Callaway 2023 Big Bertha Iron Review

Ed Carruthers puts these high-handicap irons to the test on the golf course to assess the distance and forgiveness on offer

Callaway Big Bertha 2023 Irons
(Image credit: Future)
Golf Monthly Verdict

A visually stunning set of irons that offer plenty of forgiveness, a lot of power and good turf interaction. Higher handicappers will be able to get a lot of value from these clubs as they will stand the test of time and help you progress to shooting lower scores.

Reasons to buy
  • +

    Visually superb

  • +

    Powerful impact sensation

  • +

    Almost certain to improve your consistency

Reasons to avoid
  • -

    Thicker sole may not be for everyone's tastes

  • -

    Can feel a little heavy overall

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Callaway 2023 Big Bertha Iron Review

One golf club franchise that has always got the balance between power, forgiveness and aesthetics spot on is Callaway’s Big Bertha irons. This continues into 2023, with the brand billing its latest iron set as being built “for players seeking a club that is easy to hit, delivers outstanding ball speeds and, best of all, delivers outstanding forgiveness.” Having tested these irons for on a number of occasions now, I can whole heartedly agree they are some of the best irons for high handicap players on the market. 

On first impressions, they don’t actually look like a high handicapper iron. They are meaty but streamlined and feature a stealthy look that manages to look both powerful, modern and somewhat understated. I really liked the visuals and similar to the Paradym irons, they have a spilt back design that comes with a carbon fibre insert that sits just above the sweet spot on the face. That is contrasted against a tungsten weight that rests on the bottom of the club and adds a lot of thickness to its sole, boosting the launch angles. 

Callaway Big Bertha 2023 Irons resting in a golf bag on the course

(Image credit: Future)

The red and black colorway is a real winner here too. It’s a smart look that matches nicely with the Big Bertha metalwoods that I think players of all abilities will enjoy. Setting the club behind the ball, you’ll notice they’re quite a lot bigger than the Paradym irons and even one of the brand’s older mid-handicap models, the XR irons, that I currently have in the bag.

The 2023 Big Bertha irons also come with longer faces too, which helped to frame the ball at address. This was something I really appreciated as a 19-handicapper and even in the lower lofted clubs, the face still sits proudly behind the ball, boosting my confidence levels. 

Callaway Big Bertha 2023 Irons compared against the Callaway XR irons on the golf course

(Image credit: Future)

Callaway claims these are their “easiest clubs to hit” and it’s hard not to disagree. The impact experience both on the range and on the golf course was superb. Thanks to the thicker sole and tungsten weighting, I found the turf interaction was excellent. In fact, these irons are great for players like me who have a tendency to hit the ball a little fat, with mishit shots still carrying solid distances towards the target. Even if you don't strike the ball out of the middle of the club, the Big Bertha irons still deliver fast ball speeds and consistent spin rates.

It's clear the brand has certainly crammed a lot of technology in here, with the Precision Tungsten Weighting in the heel helping to also deliver improved launch control and greater forgiveness, while the clubs utilise lightweight materials to help provide an easy-to-swing package. They are fairly light, compared to many of the best golf irons that are available right now, but the Big Berthas did feel somewhat heavier compared to my current Callaway XR irons.

The sole of the Callaway Big Bertha 2023 Irons (right) compared against the Callaway XR irons (left)

(Image credit: Future)

The impact experience was a lot different between both clubs too. The sensation with the Big Berthas felt a lot more powerful and punchy, almost a little hybrid at times, while my XRs seemed a lot softer. It must be noted I’ve had these XR irons since 2016 so the grooves and face are certainly in no where near as good a condition as these new Big Bertha irons. But the difference was quite noticeable and the Big Bertha felt much hotter off the face, which took some getting used to - especially when it came to adjusting for the extra distance I was getting.

Callaway 2023 Big Bertha Iron at address

(Image credit: Ed Carruthers)

As with the Big Bertha 2023 driver, Callaway's new irons also help to mitigate your slice. I don’t think I pushed the ball once with the Big Berthas during my session on the range or during a round at the Leatherhead club in Surrey. In fact, I actually had one of the best rounds I’ve played recently, simply because the Big Bertha irons kept my ball flying straight and consistently on target. Launch angles were favorable and I really liked the look of the ball flights that started low and rose high in the air.

I was also impressed with the yardage gains on offer here too. The clubs certainly provide you with a lot of assistance if you’re looking to send the ball further. I think those with slower driver swing speeds of around 90mph will certainly benefit from these clubs. The dispersion, particularly in the shorter irons, was impressive too with my shots not falling too far from each other. Especially considering how erratic I can be, this was a real bonus that I can see many players benefitting from. 

For a full set (4-iron to SW) you can expect to pay around $1,440 (£1,149), which is around $300 less than the Paradym irons, but still more than many game improvement irons like the new Srixon ZX4 MK II irons or the Ping G430 irons. But I think the figure is warranted if you're a less experienced player looking to improve. Callaway has packed a lot of user friendliness into these beautiful irons and if you’re a higher handicap golfer, you’ll be able to grow into these clubs and use them as you start to shoot lower scores.  

If you're interested in buying a Callaway golf iron, take a look at our Callaway coupon codes.

Ed Carruthers

Ed has been playing golf for as long as he can remember and is obsessive about the sport. He is regularly sought after by family members and friends for advice on what equipment to buy and uses his background, having written extensively on golf in the past, to produce equipment orientated content for Golf Monthly.  

Having obtained a Masters in Law with Medicine from the University of Liverpool, Ed has recently changed paths into journalism and just last year achieved his NCTJ Sports Journalism Diploma with the Press Association. 

He has written for a variety of media outlets over the years and has interviewed some big names in sport, including Premier League managers, All Blacks Coaches and Grand Slam tennis superstars. He has also worked on some huge sporting events, including the 2021 Australian Open and the 2022 FIFA World Cup. And when he's not writing for Golf Monthly, you'll find him producing news and feature articles for the MailOnline's sports desk, where he covers everything from football to rugby union. 

During his weekends off, you'll likely find Ed heading out for a round at one of his local golf clubs with his friends, and was, up until recently, a member at the Leatherhead Golf Club in Surrey. Ed also plays the saxophone, can tell you some pretty terrible dad jokes and can knock up a very tasty carbonara!