Callaway Big Bertha Alpha 816 Fairway Wood Review

It wasn’t all that long ago when fairway woods were viewed as just an extension of a company’s driver line.  Over the last few years we have seen that change with more technology getting poured into this category. Callaway has been one of the companies at the forefront of this transformation and that continues on with the release of the Callaway Big Bertha Alpha 816 Fairway Wood.

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From Callaway:

The Big Bertha Alpha 816 Fairway Woods are made with better players in mind. This is our most advanced fairway wood, and everything from the Cup Face technology to the Tour preferred CG positions is engineered to bring out the highest performance in your game. If you’re a good golfer, you’re going to love all the distance and shot-shaping control these clubs have to offer.

Features & Benefits

High Ball Speed From Cup Face Technology

Good players already generate high ball speeds, and the Forged Hyper Speed Face Cup will generate ball speed on center and off-center shots with this fairway wood.

Tour Preferred CG (Center of Gravity) Positions

Move the adjustable weights (3g and 16g) for the ball flight you want to play. When you want to lower spin put the weight forward, and when the weight is back you’ll have more forgiveness with higher launch. It can be a long option off the tee or a more playable club on approach shots – it all depends on how you want to use it.

Modern Shaping and Sole Design

A slightly larger head provides more MOI than you would expect out of an elite player’s fairway wood. The sole design provides control from a variety of lies.  The matte black finish provides an uncluttered look at address.

OptiFit Adjustability

Tune the fairway wood to the settings you want to play with our 8-way adjustability. You can add loft, take loft off, or adjust the lie angle to fit your swing.

Aesthetics

Recently, we have seen clubs come to retail with all sorts of color options. The Big Bertha 816 Alpha Fairway Wood comes with a no-frills, matte-black finish. Callaway (first) added the matte-black finish on their XR line and has carried it over to the 816 Alpha. Matte-black finishes are often hit or miss for consumers, but it’s hard to argue how nice it looks on this particular fairway wood. Looking at the crown you will also notice that there is no alignment aide, which is often a preference of the golfer this club is geared towards.

The sole design offers a mixture between matte and glossy black with silver weights highlight the variety of CG positions available. The sole having a slightly rounded shape allows for this fairway wood to be played from almost any lie you will encounter while out on the course.

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Fitting and Performance

Combining Callaway’s OptiFit adjustable hosel and the two adjustable weights in the sole of the club, the 816 can be optimized for performance quite easily. While the stock loft options are 14°,16°, and 18°, Callaway’s OptiFit adjustability allows you to loft down 1 degree or up 2 degrees. Once you have your loft setting established, the two adjustable weights offer one more level of customization. Moving the 16 gram weight in the front will give you a low and forward center of gravity, while placing it in the back will give you a higher Moment of Inertia (MOI) design. Using these adjustments allows you to fully personalize the 816 to find the best performing club for your game.  As mentioned before, having the weight in the back position and loft at 16 degrees, this club packs the highest MOI of any current fairway wood in Callaway’s lineup. Ball speed data backs up the fact that the 816 offers both fast ball speeds and retains those ball speeds on contact made outside of the sweet spot.

On the course consistent results from the Big Bertha Alpha 816 Fairway Wood were found during testing. One thing that immediately stood out was the ball flight. With the weight in the back the expectation was to see a high ball flight, but what was found was a more boring trajectory.  The trajectory off the tee was generally higher than off the deck, which is often the case due to the ball being above the center of gravity at impact.  With the 16g weight pushed to the forward position the ball flight may have lowered slightly, although you might be hard pressed to notice that with the naked eye. While there wasn’t a noticeable difference in flight, the feeling with the weight in the front gave a stronger sensation when making contact with the ball.

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Shaft Pairing

The stock shaft option for the Big Bertha 816 Alpha Fairway Wood is the Aldila Rogue RIP I/O 70. Aldila has taken last year’s very popular rogue shaft and added their RIP technology to reinforce the tip section. Paired with this club head it certainly produces a nice penetrating ball flight that fits well with this driver. Topping off the look of the shaft is the Callaway Golf Pride Multi-Compound grip that has the platinum upper half with a black lower. Between the shaft and the grip, this club combination just screams premium to those looking for their next fairway wood.

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Parting Thoughts

Callaway continues to provide products that fit a large variety of golfers. While this club may appear to be designed for the advanced golfer, testing has showed that using a variety of setups allows this club to work well for all skill levels. With the weight in the back portion of the club, it packs a high MOI design into a nice sleek package. For those who enjoyed the moveable weights in last year’s 815 Fairway Wood, but yearned for something a little friendlier on misses, this will certainly fit that bill and more. The Big Bertha Alpha 816 will be available in stores on September 18th with a price tag of $299.99.

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Dean DeCrescenzo
Dean DeCrescenzo is a THP staff writer that currently resides in upstate New York. He has been a member of The Hackers Paradise for over 7 years and been involved with a number of THP events.
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