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SG Product of the Year
Callaway Great Big Bertha II titanium driver

One of the big plusses in writing for a golf publication or website is that you get to test a lot of equipment and save yourself the worry of making an expensive mistake. And one of the first things you learn is that, despite the hyperbole, marketing speak and exaggerated claims made for all sorts of kit, if you find something you like and that works for you, stick with it until you're absolutely sure that something better has come along.

This club is something better.

I have had an original Big Bertha in my bag for 10 years and, while we occasionally fell out and I'd be obliged to leave it at home for a few weeks until it appreciated again who was boss, it's generally been a long and happy relationship. Over that decade I must have tried at least 40 drivers and none ever tempted me to forsake my beloved Callaway. Until now.

The first time I used this new beast I started to hit everything right to left and believe me, I haven't drawn a ball since I was using crayons in the classroom - well, not with a driver anyway.
It's almost inevitable that when you get a new 1-wood in your hands you want to give the ball a bit of a bash but after I slowed down and started swinging easily, the draw/hook disappeared. In the subsequent four rounds I have played with this club I have been genuinely surprised at how easy it is to use and how straight the ball goes.

In distance terms it seems about the same, or slightly longer than my existing best with my current driver but whereas I might usually hope to hit my 'best' two or three times a round, with the GBB II that figure leapt to nine or 10 times.

But, as you may have gathered, I'm biased, so I gave this (very reluctantly) to an eight handicap colleague who was off on a golfing trip to Ireland, and he in turn got several other golfers to hit the club. All liked or loved it to varying degrees and the only criticism was that the whippy shaft (despite saying 'regular'), which suits my slower swingspeed, was not entirely suited to lower handicap players. Callaway has always had a tendency to more flexible shafts it seems but, that, of course, can be corrected when you buy.

Is it worth 349 GBP? In my view, no single club is worth 349 GBP but as that seems to be the going rate nowadays, and you would have to pay that much for an 'equivalent', only you can decide.

The competition is strong because we've featured some excellent equipment over the last eight months but this is the ScottishGolf Product of the Year.

Will I be sending it back to Callaway?

Are you mad?

Further information is available at

Martin Vousden, 11 handicap.

©    3 - DECEMBER 2002

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