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Today, I’ll be reviewing the Callaway 2023 Big Bertha irons.
The 2023 (BB23) Big Bertha is the latest entry in Callaway’s Big Bertha line of irons. Like past Big Bertha models, it packs the latest cutting-edge technologies and is designed to be easy to hit and easy to launch for all golfers.
This iron is engineered to deliver extreme forgiveness and monstrous distance in a confidence-inspiring package. How does it compare to previous models like the B21 and 2019 Big Bertha? Does it set a new bar in performance? Who is it best suited for?
Read on to find out what you need to know before potentially putting these in your bag.
Note: Unless otherwise stated, stock shafts and stock grips are used when evaluating this club. In most cases, the golf clubs reviewed on Golfstead are acquired temporarily for testing purposes and are not purchased. The review that follows is based on the personal experience and research of the author. Because everyone’s swing and body are different, results with a particular club may differ from person to person.
What are the reviews like?
The 2023 Big Bertha irons have been received extremely well by consumers. Critic reception has been positive overall but a couple of distinct negatives stand out.
These irons currently have an average customer rating of 5/5 (100% recommended) on the official Callaway website.
What People Like
- unmatched length
- solid feel and sound at impact
- more forgiving than the 2019 Big Bertha
- easy to hit with high launch
- sleek dark finish
What People Don’t Like
- heavy, clunky feel, particularly with the short irons
- some experience underwhelming forgiveness across the face
The 2023 Big Bertha irons essentially feature a mix of Callaway’s latest iron technologies, all packaged up in a refined and modern Big Bertha shape.
Precision Tungsten Weighting
Up to 54g of internal and external tungsten is precisely positioned to enhance forgiveness and increase launch.
In particular, up to 11g of external tungsten helps improve forgiveness, while up to 43g of internal tungsten helps optimize performance through the set, increasing launch in the long irons and improving control in the short irons.
A.I. Face Cup
Callaway has been a leader in integrating the power of A.I. (artificial intelligence) into their irons.
With the 2023 Big Bertha, each iron in the set features a high-strength face cup with a unique, complex face architecture produced by A.I. This face is engineered to maximize ball speeds and optimize spin across the face.
Urethane microspheres are a proprietary creation of Callaway that provide the benefits of urethane (absorbing unwanted vibrations and improving sound & feel) while still retaining the very high COR of the A.I. Face Cup.
Big Bertha Shape
Callaway’s Big Bertha irons have always been marked with a thick, confidence-inspiring look at address, and the 2023 model is no different.
This time, the shape has been refined with a modern badge aesthetic. In addition, the irons come in a new Black Smoke finish that is highly durable.
There are many set configurations to choose from from 4-SW. The stock set is 4-PW, and you can buy individual irons.
There are also the 2023 Big Bertha REVA irons (5-SW) for women. They have the same core technologies as the men’s Big Bertha, but the amount of tungsten, lofts, swingweights, shafts and grip are designed for women to maximize their performance.
You can alternatively get the 2023 Big Bertha irons as part of a combo set that includes 2023 Big Bertha hybrids.
The stock shafts are the Callaway (BB23) RCH 65i Graphite and True Temper Elevate MPH 85 (2023) Steel. The stock grip is the Callaway Universal. Custom options are available.
If you’re interested, more information on shafts, grips and other customizations can be found here.
Below are the specs of the 2023 Big Bertha irons. Click or zoom to enlarge.
The amount of speed and yardage the 2023 Big Bertha irons can put out is just tremendous. It’s worth noting that MyGolfSpy ranked these irons #1 in distance based on their tests — yes, that means the best distance out of anything else on the market.
I can vouch for that based on my time hitting these irons. But it’s not just raw distance that comes from strong lofts and low spin; the 2023 Big Bertha irons produce a good launch with enough spin to afford good controllability and stopping power into greens.
There’s no doubt that distance should be the top selling point for these irons. I can’t recall seeing higher ball speeds with any other iron I’ve tested, and I foresee this being the case for other golfers as well. It may take some getting used to depending on your previous gamers, though.
Most testers have experienced excellent forgiveness with the 2023 Big Bertha irons, but for some it has been a little underwhelming. I’m mostly in the first camp.
I’m not as impressed with forgiveness across the face as I am with distance, but it’s still great and about what you would expect for a max GI iron. In fact, both ball speed retention and dispersions in mis-hit regions seem to be better than past Big Bertha models I’ve hit.
In terms of numbers, even my worst strikes with the 7i generally came within 10 yards of my optimal sweet-spot distance. And these poor strikes, if they missed the green at all, didn’t miss it by much.
Ball flights with the 2023 Big Bertha irons are generally mid-high with a neutral or slight draw bias. Spin is middle-of-the-road, so you shouldn’t have issues with ballooning trajectories nor should you have trouble getting the ball up in the air.
In general, performance is very satisfying with the long irons. They are easy to launch and go a long way.
Short iron performance is decent, but I found it to lack the precision and control that is needed to excel around the greens. It was difficult for me to develop touch with the short irons and they felt clunky overall, although this may not be an issue for many high handicappers.
Workability is poor from an objective standpoint, and of course this is not surprising. You can still put a little bit of shape on your shots, though, which is a nice bonus.
On the back of the iron, you have a patterned strip near the top of the face with the Big Bertha label prominently displayed. Underneath that is the tungsten region which protrudes out and becomes more noticeable in the longer irons.
Aside from the more modern aesthetic, the shape will certainly be familiar to you if you’ve ever played a Big Bertha iron: the sole is wide, the offset is substantial, the top line is very thick, and the blade length is long. The shape lacks sharp edges and corners and is fairly rounded.
Like previous Big Bertha models, the 2023 version has a darker finish, and this particular one is called Black Smoke. I think it’s very well done, with both matte and gloss regions. I would say it’s a sort of dark gray rather than black.
I really like the Black Smoke finish personally, but there are undoubtedly some golfers who will prefer a traditional silver/chrome finish. It would have been nice if Callaway gave the option to choose one or the other.
The Sound & Feel
The 2023 Big Bertha irons produce a slightly muted, very solid feel at impact. There’s an element of heaviness to it which some will dislike, but at the same time, it feels quite powerful and responsive. I find it to be less “clicky” than the Big Bertha B21.
Solid contact produces a crisp “snap” sound which I found really satisfying during my hitting session. In some ways, the sound & feel remind me of a forged iron which is awesome.
As you move away from the center of the face to the heel and toe regions, the sound is mainly what changes — it basically becomes less sharp. The feel retains its solidness but loses a little bit of responsiveness.
Overall, there are few surprises when it comes to the feel & sound of the 2023 Great Big Bertha, as they are more or less what you would expect from a chunky super game-improvement iron.
Where To Buy These Irons Online
At this time, the best place to order 2023 Big Bertha irons with custom specifications (loft, length, shaft, grip, etc.) is this page on the Callaway store.
If you want to save some money, you can find discounts on eBay.
At the end of the day, the 2023 version of Callaway’s Big Bertha iron is a very strong offering.
Many high handicappers are sure to love it due to how easy it is to hit, the terrific forgiveness, the great feel, the easy launch, and speed/distance potential that is not surpassed by anything else out there. Just don’t expect a whole lot of control and precision
The 2023 Big Bertha sets a new bar in performance compared to previous models, particularly in the distance category. And given how many iron sets are reaching well into the four figures these days, it’s nice that Callaway was able to keep them fairly affordable.
Having said that, better players who find these irons appealing should not expect much workability throughout the set, or a lot of control or precision out of the short irons.
Are you interested in the 2023 Big Bertha irons? Have you played them? What’s your experience? Let us know in the comments below.
Callaway 2023 Big Bertha Iron
- Incredible distance with good stopping power
- Very good forgiveness across the face
- High ball flight with balanced spin
- Sleek Black Smoke finish turns heads
- Exceptional feel for a max-GI iron
- Short irons can feel clunky and a bit unwieldly
- Very limited control and workability