ClubTest 2016: Callaway Big Bertha Alpha 816 Driver Review
CATEGORY: Better Player Drivers
WE TESTED: 9° (adjusts 8° to 11°), 10.5° (adjusts 9.5° to 12.5°) with Aldila Rogue I/O 60 graphite shaft
KEY TECHNOLOGIES: Change the CG (and ball flight) based on how you orient the heavy end of the 12-gram rod.
DISTANCE: The 816 Double Black Diamond is one of the longest clubs; a bomber for a few guys -- 10 yards longer than their gamers; off-center hits are within a few yards of your good ones.
ACCURACY/FORGIVENESS: One of the top-rated models; extremely accurate -- you can have an off day and still find almost every fairway; toe and heel shots make their way back toward the fairway.
FEEL: Testers give it very high marks; impact is springy, and there's a definite difference between center and mis-hits; very hot sensation in the middle of the face and never harsh on misses; stable at impact -- virtually no twisting or turning.
PLAYABILITY: A true performer -- it'll do whatever you tell it to do with a bit of added flair; working the ball is simple -- never a problem turning it over for draws or holding it off for fades; easy to alter trajectory; the removable Gravity Core rod fine-tunes shot shape and spin rate.
LOOK: The absolute favorite; compact, all-black look says "player"; lines up perfectly behind the ball and makes you feel like you'll smoke it.
The various adjustability options can be too confusing for a few testers; sticker shock is a real possibility.
BOTTOM LINE: The top-rated model in the better player category. The Callaway Big Bertha Alpha 816 Double Black Diamond can seemingly do it all -- it's top-shelf all the way.
HOT STIX'S TAKE: One of the most adjustable drivers on the market. Two weight ports let you position the 12- gram rod in either the heel or toe and higher or lower in the face. Alpha 815 DBD had a single port (in the center) for the rod. Launch: Low-Mid; Spin: Low-Mid
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MORE INFO ON THE CALLAWAY BIG BERTHA ALPHA 816
From GOLF.com, August 4, 2015:
Designed for better players looking for lower spin rates, more fine-tuning, and maximum distance, the BB Alpha 816 Double Black Diamond driver replaces the previous 815 model with some significant technological improvements. The most notable design element of the new 816 is a dual distance chamber design in the sole of the club, into which a weighted “Gravity Core,” can be positioned (in either the heel or toe chamber) to promote a draw or fade. Each weight can be flipped to position the heavy side higher or lower in the clubhead, which changes the CG placement and shot trajectory based on the individual players' preference. Find the right position based on where on the face you tend to strike the ball and you can gain up to 2 mph of ballspeed.
Other notable features of the Big Bertha Alpha 816 Double Black Diamond include a thin clubface for maximum deflection and ballspeed at impact, a deep face and slightly open face angle, which are typically preferred by better players, and Callaway's OptiFit hosel that offers 8-way adjustability for loft and lie angle changes. Standard shaft options include Aldila Rogue 60 and Mitsubishi Diamana D+ 70, but a wide range of aftermarket shafts is also available at no additional charge. Standard loft options are 9- and 10.5 degrees. -- Michael Chwasky