Driver comparison: Callaway GBB Epic vs. Great Big Bertha
The Callaway GBB Epic driver is replacing the Callaway Great Big Bertha which was launched at the back end of 2015.
With the Callaway GBB Epic driver we see a raft of improvements and new technologies which should make the new product more forgiving.
The Great Big Bertha was a fantastic product – one of the best drivers out there in 2016 so we were keen to see how the new model compared.
It was time to call the anonymous big hitter into action once more.
Callaway GBB Epic driver v Callaway Great Big Bertha – The methodology
The test took place at the Golf Shack at Moor Allerton in Leeds.
Both drivers were tested using the same Aldila Rogue M•AX 65 stiff shaft with 9˚ of loft.
Results were monitored using Trackman 4 under the watchful eye of our resident pro James Whitaker.
Callaway GBB Epic driver v Callaway Great Big Bertha – The technology
Callaway have moved the sliding weight track to a more central position and have made it shorter than the one on the Great Big Bertha.
The weight is also heavier which Callaway say means there’s 22 percent more shot-shape correction with the Epic than with the Great Big Bertha.
The heavier weight also helps to add a bit more stability, increasing the MOI.
The key new technology in the GBB Epic driver is the use of what Callaway are calling Jailbreak technology.
Two ultra-light (3g) but strong titanium bars sit behind the face, parallel to each other and connected on either end to the crown and sole.
Each Jailbreak bar works together to reduce how much the crown and sole deflect, forcing the face to take on more of the load at impact.
The Epic also has a triaxial carbon crown to allow more weight to be postponed in key areas.
It also has Speed Step crown technology as seen in the XR16 and Big Bertha Fusion drivers to help add clubhead speed.
Callaway GBB Epic driver v Callaway Great Big Bertha – The results
We’d already seen the anonymous big hitter have a go with the Great Big Bertha and it was working fantastically well.
From my own experience, I’d say it was easily one of my favourite drivers of the last 18 months or so.
It looks superb at address, has loads of shelf appeal, has a sweet sound and feel and performs very well.
Maybe not the most forgiving driver on the market but certainly as good as anything when hit out of the middle.
So the GBB Epic had its work cut out from the start.
And it was more than up to the challenge with ball speeds up to 170mph, carry of 290 and a total distance peaking at 316 yards.
As we’d seen from our previous videos on the Epic driver, spin was nice and low while launch was fairly high.
But the Great Big Bertha is definitely one our ABH loves and at times, was able to squeeze out a little bit of extra ball speed and distance.
We’re talking very small amounts here – 2mph or three or four yards.
Callaway GBB Epic driver v Callaway Great Big Bertha – NCG verdict
For me, the Callaway Great Big Bertha was leaning towards being more of a niche product.
It was super premium from a price point of view and didn’t have the same forgiveness levels as the more ‘mass market’ XR16.
But as previously stated, it is as good as anything when hit out of the middle.
I think the GBB Epic driver will have a wider appeal than the Great Big Bertha as it should perform better on off-centre hits.
We’ve seen from our other tests that the ball speed remains fantastic right across the face on the Epic.
Also for those players who need a bit more help dialing in a particular shot-shape, the Epic should offer a bit more in this area.
Callaway GBB Epic driver
In store: January 27
Lofts: 9.5°, 10.5°, 13.5° HT
(Left hand options available in 9°, 10.5° and in 13.5°HT as custom only
Stock shafts: Diamana M+ Green, Project X HZRDUS, Fujikura Pro Green, Aldila Rogue M•AX
For more visit the Callaway website HERE