Though I understand your solution, and agree that it is definitely the easiest way to solve the problem, I'm also a little disappointed with it.
It seems as though your reasoning for changing the way they were in the first place, is that most of your AI War players were "too strategically conservative", and were therefore never using the golems, in an effort to take the path of least resistance towards victory. I also almost feel that you were worried too much about what your players were or were not doing when you made this change. Sure, a lot of people complained that taking a golem was "just not worth it", but what difficulty were they playing on? When you have so much leeway and room for error while playing against the AI on the lower difficulties, of course people are going to have the option to be "strategically conservative". In fact, I hear it's a very common thing to be able to beat the expansions with no triangle ships at all on lower difficulties, does this mean you should leave this as a strategical norm and make a new mode where you HAVE to use fleet ships to win? Of course not, you feel as though fleet ships should be an integral part of the game, so you therefore nerfed the Starships, tweaked the Guardians, and are now in the process of buffing the fleet ships.
This change is basically showing me that you don't want golems to be an integral part of the game, because you are not changing the game to make them an option, you are simply adding modes which either FORCES the player to get them, or gives them the option to at their leisure (without any consequence).
This probably goes without saying, but for most balance changes, shouldn't the changes be geared towards the game at the highest difficulties? When the player isn't being forced to use every resource at their disposal, and execute every strategical advantage they have over the AI, there will be a massive amount of room for error and "conservative play". What you call being "strategically conservative", I call not being challenged enough. Of course AI War gives players the option to make the game as easy as possible or necessary, but if using a lower difficulty, should these players really be complaining when they are allowed to be "strategically conservative"? The fact of the matter is, there will always be a "threshold" of game difficulty that allows players to be as conservative as they want (more conservative as it gets lower). Attempting to balance game mechanics around this phenomenon is a recipe for disaster.
I don't make this post to criticize, I make it as a result of experience. I've played a lot of different games in my time, that have been balanced in a lot of different ways. The casual and "competitive" crowd are both important (equally important actually), but the difference between the two crowds is that you can not balance the game around the casual crowd, because they are not playing the game to its fullest extent. Do you see what I mean? In Chess, most new or inexperienced players (from my experience) don't use the "castle mechanic" (switching your King with your Rook). This is either because they don't know about it, or they are to inexperienced to see its strategic value in the game. Should the "castle" be changed to where you can switch your King with any piece on the first row as an incentive for more players to use it? Of course not, that's ridiculous. The game is not meant to be played on a level where "castling" is not an important strategic option, and therefore the game will not change in order to placate bad play.
In my opinion, all golems really needed to become a very important choice on the higher difficulties (once again I will reiterate that there are a lot of important things you can get away without on the lower difficulties), was a significant increase in AI Progress upon capturing them. The most important thing to consider would be how much the AI Progress would need to be raised to give players a marginal advantage (on the harder difficulties), while still putting them way behind if they ended up losing the golem. This is a TOUGH CHOICE for the player. It increases the depth and strategical value of the game. Do I take the golem and get significantly ahead? Or do I avoid the risk that I might lose it and become way behind?
I urge you to please make another mode that does not change the AI "difficulty" as it were for having them in the game, but that simply increases the AIP by a certain amount when you use/capture them. This is the mode that actually gives players a choice, instead of forcing them to capture golems or lose, or not really making a difference whether they decide to or not (to be clear, these are not choices, they are simply alternative game modes).
Please note that I am not trying to criticize, I only care about the direction that the game is headed, and I have now seen a developer decision that I believe has removed a ton of depth from the game in an effort to balance it for lower level play (which can't be balanced).