Callaway Big Bertha Alpha 816 Fairway Wood
    © Callaway Golf

    The Alpha line from Callaway Was first introduced last year with the 815, which was the heir apparent to the Original Big Bertha. The first thing I noticed when comparing the 816 to last years’ 815 is that the 816 has a substantially larger club head. This alone would make it more forgiving. The larger head design has necessitated the slimming down of the 30 gram weight of the 815 to 16 grams. The smaller weight remains the same at 3 grams. The OptiFit hosel still offers an 8-way adjustability. You can add or subtract loft and adjust the lie to fit your swing. The Callaway Hyper Speed Face Cup (sounds like a line from Spaceballs?) is a feature too good to leave off of the Alpha 816 as it increases ball speed so efficiently. It definitely contributes to the feel and sound that this club produces. The set-up is very square and the matte black finish is sharp looking. Callaway claims that this finish also has the effect of shaping the airflow in a way that maximizes club head speed.

    What effect does switching the weights have?

    If you choose to put the heavier weight in the rear, the ball spin will increase, which makes the club more forgiving and produces a higher ball flight. With the heavier weight forward ball spin comes down as does the trajectory. The forward position seems to make the club feel heavier, but I’m sure that is a swing weight issue.


    The club is available in RH (14 degree-165cc head, 16 degree-155cc head and 18 degree-150cc head) and LH (14 degree-165cc head and 16 degree-155cc head). The OptiFit hosel enables adjustments of 1 degree lower or 2 degrees higher within each variation. The stock shaft is the Aldila Rogue 70 and is available in Regular, Stiff and Extra Stiff flex.

    Who is the Alpha 816 fairway wood best suited for?

    Although the larger club head makes one feel that this club is all about forgiveness and thus suited to higher handicap player, this is not the case. This club will perform best with a player that has a higher swing speed and is more consistently on the sweet spot, meaning lower to mid handicap golfers. The Great Big Bertha fairway wood might be a better Callaway wood for the higher handicap player.

    The Alpha 816, with its’ many adjustment should be properly fit to the player. It may take some time to find the variation that suits you best, but, trust me, if you stay with it, you will.