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Beware of Counterfeit Golf Equipment

Counterfeit golf equipment may become more prevalent than it already is. Here are some tips on how to protect yourself.  In a recent article on counterfeit golf equipment, Barney Adams, the founder and retired CEO of Adams Golf had this to say:

“The TaylorMade scenario of pushing the market with constant product reached the predictable overload, with the company’s drop in sales giving way to margin-driven efforts. This means higher prices by the major manufacturers, and retailers being held to honoring suggested retail prices. Translation: More out of your pocket when it’s club-buying time”

With the prices of golf equipment already high and the possibility of them going higher more consumers may start looking for ways to save money and the lure of really great prices on name brand equipment may become too tempting.

In a seminar that I attended put on by Titleist one of the points they brought up was they had determined that approximately 60 per cent of the Pro V1s sold on the internet were counterfeit. If you find them out there for prices in the low $30.00 or high $20.00 range, unless they are used, they are counterfeit. On top of that the U.S. Golf Manufacturers Anti-Counterfeiting Working Group estimates that there are over two million fake golf clubs sold each year.

While counterfeit equipment is illegal, knock-off clubs are not because they don’t pretend to be brand name. As a golf professional for most of my adult life I have had a great deal of experience with both and neither option is any good.

Here are a few tips on how to avoid buying bogus golf equipment:

  • Feedback – don’t buy from anyone that has a significant amount of negative feedback. I have been selling on eBay for years and can tell you that you want to deal with someone in the high 90’s on positive feedback. Preferably on their Top Seller list with at least 500 or more feedbacks.
  • Serial Numbers – ask for serial numbers. If they don’t have them they are fakes.
  • Photo’s – Make sure they have more than one high quality photo. Sometimes the only indication is colors don’t match the real thing or the lettering is off slightly.
  • Ferrules – major brands usually have unique ferrules which are the little plastic things where the shaft joins the club head. The counterfeiters rarely match those.

If you do end up with one that is suspicious try the “magnet test.” A magnet will not stick to titanium.

One final note on a slightly different topic – don’t waste money on components and try to make your own clubs. If you have a friend that does that for a hobby, that is also a waste of good money. Certified club makers and fitters can make good equipment, but they thousands of dollars invested in the equipment to fit you.

Just remember the old sayings, “If it sounds too good to be true, it usually isn’t” and “you usually get what you pay for.”

Written by BP Staff

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