All in all, a very pleasant and pain free buying experience. Great communication and quick delivery. My first impression of the club is that it’s well assembled and has top quality parts. The website could use a little more tweaks in usability, however.
I recently decided to replace the five iron in my bag with a hybrid. Normally, I’d head to Golfsmith, get the parts and do it myself. I’ve been making clubs for years, and derive great satisfaction from the work. However, as I had recently been given a gift certificate to GigaGolf, I decided to order a hybrid from there instead.
GigaGolf is an internet-based company that assembles custom golf clubs from components. In this, they fill a definite niche in the golf market. They don’t offer original designs backed by hundreds of millions in R&D like the major manufacturers, but they also are light years ahead of department store brands such as Knight, Golden Bear, and JP Lann.
In using parts from major component manufacturers, GigaGolf places itself squarely in the “smart follower” category. Most of the component companies don’t do original R&D (Golfsmith and GolfWorks are the exceptions), but are content to seize upon established technologies from the big boys. Thus, what you are getting is often last year’s design.
And that’s where the cost savings come from. Because they don’t spend millions on R&D, the component guys can offer clubs at substantially reduced prices without skimping on material quality. Parts from the larger name component guys are constructed from the same steel and titanium as the name brands. (not so from the department store clubs, which are often made from cheap alloys.)
The GigaGolf site is relatively easy to use. On the main page, a series of slide-out menus allow you to narrow your selection by hand, club type and model. I had a little bit of trouble keeping the menus in position, so I eventually used the alternate method and clicked on a link in the sidebar that said “View All Clubs”
On the interior pages, the models are listed in rows, with a picture, a three or four word description and a cute line which says “Well Equipped ... $xx.xx.” It reminded me of those car ads that offer a car at such and such a price, “well equipped.”
Clicking on a link takes you to the model’s page, which shows a larger picture, and a longer description, as well as a link for a pop-up window with customer comments. Technical specifications, such as loft and lie, face angle, face height also are available.
I really wanted more information, though. The paragraph for the Acer XP Hybrid lacked any discussion of the club’s features, benefits, etc. At the very least, it would be good to know which major manufacturer’s design features it shares. They could put in a line like “Has many of the features of the Callaway Heavenwood”—or some similar lawyer-approved phrase.
In the case of the Acer XP Hybrid, it looks an awful lot like last year’s Callaway hybrid - a design that I liked. I also liked the neutral face angle; I don’t need help closing the face on my hybrids. So that was the one I decided to go with.
Buying a club follows the purchasing system used by Dell. You select a base model, and then are given the opportunity to make changes and additions, each of which adds some sum to the price.
The base price was $26 (and that ultimately was what I stuck with), but I could have added customizations that increased the price to as much as $48.25.
Customizing the club is very easy on the GigaGolf website. At the bottom of each product page are vertical tabs, which allow you to select the specific model, the grip size. shaft and flex, and shaft length.
Under the grip tab, you can select from eleven different grip manufacturers and models. The standard GigaGolf grip is included in the club’s base price; others add from $1 to $3.75 to the price.
You also can chose your grip size. To help you do this, there is a popup window that lets you enter your hand and finger measurements; it then gives you a recommendation.
The shaft/flex tab lets you choose from 13 different models. The base shaft is a True Temper Feather Flight (exclusive to GigaGolf); you also can get Graffaloy, UST and Royal Precision models for an additional charge.
Finally, you can also chose to add or subtract length in quarter inch increments from the standard,. To help you with this, there is another pop up window that lets you enter your height for recommendations.
Curiously, there is no place to enter measurements for wrist-to-floor, which as a clubmaker I can tell you is more important than height.
Before adding the club to your cart, there is another tab that lets you review it all.
The checkout system is of the type that you will find in tens of thousands of online stores. You just fill in the appropriate information and click your way through.
Communication after the purchase was excellent: After the purchase, I got an email confirming my order and telling me exactly what options I had chosen. The next day, I got an email telling me that my club was in production.A day after that, another email informed me that my club had been shipped. The email contained a link to the UPS site and a shipping tracking number.UPS delivered it three days later.
The club arrived in a standard club shipping box, packed with paper to keep it from rattling.
I haven’t had a chance to try the club yet, but my initial impressions are that it is a quality piece of equipment. The head has a nice solid feel, and of good quality. It is free from burrs, misalignments or any of the other things that mark an inferior component.
Assembly also was first rate. The ferrule is flush with the hosel (a good sign ... on quality clubs, they merge smoothly into one another). The grip is aligned properly.
It’s also reassuring to know that if I don’t like the club, there is a 30-day playing guarantee.
In all, I found the GigaGolf buying experience to be a good one. I especially liked the extra effort that went into the reassuring emails. After the one telling me that my club was in production, I was half expecting the club to arrive in the box with a birth certificate.
I’ll write a more detailed review of the club as soon as I’ve played a few rounds with it.