Iceland, Bjarni

  31. Zambezi says:

    I bought the 10*, neutral with regular shaft. What a great club. I highly recomend it

  32. UpAndComer says:

    I am a 23-year old who has been playing seriously for around 4 months. Being as though golf has become my sole hobby over the last few months, I’ve been able to get my scores down pretty quickly from the high 90s to the mid 80s. Now, I’m about a 12-15 handicap whereas when I started I was probably a 30+.

    When I began my search for a new Driver, I had assembled pretty much all of what I wanted in my bag to go along with my new hobby. I play the new forged Victory Red Irons from Nike and if I weren’t having such outstanding luck with those clubs, I may have very well stuck with my old Driver but on the notion that my new irons were really making my driving look sub-par, I began looking around for a new driver to help inspire me.

    My search ended with a Callaway Diablo Draw. The model I selected had a 9-degree face with a stiff Aldila shaft. For the record, my previous driver was a ($35) Dunlop Loco Pro with a 10-degree face and a senior-flex shaft. Not too much to brag about!

    Not only does this new Callaway Diablo driver fit my swing speed much better with the stiff shaft as compared to my old senior flex shaft but I can honestly say this new club has improved virtually everything about my driving. Furthermore, I’m now using wedges to reach greens on approach shots where I was previously using mid and long irons.

    I think I’ve found the best new reason to believe I’ll break 80 sometime soon!

    Like many high-handicap golfers, I’ve always struggled with a slice with my driver. I’ve been able to minimize it in recent times to the point that its a play-able fade (even advantages on dog-legs right) with various techniques but I’ve never solved it completely. With the Diablo Draw (as well as a couple recent, CRUCIAL breakthroughs in my swing which shouldn’t be downplayed at all!) I’m now able to hit a drive 250+ yards down the middle of the fairway on a regular basis.

    Furthermore, with my new swing and this new driver, I’m also able to move the straight drive right or left substantially with a fade or draw!

    Having added at least 30-yards (and sometimes more!) to my drives and the ability to keep the ball completely straight, I’m 100% sold on this new driver. I highly recommend this club to anyone looking at these.

    On a similar note, let the scratch guys play what they want and say what they want if they need to. There’s no difference between me hitting a ball 275 down the middle with this club and them hitting 275 down the middle with theirs. End of story.

    Anybody who has the time to talk down about these drivers without playing one obviously doesn’t have the confidence in themselves with their current driver to simply go and outperform one.

  33. Keong says:

    I am 5’8″ and weigh 200 lbs. My handicap varies from 10 to 13 and my avaerage swing speed is 100 mph.

    I have used a custom fitted Tom Wishon driver 525 GRT 9.5 degrees for about 2 years with a 45.5 inches Adila NVS R-flex shaft. The swing weight of the club was D2. My drives with this driver averages 240 yds and I seldom sprayed the ball with it.

    I bought the Diablo neutral driver a month ago. It has SR-flex and 45 inches shaft. At the driving range, I found my drives with the Diablo slicing badly. The club face had looked closed at address and I had opened it a litle bit. I then tried to compensate and squared the club using the shaft as a guide. This cured my slice somewhat but it was still there.

    It was difficult to compare the drive distances between the Tom Wishon and Diablo drivers because with the former, my drives remained reasonably straight while with the later, most of my drives sliced to the right.

    My club fitter found that the SR-flex shaft of the Diablo was much whippier than the R-flex Adila NVS shaft. The swing weight of the Diablo was measured at C9. He fitted a 45.5 inches Adila NVS shaft to the Diablo with a swing weight of D2.

    Now, with the Tom Wishon and Diablo driver heads fitted with the same shaft and with the same shaft lengths and with the same swing weight, I could compare apple to apple.

    At the range, my slices with the Diablo was gone although I needed about 10 drives to get used to how to square the club face because of the opital illusion that made the club face looks closed at address.

    My drives with the Diablo averages 270 yds.

    I have kept my Tom Wishon driver as spare.

    My findings are that the Diablo driver club head is great but Callaway needs to look at its weight and also the shaft that comes with it.

    I recommend a properly tuned Diablo to anyone who wishes to get more distance.

  34. Ryan says:

    I have had the Diablo Driver Draw Stiff Shaft for a little while now. I also purchased the 5 wood neutral stiff must say love the 5 wood but not thrilled with the driver. For a consistant long drive I don’t think anything beats the Taylor Made R7 Superquad.

  35. Bobby BS says:

    For years now with the release of every new driver people say “i’m 15-20 yards longer now!”. So if you’ve been buying a new driver every year for the last 10 years, and it has the NEW Liquid Magma photon enforced uranium coated blast plates, how far are you hitting the ball now? 500 yards?

    “I have a terrible swing and always slice the shit out of the ball. Thanks to your club I don’t have to worry about correcting my swing! It flies straight and long! 15 yards longer than the driver I bought last year! I started out hitting the ball 220 yards and now I am up to 375 yards thanks to driver technology!”

  36. Mike M. says:

    Of course the high handicappers who demoed it called it a “slice machine” – how many high handicappers can effectively hit a driver with 9 degrees of loft, a face that’s .5 degrees open, and with a stiff shaft? Ever occur to you guys to let the high cappers test the draw version with 10 or 11 degrees of loft and a regular flex shaft? They might not be calling it a “slice machine” then. Given that Callaway is marketing this stick to such players, wouldn’t that have made more sense?

  37. ELOH says:

    I have an extremely high handicap. This is the first driver I have ever purchased. I bought it last summer (09) and I started playing golf that spring. Never swung a driver before that in my life and to date I have never had an official lesson just tons of people giving me pointers on how to swing and a Golf For Dummies Video. Of course I had my share of slicing, topping, clear missing, and every other bad thing but that was due to my inexperience. 7 months of learning golf later I am hitting this club straight and far most of the time, and my swing is still far from perfect. I feel that it made learning a lot easier than other clubs, save the Taylormade Burner which was also great. Aside from still not taking any lessons, the only mistake I think I have made is getting a stiff shaft…i naturally attempt to swing at the ball fast (90+) but I am way more accurate, at my current level of play, with a slower swing (75-85). I could be getting more yards right now with a slower and more accurate swing if the shaft was regular. My logic at the time of purchase was I’ll just grow into it. Either way I think this club is awesome and I will have it for a very long time. Can’t wait to see the performance after I get professional lessons.

    Callaway Big Bertha Diablo 10 degree Stiff

  38. Filipe says:

    I rented clubs recently at The Palmer Course At La Cantera (San Antonio). They had the Diablo waiting for me in the bag. I liked the club so much that I went to the store immediately to buy it. I have longer straighter drives now, thanks to the Diablo. I picked up the 9° neutral, with stiff shaft.

  39. TANDAL says:

    I RECENTLY BOUGHT A DIABLO AND LET ME TELL YOU , I LOVE THIS DRIVER…… BEST ONE I GOT YET…..I HAVE LONGER AND STRAIGHTER DRIVES NOW. I GOT THE 9 DEGREE LOFT….

  40. james gibbs says:

    i am a young player and i have just bought this driver. i tried it out on the range and i LOVED it!! it was amazing. no problem everytime was straight and a good height.Really pleased with it at the moment and can’t wait to do a round tomorrow!

  41. Tony ZZZZ says:

    I have been demoing drivers for a couple weeks now without finding the club I liked better than my Titleist 905S. This past weekend I hit the Diablo. It felt solid and consistently straight but the ball flight was very high with the regular shaft. But the club seemed to have promise. Well this week I found out our clib pro was hitting the Diablo 10.5 with a Diamona whiteboard X. He gave it to me to try on the range and wow did it respond to my swings. Play three rounds with it and it has not let me down. My fairway hits are way up and my misses still in play. Now I have to try and talk him out of the club.

  42. Dick says:

    Bearing in mind that your domain name, why did Callaway send you a 9º model to test?

  43. Administrator says:

    Dick,
    The domain name is a rub on words. Its there to bring all types of golfers. Our testers range from teaching professionals and scratch golfers to high handicaps. Check out our driver shoot outs for more info.

  44. Sgt Stress says:

    After an eleven year layoff from playing the game we all love. My new brothers-in-law and stepson talked me into getting back on the course. Playing eighteen holes after so long away from the game was a total disaster for me. I sliced every drive either OB or near OB. Irons weren’t much better. Still have a pretty sweet touch with the putter however. Thank God!

    I purchased a new complete set of Tommy Armour clubs from the local sporting goods store. Budget priced, but very good clubs. Except for the driver. Beautiful to look at, but not so nice to hit. My distance was disappointing and the same nasty slice I experienced before was still there. In steps the Callaway Big Bertha Diablo Draw driver.

    My first day at the range with the Diablo was shocking! Long and straight. Those words describe the entire bucket of balls that I got crank down the range. Could a club make that much of a difference in how I hit the ball???? You bet! In the following three rounds of course play with the Big Bertha Diablo, I have stayed in the fairway consistently and have driven longer than ever before. I’m not one to fall victim to the hype generally. But Callaway has made me a believer!

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