Spotting counterfeit golf gear

June 13, 2013 4:06:10 PM PDT
As golf's technology gets more advanced, the cost of golf clubs keeps going up. That can bring out the deal seeker in all of us. But those high prices are also making high end golf equipment the perfect target for fakes.

If you want to win like Tiger Woods or swing like Titleist sensation Adam Scott, the cost of gearing up for the game can be $2,000 for the newest technology.

The search for deals sends some money-conscious golfers online, but before you click "buy" be warned -

"They're like 'hey I'm getting a great deal,' well, you get what you pay for," Jason Rocker of Keepgolfreal.com said.

A simple search can send you to a legitimate looking site; counterfeit clubs can still cost hundreds of dollars, which may seem pretty expensive for a fake.

"They are making it just enticing enough to say that seems legitimate enough in terms of price that it's a good deal, but not so outrageous that it's a dead giveaway," Rocker said.

To the naked eye counterfeit golf clubs and golf balls look very similar to the real deal.

The real difference is inside.

"When you open them up, a typical club is weighted, it's hollowed out intentionally to make sure that it has the right angle, the right flow, the right weight. The counterfeit club is solid; you may as well be hitting the ball with a ball-peen hammer," Rocker said.

The U.S. Golf Manufacturers Anti-Counterfeiting Working Group cut open some counterfeit clubs and golf balls for us to show the differences.

"The real golf ball is symmetrical all the way around. The material is specifically engineered for distance. The fake ball, it's not even a circle and I don't know what that material is in there, it could be cork," Rocker said.

So while your clubs may look like the ones carried by pros, they may, in fact, be ruining your shot.

"We've seen everything from a lack of distance and accuracy to real safety issues where people swing the club and the shaft shatters or the head flies off mid-swing. So it's a significant issue and people really need to be aware of where they are buying from," Rocker said.

The Anti-Counterfeiting Group says most of the fakes are being shipped here from China, so that should be one red flag.

They estimate nearly 2 million counterfeit golf clubs are produced every year.

Their best advice is to always buy from an authorized dealer and buyers should be cautious of a deal that looks too good to be true.


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