The counterfeiting of golf merchandise—clubs and balls, but also bags and apparel—is a whopping business. A working group established to fight counterfeiting nine years ago by the five biggest golf manufacturers estimates that fake golf gear approaches 10% of the legitimate market world-wide.I think my Christmas present from a local store (a TaylorMade Burner Superfast driver) should be o.k. I'll find out as soon as this godforsaken snow melts...
Big raids inside the U.S., like the one in South Carolina, are rare, however, because 95% of the U.S. counterfeit golf trade is online, with the products delivered directly to individual consumers, according to the group...
From the exterior, the best counterfeit golf clubs these days can be hard to differentiate from legitimate clubs. "These guys have become very good at what they're doing," said Kerry Kabase, vice president of purchasing for Edwin Watts Golf. The old telltale signs, such as irregular paint and misshapen hosels, with glue oozing out, are less common.
At a recent golf-industry show, however, the U.S. working group displayed examples of counterfeit clubheads sawed in half, and you can see the type of irregularities that impact performance: irregular interior walls, or supposedly hollow iron-head cavities that instead are solid steel. Performance is erratic. Some fake clubs may play decently well for high-handicappers, others less so. One common flaw is inconsistent performance among irons in a set.
There are virtually no counterfeit clubs or balls sold at authorized retail outlets in the U.S., the group says. If you're shopping online, however, beware any club set whose price seems too good to be true—especially if the order will be shipped from China.
27 March 2013
Don't buy premium golf clubs online
Advice from a Wall Street Journal article: