Pulled the trigger on a Callaway Big Bertha Alpha 815 driver

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Scott Rushing
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Pulled the trigger on a Callaway Big Bertha Alpha 815 driver

Found one used at Globalgolf and with their discounts and some rewards I had, got a pretty cheap price for it.  Got the 10.5 degree loft which can go as high as 12.5 I think (everything I read said you could increase it 2 degrees or down 1).  I'm wanting to play with that 11.5 to 12.5 degree range and see how it goes.  I chose one with the Mitsubishi shaft which has a mid launch trajectory.  I am thinking I will probably reshaft it with a good quality aftermarket shaft once I hit it a few times.  Want to see if I can get into the simulator and see what my spin rates and launch angles are. Would love to play around with different shaft options since i think Callaways still using the same shaft connector, maybe I can get the guys to let me test out some options.  

Looking at my old Flightscope data from the fitting last year, admittedly not my best swinging day, my spin rates were high.  So I might try and get a Aldila RIP Phenom low spin - mid launch shaft and try that in the Callaway head.  I see those on ebay for about $80...We'll see...

scomac
scomac's picture
More loft equals more spin.

More loft equals more spin.  If you are suffering from too much spin in your driver adding loft isn't going to help, mind you a different head will have different numbers than what you were measured with last year.

I was very fortunate that I found an OTR driver that delivered really good launch parameters for my swing.  I play 11.5° loft, but my spin numbers are more like 2400 with 15° launch which is pretty much ideal at my swing speed of 88 mph.  The newer designs with forward CG don't work at all for me, so I haven't even bothered to look at drivers in the past two years.

Good luck with your new club Scott and have fun getting it dialed in!  yes

cac
cac's picture
Im a bit confused :-( 

Im a bit confused :-( 

Looking at charts with swing speeds, aoa and carry distances etc I have decided that I have a low aoa. Can I increase my aoa by increasing loft? If I increase loft I increase spin if I increase aoa I lower my spin?

Or do I have to increase my aoa by other means than loft?

My SS is about 85mph and a good drive is about 190yd carry bit of roll = 210yd drive. Looks like my aoa is about -5. Don't know about spin. Cac

cac handed Geordie.

DON
CAC;  your aoa has nothing to

CAC;  your aoa has nothing to do with the loft of the club, it has to do with How you swing the club coming into impact, -5 degrees means you are hitting DOWN on the ball 5 degrees at impact. You want to change that angle to a Positive number by changing how you swing the club, You want to swing UP at the ball with the driver a few degrees, like 3 to 5 degrees. That will Increase your launch angle and Reduce your spin number so you get More carry with the driver. IF you can learn to swing UP at the ball with your driver and fairway woods, you can increase you launch angle, lower your Back spin rates, and increase your carry yardage. Going from a 2 degree Downward angle of attack to a 3 degree Upward one can increase your carry a good 20-35 yards depending on your swing speed, and the resulting ball speed.

First step to learn to hit UP on the ball with a driver is to Tee the Ball higher, so you Have to swing up at the ball or you hit Sky Balls all day. It can take a bit of work to figure it out but it's well worth it to learn to hit UP and not down with the woods. It might be a GOOD idea to TAPE UP to crown of your driver when you start trying to hit up on the ball, as you most likely will hit a bunch of Sky Balls at the beginning. Once you get the hang of it, you can remove the tape.

Don

Putting is easy if you have the Right Putter.

cac
cac's picture
Sounds simple. Is there a

Sounds simple. Is there a drill? How do I know I'm hitting  up on it ? I seem to hit it pretty well and it goes up in the air at not to bad a tradgectory. I just don't hit it a mile. Cac

cac handed Geordie.

cac
cac's picture
Sounds simple. Is there a

Sounds simple. Is there a drill? How do I know I'm hitting  up on it ? I seem to hit it pretty well and it goes up in the air at not to bad a tradgectory. I just don't hit it a mile. Cac

cac handed Geordie.

Scott Rushing
Scott Rushing's picture
Thansk Sco....

Thansk Sco....

Maybe I'm confusing launch angle and lofts for the driver.  So if adding loft also adds spin, then to increase the launch angle, without changing your swing, you'd need a higher launch shaft? 

The BB Alpha is supposed to be a lower spin head from what I've read.  So that with a higher trajectory shaft could help me achieve a higher ball flight without adding spin?

 

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Scott Rushing
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Hit a few balls at the range with the new driver today...

Still struggling for consistnecy with my iron swing.  Thinking too much during the swing as I try to groove the right moves.  When I can do it, it's a nice pure shot.  When I get too much in my head, it's bad. 

But on to the driver.  So I hit my driver 3-5 times until i fel tlike I was pretty consistent.  Then grabbed the Big Bertha.  It felt noticeably different, maybe stiffer, maybe its the swing weight.  Anyway, first couple shots were not good.   I hit about 5 more, 2 of which were really good.  Carry might be 5 yards longer but not a huge difference.    I need to measure the swing speeds and see what the numbers are between the two.  I didn't get to play with the settings on the driver at all because 1) I didn't want to take that much time and 2) I didn't have the tool.  Tool comes tomorrow as the Cobra tool I have is too little to adjust the Callawy head.

So we'll see.  Keeping the old Driver in the bag for now until I get some more chance to practice with the new one. 

 

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scomac
scomac's picture
Scott; I haven't really spent

Scott; I haven't really spent any time playing around with the new adjustable drivers so I'm not sure what needs to change beyond what can be gleaned from the various club test videos out there from the likes of Rick Shiels and Mark Crossfield.  With those fellows shaft doesn't seem to make as much difference as the head and the weighting in the head.  Moving the weight and hence center of gravity forward reduces spin without changing loft or affecting launch, but you have to have the swing speed to pull it off as well as the positive angle of attack.  I don't ever recall seeing these guys change loft much, but they should know roughly how to spec a club to get the numbers they desire.

Unless you're leaving a lot on the table, I believe that much of this is just a splitting of hairs desinged to sell clubs.  Incremental gains maybe justifiable on the pro tours with the amount of money involved, but for the average recreational player it's just going to be bragging rights.  I doubt it will even have an impact on score.  Easier to hit irons that result in more GIR and anything that helps around or on the green is going to save you far more strokes than 5-10 yards extra with the driver assuming you hit your current driver well and predominantly in the fairway.

DON
So if adding loft also adds spin, then to increase the launch an

So if adding loft also adds spin, then to increase the launch angle, without changing your swing, you'd need a higher launch shaft? 

 
A higher launch shaft could be what you want. I know that when UST came out with the AXIS shaft after the succuss of the V2 shaft, the first model they built gave a higher launch angle than the V2 by about 2 degrees. So they went back and changed the design a little to get one with the same launch angle as the V2 and then they made a third design that launched a degree lower than the V2. So different kick points in the shaft can make a pretty good size difference in lauch angle for a driver.
 
You mention that you do NOT want to change your swing, so that's would leave out trying to hit UP on the ball a degree or two more than you do now. The nice thing about hitting UP on the ball with the driver is that you Reduce backspin and Increase launch angle at the same time, which results in more carry yardage, with NO other changes.
 

 

Don

Putting is easy if you have the Right Putter.

DON
Sounds simple. Is there a drill?

The way I learned to hit UP on the ball with my driver was to get some 4" tees and tee the ball UP as high as I could. Then I taped up the leading edge of the crown of my driver to prevent and Air Ball marks, and just started to hit balls off the higher tee. One thing you might find helpfull is to set the drive down on the ground about 6 inches "Behind" the ball. This will cause the club to go "Past" the bottom of your swing arc, so it's coming back UP by the time the head gets to the ball. You might also try moving the ball an inch or two to the left at adress so the club head is moving UP when it gets to the ball. Try one or both of these tips with the ball teed up higher, and see if you can learn to hit UP rather than level or even Down as you are doing now with your -5 degree aoa.

Don

Putting is easy if you have the Right Putter.

cac
cac's picture
Cheers Don, just reading this

Cheers Don, just reading this makes sense and I will try it after my next society on Saturday. Course with only 17 holes with water. CAC

cac handed Geordie.

Scott Rushing
Scott Rushing's picture
>You might also try moving

>You might also try moving the ball an inch or two to the left at adress so the club head is moving UP when it gets to the bal

That's my normal tee positiion usually.  Ball is not on the inside of my left heel but more to the outside which gives me a little more time to square the club plus I'm usually hitting up on the ball.   I feel I'm already hitting up on the ball as is so I'm not sure I want to add more effort there.  I think I'd rather try and tweak the shaft a llittle and see how it goes. 

but I need to find my swing again first...no sense doing anything until I can make solid swings.  Probably something simple, back to watching my swing videos !!!!

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Scott Rushing
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Sco, all good points.  yes,

Sco, all good points.  yes, there's  a point where you spend too much time trying to get that last 5 or 10%.     Clearly I need to spend most of my time focusing on quality swings.  

But my current driver is 3-4 yrears old so I am mostly curious whether the newer technology offers more forgiveness if fit correctly. Not that the stock shafts are decent, but I know I liked my current driver more with the OEM shaft.   So just doing some research before I pull that trigger too. 

 

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Scott Rushing
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Hit the new Callaway once

Hit the new Callaway once yesterday just to compare to the Cobra. Distance wise probably about the same though I hit the Cobra pretty well but can't say I hit the Callaway great.  But the ball flights and trajectory are differnt in the current setups.  The Callaway has a smooth boring lower trajectory whereas the Cobra flies pretty high.   Even with that shaft I have in it which is supposed to be a low trajectory shaft, I'm hitting it nice and high, which was what I wanted.  Maybe it just how I hit up on the ball anyway.  But the Cbora flew over a fairway tree whereas teh Callaway was coming down in it.  Had it not hit the tree it's distance would have been about the same.  The Callaway probably runs more in the fairway than the soft landing Cobra. 

 

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Scott Rushing
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One thing I notice swinging

One thing I notice swinging the Callaway is it feels different than the Cobra.  It feels more "boardy" and stiff than the Cobra shafted driver.  Not sure if it's the swing-weight or if the shaft is just on the X end of stiff. but it definitely has a more boardy feel to it when you swing it.

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scomac
scomac's picture
Scott; check and see which

Scott; check and see which way the gravity core is installed in the BBA.  If it is installed with the CG up, flip it so that the CG is low.  That will have a big impact on launch and feel.  I would play with the settings on the driver before i even began to entertain switching shafts around as the head is going to have the biggest impact on launch parameters.

The BBA is just another example -- SLDR started us down this rabbit hole -- of the OEMs mass marketing pro type clubs to ordinary golfers.  If you don't have the swing speed and quality of strike it will be impossible to take advantage of the design which is meant to scrub off spin at all costs.  (Spin is not evil, it keeps the ball in the air contrary to popular belief.)

Scott Rushing
Scott Rushing's picture
Thansk Sco.  Yeah, i tweaked

Thansk Sco.  Yeah, i tweaked the settings a little on the driver already, setting the gravity core and the loft up +1 degree.  I'm content to keep playing with it and tweaking it and see if i find a combination that works for me.   For now I'm playing the Cobra during my rounds because it feels good.  I don't hit it long, about 250-275 but usually it's in the fairway if I put a decent swing on it.  

  I'll see if I can get the Callaway "feeling" better, and fortunately I have several shafts already I can play with so it'll be pretty  low cost.  But I'm just that tinker-er type, curious to see - and start to understand/learn - what all these components of the club actually "do" for me.  Thankfully I like the Cobra I'm playing with now so I have no plans to tinker with it. 

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DON
A Launch Monitor will tell you

One of the best ways to tell if you are hitting up, level or Down on the ball with your driver is to hit balls on a good Launch Moniror and get the Angle Of Attack numbers from the monitor. The more UP your swing is at impact, the higher your launch angle and the Lower you back spin will be. As long as your spin is above 1750 RPM you are NOT going to have any problems with it being too low. If you can get it in the 2000 to 2500 range, you should be okay. It would take a LOT of work on a monitor to get the BEST spin number for you, so getting it close is a good start. If it's over  3000RPM, you have some work to do to get it down a few hundred RPM.

Don

Putting is easy if you have the Right Putter.

Scott Rushing
Scott Rushing's picture
Well, I took my old Driver

Well, I took my old Driver over to Golf Galaxy and am having them pull the ProForce V2 shaft and put a Callaway OptiFit tip on it so I can try it in the new driver.  Have hit some good shots with the new driver but only a few times have gotten a higher ball flight that I'd like to have.  So we'll see how the new shaft does in that regard.  Length is fine but I'd like to get the launch up a little bit more. 

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Scott Rushing
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So picked up the ProForce V2

So picked up the ProForce V2 shaft from Golf Galaxy, where they'd put the Callaway OptiFit adapter on it.  Used that driver today on about half the holes.  Must admit, i like it!  Drastically higher ball flight off the tee than what I was seeing on the stock shaft.   Hit some realy nice drives.  Longest was about 315 but several in the 280-290 range.    Dialed the drivers up to 11.5 initially because I was trying to get  a higher launch,  but the new shaft launched the ball high enough that I tweaked that back to 10.5 by the last few holes.  

Plan to use it again next week as I head to the beach for a few days of golf...we'll see how it goes..

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Scott Rushing
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Oh yeah, the driver is 45"

Oh yeah, the driver is 45" with the new shaft installed, so .25" shorter then the Cobra which I put the Aldila shaft in.  The original Cobra had a 46" shaft.  I like the shorter and I've not lost any distance from it. 

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scomac
scomac's picture
Oh yeah, the driver is 45"

Oh yeah, the driver is 45" with the new shaft installed, so .25" shorter then the Cobra which I put the Aldila shaft in.  The original Cobra had a 46" shaft.  I like the shorter and I've not lost any distance from it. 

No surprise there Scott.  Back in the day of persimmon blocks with steel shafts the standard driver shaft was 43.5".  Even the first graphite shafts (that weighed in the order of 100 gm) were running no more than 44". 

Average driver shaft length on tour is 44.5", not the 46" nonsense that OEMs fawn off on the masses, so if these guys are playing shorter it's not because it costs them distance!  More control and consistently better strike leads to greater distance not the bs about increased swing speeds.

Aimee
Aimee's picture
new shaft

Scott, glad to hear the new shaft is working for you. I've hit my husband's Ping G30 a couple of times and I kill it. He has the standard stock regular flex shaft in it (probably set at 10.5) but an oversized grip. I can tell that I can't turn the club over with the large grip, but I still kill it. When I look to replace my driver, it's a contender. I always found Callaway easy to hit well, just haven't been able to demo them recently.

It's not how...it's how many

DON
I've always been rather fond

I've always been rather fond of that Proforce V2 shaft that you are now using in your new driver. I'ts a very good shaft and the price is hard to beat. List price was about $69 when it first came out, and I've seen if for a lot less the last few years, now that UST came out with the AXIV line of shafts. I like the 77 gram version of the V2 myself, but you can get them in a few other weights that are lighter for those that perfer a lighter shaft weight. Sounds like the one you had installed is working out pretty well and I'm glad. Good move.

Don

Putting is easy if you have the Right Putter.

Scott Rushing
Scott Rushing's picture
Have been playing around with

Have been playing around with driver loft on the BB Alpha.  I had at some point last year set it down to normal, 10.5 degree.  I had been playing it higher lofted but put it down there last year because the new shaft was helping with loft anyway.   Noticed a few rounds ago that my ball flight was lower than expected on some tee shots.  Could have just been some poor shots but I  raised it up to +2.  Big difference in trajectory.    I think I'm going to set it to +1 and see  how it plays.  I am trying to play the fade now so I think I'm a little more aware of ball flight right now.   I think the +2 is too high...maybe loosing me distance, but we'll see how it performs.Hard to know distance changes due to how wet it's been and ball basically stopping at impact.    So we'll see how it goes.

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DON
Might be worth a try hitting

Might be worth a try hitting your driver on a good launch monitor to get both the carry and total distance with all of the loft setting available on this driver. It would be really nice if you have a Trackman available to use for this testing. 

Don

Putting is easy if you have the Right Putter.

Scott Rushing
Scott Rushing's picture
Agreed.  Tough part is

Agreed.  Tough part is finding that resource available where I could.  I have seen some times when you could rent one for half hour or so.  May do that sometime.

Speaking of that, this weekend I saw the tailend of a commercial for a launch monitor that they said would give you launch angle, swing speed, ball speed, etc.  All for like $299 maybe.  Less than $500 for sure because it grabbed my interest.  I'll have to dig out which one it might have been .

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Aimee
Aimee's picture
Hubby picked up a used

Hubby picked up a used Callaway XR16 driver, it showed up yesterday...he's got a lesson today so he will learn how to hit it. He got a lightweight shaft so he has to get his tempo smoothed out. It is 10.5 with adjustable loft also. Looks nice, I will try it also.

It's not how...it's how many

DON
Scott; Do you have a PGA

Scott; Do you have a PGA Superstore or a Golfsmith store near you that you could hit some balls on their monitor? If you demo one of their drivers and bring in your driver to compare, they should be okay with your doing that. I also understand that the PGA Superstore rents out time on their launch monitors, so that's another option that could work for you. We have a place called Swingers Sports Lounge here in the Denver area that rents out time on one of their 3 Launch monitor/Simulators. It's basically a sports bar with golf launch monitor/simulator where you can rent time by the hour to either play golf on the simulator or use the Driving Range practice feature of the monitor to work on your golf game while yoo eat and drink if you want. They have an excellent monitor that gives me all the data I need to find out what I'm doing with any club I might want to test. And I got to "Play" Pebble Beach a few times in about an hour for 18 holes. If you want you can practice for say 20 minutes and then play 9 holes on a course you would love to play and get it all in in about an hour. 

Don

Putting is easy if you have the Right Putter.

Scott Rushing
Scott Rushing's picture
We have Golf Galaxy which

We have Golf Galaxy which bought GolfSmith.  But no PGA Superstore.   If I go into GG when it's not busy I can probably get on the launch monitor. But ours had started to close off the simulator unless you were doing a fitting.   So we'll have to see.  I'll go by there sometime and see what the lay of the land is

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