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Today, I’ll be reviewing the Callaway 2023 Great Big Bertha irons.
Built with slower swing speeds in mind, the 2023 Great Big Bertha employs premium lightweight components and cutting-edge technologies to deliver the very best in distance along with a high launch, forgiveness, and soft feel.
How do the 2023 Great Big Bertha irons actually perform? How do they stack up against the Rogue ST MAX? Who are they best suited for? Are they worth putting in the bag?
Read on to find out what you need to know to make an informed purchase.
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?
At the time of writing, the 2023 Great Big Bertha irons have a customer rating of 3.5/5 (50% recommended) score on the Callaway store, although the sample size is very small. Critic reviews are generally positive.
What People Like
- luxurious looks
- straight ball flight
- high launch
- more consistent than the Epic MAX Star irons
- premium, solid feel
- oodles of distance
What People Don’t Like
- unaffordable for many
- relatively narrow appeal
With the 2023 Great Big Bertha irons, Callaway utilizes materials that are normally reserved for drivers.
The body is made of Commercially Pure (CP) titanium. This unalloyed titanium is light, strong, and bendable unlike standard titanium. The result is more flex at impact compared to traditional steel.
Combine this with a thinner forged titanium face designed with A.I., and you get better energy transfer to the ball, more ball speed, and better spin consistency.
These materials also create up to 96 grams of discretionary weight that is used to further optimize launch and forgiveness.
Other features of the 2023 Great Big Bertha irons are:
- Tungsten Speed Cartridge: this large piece of high-density tungsten, located at the trailing edge, has a mass of up to 145 grams which is 133% more than the Rogue ST MAX. This shifts the center of gravity (CG) to an unprecedentedly deep position for higher launch.
- Urethane Microspheres: a proprietary creation of Callaway, these provide the benefits of urethane (absorbing unwanted vibrations and improving sound & feel) while still retaining a very high face COR.
The 2023 GBB is the first iron to combine titanium with Callaway’s A.I. face technologies.
There are many set configurations to choose from, from the 4-iron all the way to the sand wedge. The stock set is 4-PW, and of course, individual irons are available.
The 2023 GBB irons are also available as:
- Women’s Irons: these pack the same technologies but offer a stock shaft and stock grip that are tailored to women to maximize their performance.
- Iron/Hybrid Set: this pairs the 2023 GBB irons with the forgiving and versatile 2023 GBB hybrids.
The stock shafts are the Nippon N.S. PRO 850GH neo (steel) and the UST Mamiya Helium Nanocore IP 60 HYB/IR (graphite). The stock grip is the Winn Dri-Tac Lite. 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 GBB irons. Click or zoom to enlarge.
The 2023 Great Big Bertha irons are certainly long, although not the longest I’ve tested. It’s worth noting that the lofts are weaker than the longest distance irons on the market.
Where the 2023 GBB irons really shine is speed off the face. Ball speed potential is at least as good as the Rogue ST MAX and perhaps even slightly better.
Combine this with a tendency for a high launch, and you have excellent carry distances along with strong stopping power into greens.
“Uber forgiving” is a great way to describe the 2023 GBB irons. You can expect dispersions and ball speed preservation to be on the same level as the Rogue ST MAX.
The consistency from shot to shot is just phenomenal, and even if your strikes aren’t that consistent, there’s a good chance the ball will go straight every time, as they did during my testing.
What undoubtedly contributes to this is the enormous amount of tungsten at the trailing edge which shifts the CG back. And, the deeper the CG, the greater the stability and the higher the MOI.
Trajectories with the 2023 GBB irons tend to be high with a neutral or slight draw bias.
What I found refreshing was that the short irons and wedges didn’t feel clunky or inflexible despite the forgiveness offered. They are relatively easy to put spin on and it’s easy to stop shots near the flagstick with little to no rollout.
The workability of the 2023 GBB irons is limited. You can shape shots to an extent, but there is a resistance there, which is a natural tradeoff of high forgiveness. On a scale of 1 to 10, I’d give the potential for shot shaping a 3 or a 4.
There’s no question about it: the 2023 Great Big Bertha iron has a premium look that would prompt any golf course observer to ask “how much did those cost?”
The gold-tinted Tungsten Speed Cartridge adds a flare of luxury and sophistication, and the relatively simple cavity cutout with carbon weave on the back strikes the perfect balance between being not too subtle or too flashy.
In terms of size, it appears to be fairly close to the Apex DCB 21. The topline has thickness to it but is not as thick as the Rogue ST MAX; the sole is narrower and the offset is lower as well, so the 2023 GBB is clearly not designed to be a super-GI iron.
The 2023 GBB iron inspires plenty of confidence at address and frames the ball beautifully.
The Sound & Feel
At impact, the 2023 Great Big Bertha iron feels crisp, solid, and a little explosive — all that you could really ask for. Feel is certainly reminiscent of other recent Callaway iron models including the Apex DCB 21 and Rogue ST MAX.
Sound, on the other hand, is a little bit “clicky” as opposed to the dampened “thud” you get in other irons. This is perhaps a little bit surprising considering the use of Callaway’s patented urethane microspheres, but those evidently have more of an impact on the feel than the sound.
I find the feel to be pretty consistent across the face, but the sound tends to get louder as you move away from the sweet spot zone. Mis-hit feedback is limited overall.
Where To Buy These Irons Online
At this time, the best place to order 2023 Great Big Bertha irons with custom specifications (loft, length, shaft, grip, etc.) is this page on the Callaway store. You can also check out the women’s variant or the iron/hybrid combo set.
If you want to save some money, you can find discounts on eBay.
A full set of Callaway 2023 Great Big Bertha irons costs well over $3000 at normal price, which is pretty crazy. Do they deliver the goods to justify this cost?
They certainly look the part, with a multi-piece titanium & tungsten construction (Callaway’s first in an iron). In terms of performance, they’re easy to hit, fly far, have great stopping power into greens, have excellent forgiveness, and have a satisfying feel.
If you’re looking for lightweight forgiveness without sacrificing control into greens, the 2023 GBB certainly delivers. However, I only see them appealing to a very narrow niche subset of golfers, namely older folks who don’t play much and who have a ton of disposable income.
It’s just not a realistic purchase for most beginners or other high-handicap players. But whatever type of golfer you are, if you like what you see and cost is not an issue for you, I say go for it.
Are you interested in the 2023 Great Big Bertha irons? Have you played them yet? What have your results been? Let us know in the comments below.