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Today I’ll be reviewing the Callaway Big Bertha B21 fairway wood.
The Big Bertha B21 is designed to help golfers who traditionally avoid using fairway woods because they can’t make good contact. With a shallower face and deep CG, Callaway claims that the B21 is their easiest-to-launch fairway wood yet.
The B21 also takes advantage of Callaway’s latest ball-speed-enhancing technologies like the Flash Face and Jailbreak.
Just how easy is it to hit the Big Bertha B21 fairway wood? How does it compare to the similar MAVRIK MAX? Is it worth putting in the bag?
Read on to find out everything you need to know…
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 Big Bertha B21 fairway wood currently has a perfect customer rating of 4.9/5 (98% recommended) on the Callaway store, 4.8/5 on PGA TOUR Superstore, and 5/5 on Global Golf. It gets solid praise from critics and professional reviewers.
I also know a few people who have used the B21 and have had great success with it.
What People Like
- does an amazing job helping slow swingers get the ball up in the air
- the offset is popular, especially with slicers
- fantastic ball speed and distance
What People Don’t Like
- little to no adjustability
- not particularly workable
- some dislike the progressive lengths
What are the features?
Big Bertha is defined by large heads, big distance, high launch, and solid feel. The B21 fairway wood takes these benefits to a new level with Callaway’s latest technologies.
Flash Face SS21 & Jailbreak
First, we have the latest iteration of the Flash Face: SS21. This A.I. designed face is the result of a supercomputer and machine learning that combined tens of thousands of prototypes into one “super face”.
The Flash Face SS21 essentially produces faster ball speeds over a larger area of the face, leading to more distance on mis-hits.
Jailbreak consists of titanium bars that vertically connect the crown and sole. This places more impact load on the face, further increasing ball speeds.
The end result is some of the best ball speed you’ve ever seen in a Callaway fairway wood.
The Big Bertha B21 fairway wood has a shallow face. What good does that do, you ask?
Well, what a shallow face does is help move the CG lower in the face. Because fairway woods are commonly hit low on the face, this is going to result in a higher launch and better results for you.
Other features include:
- deep center of gravity (CG): helps to increase launch and carry.
- added offset: promotes a draw ball flight to help slicers.
- progressive lengths: the 3-wood is the longest club; the length decreases as you move up the numbers. This optimizes control and performance.
- oversized shape: promotes smooth turf interaction and consistent ball contact.
The Big Bertha B21 fairway wood is available in 3W, 5W, 7W and 9W at lofts 15°, 18°, 21° and 24° respectively.
Also available is the Big Bertha REVA fairway wood for women, in 16°, 19°, 22° and 25° lofts. It has the same core technologies as the Big Bertha B21, but the lofts, swingweights, shafts, head shape and grip are designed for women to maximize their performance.
The stock graphite shaft is the Callaway RCH (40/50/60/70), and the stock grip is the Golf Pride Tour Velvet 360. Custom shafts are available.
If you’re interested, full information on the fairway wood, shafts, grips and their specs can be found on the CGPO website.
Below are the specs of the Big Bertha B21 and Big Bertha REVA fairway woods. Click or zoom to enlarge.
How does the fairway wood perform?
In short, it’s excellent. During my testing, I was getting roughly the same distance, launch and spin as the MAVRIK MAX fairway wood with the 14g weight in the back.
There are a couple differentiating factors though. One is that because of the shallower face on the Big Bertha B21, shots low on the face tend to have a slightly better launch and go farther.
The other is offset. Because the Big Bertha B21 fairway wood has pretty substantial offset, you’re more likely to hit a draw that will naturally go farther. The MAVRIK MAX has some adjustable weighting that can introduce a draw bias, but with the B21, it’s always there.
When it comes to fairway woods, one of the best ways to define forgiveness is by how easy it is to get the ball up in the air, since this is the most common struggle for golfers playing woods.
In this respect, the Big Bertha B21 passes with flying colours.
One thing that I was a little surprised by is that mis-hit distance tended to beat the MAVRIK MAX by a few yards, despite the common technologies and CG positions. It’s hard to pinpoint why, but it likely has to do with the weighting and the large head size of the Big Bertha B21.
Aside from this, forgiveness is similar to the MAVRIK MAX with the 14g weight in the back. If you’re looking for a fairway wood that’s friendly towards higher handicaps, this is it.
The shot shape tendency of the Big Bertha B21 is a slight draw, similar to that of the MAVRIK MAX with the 14g weight in the heel. This is mostly due to the added offset.
Moreover, as I alluded to before, the trajectory is very similar to a back-weighted MAVRIK MAX: a high launch, a lot of carry, and good stopping power into the greens.
Beyond this, the trajectory that you see will depend on your individual swing. Like the MAVRIK MAX, the Big Bertha B21 isn’t what you should play if you want ultimate control and workability. Shaping shots is possible, but it can be difficult.
I find that the wide face and large footprint of the Big Bertha B21 gives you a lot of confidence, such that you naturally and instinctively make better contact with the ball.
Making solid ball contact and getting a good launch is crucial to hitting your fairway wood, and the Big Bertha B21 gives you every opportunity to do it.
What about look, sound & feel?
If the larger, wider footprint isn’t the first thing that stands out to you about the Big Bertha B21 fairway wood, then the increased offset or shallower face might.
All of these features have been engineered to lower the leading edge and center of gravity. This makes it much easier to get the face below the ball for better contact.
It might surprise you to learn that the CC ratings of the Big Bertha B21 are lower than that of the MAVRIK MAX. But when you consider how much a shallow face impacts the volume of the head, it starts to make sense. The face itself is long, so you should feel plenty of confidence at address.
The Big Bertha B21 has the typical B21 aesthetic with blue, orange and grey accents. I quite like it myself.
You’ll also notice that there’s no adjustable hosel — this is so that Callaway can save weight that can be placed low in the head for added MOI.
The Sound & Feel
I love how solid (and hot) the Big Bertha B21 feels at impact, particularly when you strike the ball just below the center point of the face. This is accompanied by a satisfying “click” that isn’t too muted or metallic.
The Big Bertha B21 feels a little tighter than the MAVRIK MAX at impact, and this is what I prefer personally.
As you move away from the sweet spot, the sound changes a little bit, but there’s an even more noticeable difference in feel. I wouldn’t say the mis-hit feel is harsh, but you will know when you mis-hit the ball, and you’ll definitely prefer the sweet spot feel.
One last thing I’ll point out is that the Big Bertha B21 does feel a bit “bottom-weighted” if you know what I mean (although the shaft can influence this). I tend to like the feeling myself. If you’re someone who tends to hit fairway woods thin, this is going to help you make solid contact with the ball.
Where should you buy this fairway wood online?
The Big Bertha B21 fairway wood is a few seasons old, so you can no longer order it custom-made directly from the Callaway store.
Women’s Big Bertha REVA fairway woods can be ordered here.
Alternatively, look at what’s available on Global Golf.
The Big Bertha B21 fairway wood gets very high marks from me overall.
Callaway says it’s their easiest-to-launch fairway wood yet. I have a hard time disagreeing. It’s a must-try if any of the following are true:
- you can barely get your woods off the ground
- you appreciate offset that can take the edge off your slices
- you want a technologically modern fairway wood that is extremely forgiving with high MOI
Even though the Big Bertha B21 doesn’t fit my swing and game particularly well, I still had very good results with it because it’s so easy to hit. Just pick it up and start swinging.
Have any thoughts or opinions about the Big Bertha B21 fairway wood? Feel free to drop a comment below.