How Callaway Big Bertha Golf Clubs Made History

By Savannah Richardson

the 2003 callaway big bertha steelhead

Big Bertha has become one of the most recognized names in golf as a staple of the Callaway Golf lineup that has been successful since it launched in the 1990s.

This article goes into depth about the origin of the Big Bertha line, how it got its name, and details on the original Big Bertha.

Naming Big Bertha

Ely Callaway, founder of Callaway Golf, chose the name Big Bertha for the driver he introduced in 1991. He borrowed the name from a German WWI howitzer, nicknamed Big Bertha because of its massive size and power.

The Big Bertha driver was revolutionary at the time for its fully stainless steel construction during a time when many golfers still used traditional wooden drivers. The head of the original Big Bertha, while small by today's standards, was quite large by 1991 standards, which immediately set the club apart from competitors.

What is Big Bertha

Besides setting a new standard for size and materials, the Big Bertha driver was revolutionary in that it put more weight around the perimeter of the club-head, resulting in a thinner, more forgiving club-face. The design instantly enlarged the sweet spot compared to persimmon drivers, while remaining lightweight.

This Big Bertha driver is suitable for players who tend to slice their ball or struggle to find consistency in ball flight. While Big Bertha will allow you to hit it long because of its larger sweet spot, its forgiveness accommodates players of all abilities.

Big Bertha Irons

Following the success of the original Big Bertha Driver, Big Bertha irons were introduced in 1994. Similar to the driver, the clubs' oversized club-face and large, highly forgiving sweet spot targeted high-handicap golfers.

The Original Callaway Big Bertha

The original Big Bertha driver launched in 1991, and during that time was considered to be massive because most golfers were still using persimmon drivers. Made of stainless steel, Big Bertha OG clocked in at 190cc.

Big Bertha’s large sweet spot, which provided a new level of forgiveness, separated the line from its competitors. Designers eliminated the neck of the club by extending the shaft through the club head which created more energy at impact. At 190cc, the 1991 driver was only about 40% of today’s 460cc drivers, and is more comparable to today’s 3-woods, which have club-heads in the 175cc neighborhood.

Big Bertha Driver and Irons Timeline

Callaway has released dozens of models in the Big Bertha lineup since the original release in 1991.

Year Model
1991 Big Bertha Driver launched
1994 Callaway replaced its S2H2 Irons by launching the Big Bertha Irons and the company released the Big Bertha Blade Putters
1995 Callaway Golf became the world’s biggest seller of irons and Woods after its sales exceeded $550 million
1995-98 The next installment of the Big Bertha line, the Big Bertha WarBird was released
1995-98 Great Big Bertha released to the market
1996-98 The first update to the Big Bertha irons/ Big Bertha Gold Irons released
1997 Biggest Big Bertha titanium driver released/ Great Big Bertha Tungsten Titanium Irons released
1998 Big Bertha X12 Irons released/ Little Bertha Kids Clubs Set released
1999-2000 Big Bertha X12 Less Offset Irons/ Big Bertha Hawk Eye Tungsten Injected Titanium Irons launched
2001 Big Bertha C4 Driver released
2002 Big Bertha Irons Updated/ Big Bertha Hawk Eye Vft Irons released
2003 Great Big Bertha II 415 Driver/ Big Bertha Steelhead X-16, Pro X-16 Irons released
2004-06 Big Bertha Titanium Driver/Big Bertha X-18, X-18 Pro Irons/ Big Bertha X-Tour Irons/ Big Bertha Fusion Irons released
2007-08 Big Bertha 460 Driver released/ Big Bertha Iron Update
2009 Big Bertha Diablo Driver released
2012 Big Bertha Titanium 454 Driver released
2014 Callaway updates the Big Bertha Driver/ Big Bertha Alpha Driver released
2015-18 Great Big Bertha Driver/ Big Bertha OS, OS Senior Irons/ Great Big Bertha Epic Irons, Epic Pro, Epic Star Irons released
2019 Big Bertha B21 Driver/ Big Bertha B21 Irons released

Callaway Pros

Although the Big Bertha line was designed to help high-handicappers play better, touring pros benefit from other clubs in the Callaway lineup. Phil Mickelson, Jon Rahm, Henrik Stenson, and Xander Schauffele headline a group of more than three dozen Callaway staffers on the PGA Tour. Callaway also has more than 50 players on staff among the LPGA, Korn Ferry and Champions Tours, including icons like David Leadbetter, Annika Sorenstam and Pete Cowan.

Image: Scott Olson/Getty Images News via Getty Images

About the Author

Savannah Richardson is a staff writer for GolfLink. She’s a daily golfer and has worked for two years covering amateur and professional golf events with and The Brunswick News. She has a degree in journalism from the University of Georgia.