Callaway Big Bertha Alpha 816 Double Black Diamond Driver Review – The Callaway Big Bertha Alpha 816 Double Black Diamond (DBD) driver may only equal the longest product name in golf of the previous Alpha 815 DBD version, but it has double the gravity core chambers.
Callaway Big Bertha Alpha 816 Double Black Diamond Driver Review
The Gravity Core is a weight with a heavy silver and a light red end that is inserted in to the sole of the club to lower or raise the Centre of Gravity (CG), which in turn changes the spin on the ball.
This is important as it can then optimise the launch conditions so you get the maximum possible distance from your swing. In the Alpha 816, the two Gravity Core Chambers replace the single chamber and the two sole weights in the 815.
In doing so they create a similar effect by combining the heel/toe weights and up/down gravity core adjustability in a single Gravity Core feature. There is still only one Gravity Core for the two chambers, so it is either weight up or down in the heel or toe.
Combining the Gravity Core with the sole weights saves Callaway some weight that can move elsewhere in the head to increase the Moment of Inertia (MOI) of the driver to make it a little more forgiving for a low spinning club of this head size.
I did think that this leaves no neutral setting, but even in the 815 you had a heavier weight in either the heel or toe, so it is really no change. However having the Gravity Core down in the heel chamber to create a draw bias felt the most neutral and the easiest for most players.
You can see which way the Core is set by the colour sit you can see through the hole in the chambers screw cover. Red means the lighter end of the Core is down, although I wonder if any debris will get through the hole of the empty chamber in general play.
How you position it depends on where you strike the ball on the face. If you hit it high on the face then Callaway say you can gain 1.5mph by having the Core up so some expert custom fitting advice is required.
The head is a little more compact that the Great Big Bertha driver but the face is deeper and that will suit the type of better player this is aimed at. Hence why there is no alignment marker on the matte black Forged Composite crown.
The Alpha 816 features an upgraded version of the R-Moto face that helps with the weight saving and increases ball speeds as much as possible.
The sound and feel is excellent from most points on the face and you can almost take that for granted from Callaway’s woods now.
Add all these features to the usual OptiFit adjustable hosel and you have Callaway’s most comprehensive and also most expensive driver with an RRP of over £400.
It is these two reasons why you would consider buying this driver, because, yes, some people like to pay premium to have the latest and greatest.
Like before with the 815 DBD you probably need an above average swing speed to get the most out of the Alpha 816 DBD because it is the lowest spinning of the drivers in the Callaway range. Hence why it has the Double Black Diamond name, which is used in skiing to describe a run for experts only.
The smaller head in 9.5 and 10.5 lofts is a little lower spinning than the Great Big Bertha and certainly lower than the XR driver and this was clear from the height of the ball flight when I hit them all together.
The stock shaft is the new version of the 60g Aldila Rogue I/O 60 and like the current version it is very stable and consistent even if it lacks a little in feedback.
The Alpha 816 DBD did feel a little more playable than the 815 DBD thanks to that extra forgiveness. However the decision on whether to mortgage the house for it will depend on whether the extra adjustable features improves the performance for you.
Whilst it will be mostly high swing speed players that should benefit from this, it is not a hard and fast rule as Callaway say that they have seen players of all abilities benefit from clubs with the Gravity Core as it really depends on how they deliver the club to the ball. Hence why getting fitted and going in with an open mind is important.
If the Callaway Big Bertha Alpha 816 Double Black Diamond driver suits you and your wallet then this a very good club and shows what Callaway can do when they push the technical and financial limits.
There is a place for this approach as statement of intent for both player and manufacturer and the Alpha 816 Double Black Diamond delivers double helpings of both.
Reviewed by Martin Hopley – Golfalot.com