View Full Version : Golden West pool tables input needed

01-09-2004, 09:19 PM
I need input on Golden West pool tables, specifically quality of play. I need both an excellent furniture piece which complements our new room (which pleases the wife) and an excellent playing table (which pleases my moderate skill, ie. run a table on a good day). Over $5000 (new) is acceptable. While Golden West seems very good at meeting the furniture design criteria (color, style) I have not been able to confirm vendor claims about the "superior" play. After perusing websites for two days and finding information on Brunswick (of course), Diamond, Connelly, Olhausen, Kasson, etc, it's a little scary that not much has been posted about Golden West. I'm especially interested in what happens after a year or two when better tables seem to reveal themselves by NOT being an eyesore or NOT having a problem. So what's the scoop on these guys?


01-10-2004, 01:02 AM
I just bought a used GW table the other night. It turns 2 in March, and not only still looks new, but plays like new as well. I know, I went to a dealer that had a new table on the floor to test it. ;-)

The table in question is The Virginia (http://www.goldenwestbilliards.com/adtemplate.asp?invky=773418&catky=662349). It costs about $1800 brand new, and I bought this one for $750. While at the dealer, I also had an opportunity to shoot on an Olhausen Grand Champion table (the ones they use in the tournaments), and was it ever smooth. Not alot smoother than the GW, but enough you could tell. Granted, the Olhausen had Simonis cloth whereas the GW had the "house cloth" that comes stock. I know that made for some of the difference.

Anyhow, back to the GW. One of the things they do a little different than some companies is attach about an 8" wide piece of 3/4" veneer around the base of the frame, including the cross beams. This veneer is wide enough so that it sits flush with the edge of your slate. They do it this way, so they don't have to attach the wood liner directly to the slate like everyone else does. In essence you accomplish the same goal either way, but I'm not really sure why they decided to do it different than everyone else.

Olhausen also uses a slighly different approach. They have a 3/4" piece of veneer that attaches to the frame like the GW tables, except it is only about 6" wide and DOES NOT extend to the edge of the slate. This particular piece is brand named "UniLiner". They then take their slate and glue either a 3/4" MDF or hardwood backing (customer choice) directly to the slate. Then the slate liner with the wood liner is laid on top of the 8" wide "UniLiner" piece. Supposedly this produces a SUPERIORLY strong frame. I'll spare you all the numbers, but do check out their website (http://www.olhausenbilliards.com) for more info.

As far as I know, everyone else uses a fairly basic frame construction. And a 3/4" wood liner is glued directly to each piece of slate. Then the slate (with wood liner) is set directly on top of the frame.

This is why it is good to check out frame construction. Some guys do it real well, and others just suck. Go look at some quality construction like on a Brunswick Gold Crown. Then compare it. You will see lots of differences. Heck, even Brunswick is making their fair share of crap tables these days. It seems some models are excellent, while many others are selling simply because of name recognization and not because they are solidly built as some of their competitors.

One table I recently had an opportunity to view was a Kasson. Wow, the frame looked spectactular!! Much better than most the others I have seen. Plus they not only used the normal 2 cross beams that run across the width of the table, but they also used 2 cross beams that ran the LENGTH of the table too. Just lots of little details made their frames shine in my eyes. Also, the nice thing is they were selling these "better built" (IMO) tables for about $100 more than some of the cheaper stuff I'd seen at other dealers. I never got to shoot on one of them as the one I was looking at was a demo that had partial slate and then a whole bunch of frame exposed. But I expect it played very well.

But jumping back to the quality of the GW tables. The one I got is towards the bottom end because of the price range I had to work with, but still I would say overall the table is probably a 7.5 or 8 on a scale of 1 to 10. Playability is excellent, although they could have done a little better on the frame build. Still it's not bad, and will last for at least 40+ years I'm sure.

One thing is for sure, the table is more than capable of handling a mediocore player with the occassional running of the rack. I did that the other night when I picked up the table. Nothing like spanking the owner before you take his baby away...hehe.

If I had $5k to spend on a table, I'd probably go with an Olhausen or Kasson table. Heck, that Kasson I saw was only around $1900, so I'd have change to spare. If I wanted to spend all my money I'd get a Brunswick Gold Crown IV or Diamond. They are the best, and with that price range you can afford it. Of course, they are more competition style tables, and not so pretty for the wife. I'd risk it though as I personally think all that fancy stuff is just a waste of $$...but being married myself I understand the value of a happy wife!

Good luck!!

01-10-2004, 07:02 AM
I originally bought a 9ft Brunswick table with the scroll legs and ball & claw feet...about $3k. It played fine but I wanted something with less furniture quality and more pool playing quality so I sold it and got a Diamond Pro. /ccboard/images/graemlins/laugh.gif /ccboard/images/graemlins/wink.gif /ccboard/images/graemlins/cool.gif /ccboard/images/graemlins/grin.gif I'm happy. Vitale makes a truly beautiful table...or at least the ads in the magazines sure look beautiful.

01-10-2004, 08:24 AM
I realize you are referring to "plywood" when you say 3/4 inch "veneer". Plywood consists of several pieces of veneer glued together.

I think you made the right choice in buying the GW. As far as I can see from their website the Olhausen does not use a center beam and the GW does. Even such a respected manufacturer as Brunswick is putting out crap without a center beam. If you want no support in the center of the slates go ahead and buy a table without a center beam.

I mentioned to you before that Olhausen's uniliner is just something they had to add to compensate for an inadequate frame design. You apparently believe that manufacturers add features just because they like to make their tables stronger and more costly. Believe me that they don't add anything they don't need.

Look at Gabriels. They went to a metal frame and then found out that, surprise, surprise, METAL BENDS! They added a cable to hold the frame up and now they tout that as a great new feature of their design. Do you think that would be there if they didn't need it?

You need view these "features" with a more critical eye.

Joe Marra
01-10-2004, 08:39 AM
Ken, the reason we added the cable to our Vector model, is that when we moved the legs toward the ends of the table for the look we wanted and we couldn't use a stretcher. We had to support the slates another way. The cables were the solution. We don't have to on our Signature Pro model because we have pedestals and a stretcher.

01-10-2004, 09:01 AM
Thanks for the clarification, Joe. The Gabriels is a great table and I hope to get a closer look if I can bring myself to walk around in the smoke at Valley Forge. I didn't go last year but did talk to you the year before. They should provide gas masks at that event; it's a disgrace.

01-11-2004, 01:06 AM
Yeah, I should have said plywood instead of veneer...sorry about that. And yes, I do remember the other thread you noted about perhaps the Olhausen had a smaller frame and was the reason they used the UniLiner. I suspect you are right, but the thing that amazes me is that according to their test results, the UniLiner table actually can support up to 10k pounds of weight whereas the tables with a center beam and NO UniLiner was around the 5500 lb. mark. Two key factors here:

1) Who in the world will ever place 5,500 lbs on their table let alone 10,000. To compare to this degree is almost ridiculous, nonetheless, it would appear this does make their overall table stronger.

2) Anytime a company pays for it's own test and then distributes it as a propoganda...it automatically gets the raise of the eyebrow. I'm not saying it was altered or anything, but for rock solid credibility, it is best to have an independent 3rd party handle all testing.

Personally I have no idea how that "UniLiner" can be stronger than a center beam going lengthwise down the table. It just doesn't make sense to me. Although I don't understand the logic, I also know that every Olhausen table I have played on has performed exceptionally well. The playability I've seen on both new & used tables are great, and truly the reason I recommended them.

And I do agree with you on the fact that Olhausen, or any table manufacturer, will take and exploit the crapola out of a feature their table REQUIRES to be sufficient, yet make the consumer feel it is technically advanced above everyone else. But hey, that's the way the game is played I suppose.

But at the end of the day, I still feel the Olhausen deserves a serious look. BUT DO NOT FORGET THE KASSON TABLE. I still cannot get past how well these tables are built, and for such a reasonable price. Of course, for the budget he has to spend there are ALOT of nice choices.

01-11-2004, 10:25 AM
I think that the uniliner is used to make up for the small bearing surface that supports the slate. Without a center beam the frame has to be very wide to prevent the slate from sagging too much. Look at the very wide frame that Brunswich uses when they omit the center beam.

I would avoid Brunswick and go with Diamond who uses a center beam. A wider frame is no substitute for a center beam which actually supports the slate in its center.

I think you will find that the uniliner does absolutely nothing to increase the strength of the frame. Notice that the website states that it "keeps the slate flat and level". That's the increase in strength they are talking about. All it does is add a little support to the center of the slate by balancing one slate against the other. That way all the slates are going up and down depending on the force on any one. Just don't put any pressure on the center of the slates when you play on an Olhausen.

01-12-2004, 07:28 AM
I first started paying attention to the center beam after reading Gandy's site on table construction. After that I started looking at different brand tables with center beams thinking they were probably well made. I looked at some nice tables including antique Brunswick, Connelly Ultimate and the high end AMF brand. What I found out was that although these tables had center beams they were not actually supporting the slate, nor were they bolted or glued in. It seemed that either they were there for looks or the table mechanics were not placing shims under them to offer more support. When I would reach under the table and grab one of the center beams it would just rattle around. So, just because there is a center beam doesn't mean it is doing anything.

One other thing that I didn't know but many of you might already know is it is not necessarily the table frame sagging under the weight of the slate, but the frame actually pulling apart or spreading over time due to the weight. The reason you see so many GC1's still around is because the frames are bolted together and dowled with long bolts threading into the side supports. No angle iron is used in the corners to hold the thing together.

Just thought I would throw that out there for whatever it's worth.

01-12-2004, 10:28 AM

Goldenwest tables out of Santa Ana, Ca? I have one. Would I do it again? The answer is no. Why? The one and only reason is their rails. Their rails are not at a consistent height which causes balls to slightly jump off the table after contact. When I first got the table it was bad. They came out and fixed it but it is still not perfect. Another guy that has the same table as mine has the same problem. I don't know the table model but I spent about 2400.

Good luck.


01-12-2004, 09:42 PM
<blockquote><font class="small">Quote NEMO:</font><hr> Charlie,

Goldenwest tables out of Santa Ana, Ca? I have one. Would I do it again? The answer is no. Why? The one and only reason is their rails. Their rails are not at a consistent height which causes balls to slightly jump off the table after contact. When I first got the table it was bad. They came out and fixed it but it is still not perfect. Another guy that has the same table as mine has the same problem. I don't know the table model but I spent about 2400.

Good luck.

Nemo <hr /></blockquote>

Hmmm...my plate says the table came from Portland, Oregon. Also, I might add that all my rails are at the same height and I have no problems with balls bouncing off the table (other than when I break - and that is entirely my fault, not the table's).

I don't know the entire history of Golden West, so perhaps they re-located recently? Maybe someone with some more knowledge of these tables will chime in.

Cueless Joey
01-13-2004, 02:47 AM
Golden West used to be in Orange, California.
Near Chapman and Main. They relocated to Oregon.
I played on one. The balls were hopping funny on the corners. I think their cushions are too low.