GigaGolf C9 Ti Insert Irons Review

C9 Ti Face Insert

Grade: A-
Comments: You get very good value with these clubs.

This past summer, I got into the market for a second set of golf clubs. My intent was to have a set that I could leave at the Inlaws’ cottage in “Up North” Michigan, so that I don’t have to cart my bag back and forth on short jaunts.

After looking at a variety of options, including new sets on clearance, and used clubs, I decided instead to get a set from GigaGolf. I was intrigued by the technology behind the C9 Titanium Face irons and attracted by GigaGolf’s relatively low prices. I have had good luck with GigaGolf clubs before and given that GigaGolf offers a 30 day playability guarantee, I figured I had nothing to lose.

One of the nice things about ordering from GigaGolf is that you can customize things to your specifications, choosing which clubs are included in the set, grip type and size, shaft type and flex, and adjust length loft and lie. I ordered a 4-SW, plus a gap wedge. Passing on the GigaGolf grips, I had the set made with Lamkins—my favorite. Grip size was standard, but I also could have ordered them in midsize, jumbo, small or junior.

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For the shaft, I decided to go with GigaGolf’s standard True Temper Feather Flight. The online fitting wizard recommended a firm flex (between standard and stiff), regular length and standard loft and lie. I stuck with the recommendations. GigaGolf offers twelve different steel and graphite shafts, so I could have had pretty much anything I wanted.

The ordering process was easy, and communication was good. I got emails confirming my purchase, telling me when the building process started, and when the clubs were shipped. There was a brief delay because of a shortage of the heads, but I was kept apprised of the situation.

From first glance, I could tell that the clubs were well made. As a clubmaker, I know the telltale signs of a poor construction job: ferrules that are not flush, stray bits of epoxy, mis-aligned grips,  inconsistently placed shaft bands and so on. Every one of the GigaGolf C9 irons was well built. Ferrules blended smoothly with the hosels, meaning that they had taken the time to turn them, since no ferrule ever fits properly on a first try. The grips all were aligned consistently. The clubs had been cleaned and wiped free of any stray epoxy. It was clear to me that they had been expertly made by a clubmaker who cares. I haven’t taken one apart to see whether the cuts were even and smooth, but I have no reason to believe otherwise.

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In appearance, the clubs resemble Pings (more about that later). In fact, when Mrs. GolfBlogger first saw them, she said “So you got some Pings.” (I’m proud of the gal. She knows little or nothing about golf, and still could identify a Ping.). The givaway characteristic is the tumbled finish.

At address, the C9s clearly are game improvement irons, with a wider top and sole. They do, however, manage to avoid the volkswagen-on-a-stick look of some game improvement designs.

On the course, the C9 Ti irons have performed well. They are well-balanced and encourage a nice, smooth swing. My 150 club with the C9 set is a smooth seven or a hard eight—about the same distance that I get with my TaylorMade R7 XD irons. The R7 XDs are a good comparison set for the C9 Ti because both have a thin titanium face welded to a hollow steel body.

Ball flight on the C9s was what I expected, and progresses nicely from low to high through the set. Accuracy also met with expectations; I did not detect any marked tendency left or right.

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The feel of the C9s is distinct. To me, it has an almost dead feel at impact—although the ball’s reaction is anything but dead. The ball comes off the face hot, but it doesn’t feel that way. It’s not unpleasant, although not inspiring. I suspect that this might have something to do with the “Power Pad”—about which more later.

The lie angle of the clubs to me seem fairly upright, which fits well with my two plane swing. Someone with a flatter swing plane might want to get the lie angles adjusted.

I have two complaints about the clubs, neither of which is probably legitimate. The first is that I really prefer a shiny finish to the tumbled look; tumbled somehow looks unfinished. The second is that the grooves are very sharp; they tear up ball covers. I actually had to clean bits of the balls from the grooves of the short irons. That may not be such a bad thing, however; sharp grooves could result in more spin. Its also likely that the grooves will wear down a bit with use.

GigaGolf’s C9s apparently are designed to follow the technology found in the Ping Rapture clubs. C9 stands for Cloud Nine, which is close enough to the concept of a Rapture to make the suggestion.

Like the Raptures, the C9s feature a combination of titanium, steel and tungsten. A thin titanium face is welded to a hollow steel body, and a tungsten weight has been added to the toe to balance the clubhead.

The titanium reduces weight on the face, and allows more weight to be distributed to the perimeter of the cavity. GigaGolf says that 30 percent can be saved over a stainless steel face. The redistribution of the weight helps to stabilize the clubhead, reducing its tendency to twist. This makes for a more accurate club.

The tungsten weight on the toe is supposed to add balance to the iron to improve accuracy on mishits. I wonder about this, though. Generally speaking, weight moved to the inside of a club should make it easier to close the face at impact, reducing the tendency to slice.

Behind the clubface, a “power pad” is supposed to offer support and vibration dampening. It looks like a little oval medallion braced against the back of the club GigaGolf says that it functions much as variable face thickness in titanium drivers. It also reduces the deflection of the face by 70%. This, GigaGolf says, results in a larger hitting area and more accuracy without sacrificing the distance offered by the titanium face.

Overall, I’ve found the C9s to be a good value in irons. The materials are top quality, the craftmanship is good, and they play well. Better yet, they are available at a very reasonable price.

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