In honor of the German cannon
, Richard C. Helmstetter
used the name for a series of golf club
s he designed in the 1990s for the Callaway Golf Company
. The initial Big Bertha club he designed was basically a metal version of a wood driver
, which offered more options for distributing weight throughout the club's shaft and head than were previously possible with solid hickory. Golfers quickly noticed that the Big Bertha allowed them to make straighter shots, even when hitting off-center, and sales skyrocketed.
By 1992, Big Bertha clubs were the most popular club on many professional tours, and Callaway's yearly revenues had jumped into nine figures. Designers at Callaway continued to turn out new versions of Big Bertha metal woods, drivers, irons, and wedges to a public that could not get enough. Callaway honored the source of their prosperity in 1994 when they built a new research and design facility named after and dedicated to Helmstetter.