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Today I’ll be reviewing the 2019 Big Bertha iron by Callaway, the latest version of the award-winning Big Bertha line of irons.
The Big Bertha is described by Callaway as “our easiest to launch distance iron”. It’s designed to deliver top forgiveness and distance and be the go-to for those looking for a quality super game-improvement iron.
I have given great marks to previous iterations of the Big Bertha (such as in 2015), but how does the 2019 Big Bertha fare? Does it set a new standard? Is it a top choice for high-handicappers?
Read on to find out what you need to know before putting these in your bag.
Rating: 9.2/10 (Great)
Pros & Cons: See review box at bottom of review
Classification: Super Game-Improvement
Best suited for: Mid to high-handicappers, or any golfer looking for a quality super game-improvement iron
Best Places To Buy Online
You can no longer order brand new 2019 Big Bertha irons with custom shafts, grips, lie angles, lofts, etc. directly from the official Callaway website.
The best places to shop for the irons now are Global Golf, Callaway Golf Pre-Owned (12-month warranty, 90-day buyback policy, etc), and eBay, among other places.
The latter two have great discounts on used Big Bertha irons, with eBay topping out as the best.
What are the reviews like?
The Big Bertha irons have been rated very highly overall, but there is one thing in particular that is dragging the rating down a bit.
The chief complaint is that the smoke PVD finish wears quickly, so that after a few rounds, it looks like you’ve had the irons for years.
The iron has a score of 4/5 on Global Golf and 4.6/5 (86% recommended) on the CGPO website. Critics generally laud the performance of the Big Bertha.
What People Like
- awesome feel
- amazing distance
- exceptional forgiveness
- high launch
What People Don’t Like
- the smoke PVD finish wears very quickly
- fairly expensive irons
What are the features?
The Big Bertha iron is designed for golfers who want maximum game-improvement capabilities.
The main features are:
Suspended Energy Core
Callaway says that the Suspended Energy Core is the engine of the Big Bertha iron.
What it does is suspend the tungsten weight, which has been metal injection molded, using urethane microspheres. This results in an easy, high launch, exceptional sound and feel, and long and consistent distance.
360 Face Cup
We’ve come to expect the Face Cup in Callaway irons, and it predictably makes a return here.
The 360 Face Cup adds a flexible rim around the iron face that flexes at impact to increase ball speeds. This works across the entire face, increasing mis-hit forgiveness and overall distance.
Callaway was able to make their thinnest Face Cup yet thanks to the high launch angles produced by the Suspended Energy Core. The end result is even more speed and distance over the Big Bertha OS irons.
There are many set configurations to choose from, from the 4-iron all the way to the sand wedge and everything in between. A common choice is the 5-PW set.
The stock steel shaft is the KBS Max 90, and the stock graphite shaft is the UST Mamiya Recoil ZT9.
The stock grip is the Lamkin Z5 Genesis CHEV Red Cap, but there are many different grips you can choose from.
If you’re interested, full information on shafts, grips and their specs can be found on the Callaway website.
Below are the specs of the 2019 Big Bertha irons. Click or zoom to enlarge.
How do these irons perform?
One could argue that distance is relative when it comes to irons, and you’re not necessarily trying to maximize distance either.
Having said that, when Callaway says that the Big Bertha irons have an easy launch and added distance, they’re not lying.
Thanks in large part to the new Suspended Energy Core, it’s easy to get the ball airborne, and even golfers with slower swing speeds can manage. Anyway, in my opinion, a high launch and good flight is more important in an iron than distance.
When it comes to raw distance though, the Big Bertha irons rank up there, but I’ve seen longer. At the very least, they’re probably a little longer than the previous iteration of the Big Bertha, without sacrificing loft.
Thanks to the technologies that Callaway incorporates into their clubs, mainly the 360 Face Cup which I mentioned above, all but the worst mis-hits will retain a good ball speed and line.
I found that mild to moderate mishits didn’t veer off the intended target much at all.
This makes the Big Bertha irons very forgiving, and they should be considering their super game-improvement classification. I would even say it’s the most forgiving iteration of the Big Bertha iron to date.
Because these are game-improvement irons, you would think they’re pretty rigid in terms of the shots they can hit in different situations.
It’s true that the 2019 Big Bertha irons aren’t particularly workable (you can shape shots to an extent), but because of the high launch and long carry, it’s easy most of the time to just carry the ball over trouble and land it relatively softly on the green.
This, in my opinion, is what a good iron allows you to do. It’s the best a GI player could ask for.
What about look, sound & feel?
Let me start with the finish. Look, the smoke dark grey looks really sleek, even though some people prefer a lighter shade, especially with the light grey/silver stock shaft.
It’s just unfortunate that it shows pretty much every wear mark, even hitting normal shots off grass. You’ll most likely have to accept the fact that your irons will look old within a month.
With that said, the offset is decent and the top line is at the thickness you would expect for this kind of iron. However, I find that the shape of the head combined with the dark finish makes the top line seem a little thinner at address, which is nice.
Aside from the wear issue, top marks from me.
The Sound & Feel
I can accurately describe the feel and sound at impact as solid but not blunt — I really like it. I suspect the Suspended Energy Core and urethane microspheres positioned low in the head play a big role here.
The sound translates across most of the face, so it will be difficult to discern your mis-hits just by ear.
You can discern your mis-hits through feel though; even though mild to moderate mis-hits with the Big Bertha still feel quite good.
Many super-game improvement irons feel pretty awful, but the 2019 Big Bertha comes out ahead in this regard.
Summary & Conclusion
All in all, the 2019 Big Bertha irons deliver some of the best game-improvement performance I’ve ever seen.
From the super distances to the excellent forgiveness, easy high launch, solid feel, and sleek looks, they are an attractive proposition for the high-handicapper or any golfer looking for irons in the super game-improvement category.
Just be aware that the finish will wear quickly, especially if you tend to stick your club in the ground a lot.
Thanks for reading this review. Have you played the 2019 Big Bertha irons? What do you think about them? Feel free to leave a comment below with your thoughts and experiences.