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trust no one: the plague of counterfeit golf gear


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A long time ago, in 2005, i had the chance to try a counterfeit golf driver: a callaway big bertha 454 and compare it with my original callaway driver, same model.

it was a terrible copy, you could have tell just watching at it and the performance and the feeling were just a joke, losing a lot of distance .

 

Fast forward to 2020, I had the chance to try fake taylormade p7tw, compared side by side with my same retail club, same shaft.. cosmetically they are identical

I hit some shot and the overall feeling is good, there is no suspect of counterfeit club and no differences, except the price tag one mine have one more zero at the end 2200€ vs 290€

 

This test left me with several doubt, maybe the difference can still be noticed with drivers, I can't talk about them cause I have no evidence, but I found online with a quick research most of the wedges, putters and iron set, most of them listed without the brand but if you ask for the original photos to the seller you will see the exact copy, even some staff bags are up there. 

I don't feel comfortable in buying new or used gear anymore, after 20 years playing golf and countless gear trades I thought I had the skill to see what I have in my hands.

 

How can i spot if the seller is just buying cheap copy to resell at retail price..?

have you ever come across fake golf clubs made in the last year? what are your experience?

 

 

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Learn to play left handed. Not many LH clubs floating around.

That is one positive yes....we're not a big enough market to scam LOL   All of my clubs have been ordered through my courses pro shop or golf town. Not everyone can afford to do this, so for

Took a flier on the bay on a set of T200s because the price was great, seller was Canadian and had a 100% rating on 299 transactions (tho majority were audiophile related) and had the purchase protect

2 minutes ago, iNeedMoreGolf said:

i think this is definitely a thing... probably just have to stick to big retailers if you dont want to get burned. Youll know if the club heads fly off lol.

This. Rick Sheils did a video on fake vs real Taylor made driver. Definite loss in performance, but looks were pretty much identical to the average golfer, and performance was close enogh (not identical like the looks...fake one performed worse but prob would be harder to tell without launch monitor). 
 

its a Game for people with some cash to spare. It’s heavily targeted by counterfeiters 

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I do a lot of golf club trading, well over a 800 trades in 10 years and i have only ever come across 2 fakes, 1 was for an SLDR 3 & 5 wood, and 1 was for a scotty cameron putter, and neither was that long ago.

 

The difference in performance was blatantly obvious, the 3 & 5 wood looks wise were good but performance was truly awful

 

On the scotty the "silver finish" actually came off! 

 

From what i've read and seen fake clubs performance wise is blatantly obvious, there was also a video rick shiels did with a fake M6 driver, again it couldnt be any more obvious once he used it.

 

If in doubt and you still want to buy used i always follow these rules -

 

For Irons -  i generally only buy irons that are not "standard" specs, so custom shafts, custom grips, slightly longer (i can cut them down) and even different lie angles (if forged because they can be adjusted) 

 

Wedges - as above

 

Driver and fairways - sometimes i take a bit of chance because they are the most obvious once you use them, but i will only buy from good sellers.

 

Putters - i only buy from pro-shops

 

 

DRIVER: Taylormade Sim Max 9*

3 WOOD: Adams Tight Lies TI 15*

5 WOOD: Taylormade SLDR 19*

HYBRID: Adams Pro DHY 21 & 24*

IRONS: Ping I500 6-PW

WEDGES: Titleist SM7 Raw 50/54/58*

PUTTER: Taylormade Dupage

BALL: Taylormade TP5x

 

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39 minutes ago, lefty1978 said:

Learn to play left handed. Not many LH clubs floating around.

 

That is one positive yes....we're not a big enough market to scam LOL

 

All of my clubs have been ordered through my courses pro shop or golf town. Not everyone can afford to do this, so for college students or young people get starting in business etc...not everyone can drop like 3000$+ on a new set. So they are probably more at risk buying off Ebay or Kajiji etc. Which sucks. 

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Callaway Mavrik Max 9 w/Hzrdus Smoke Black 80
Ping G410 LST 13 w/Ping Tour 75
Ping G400 Crossover 20 w/KBS Tour Prototype 85
Ping G410 4-SW w/S300
Titleist Vokey SM8 60 M grind

Deschamps Blade 375g

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Took a flier on the bay on a set of T200s because the price was great, seller was Canadian and had a 100% rating on 299 transactions (tho majority were audiophile related) and had the purchase protection through paypal.  Was easy to tell the heads were fake once you got them in hand, got my money back a few weeks later and now have a fake set sitting in my garage I don't know what to do with...

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SM 3.5 Bag:

TM Sim 10.5* w/ Ventus Black 6x Velocore

TM Sim 14* w/ Kai'Li 80X

Titleist TS3 19* w/ T1100 S

Ping I210 4-UW w/ Rifle 6.5 SSx1

Ping Glide 2.0 54 SS & 58 TS

Odyssey Tank Cruiser 

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There was a review on youtube with a real TS3 and fake TS3, performance was obvious in that one as well.  I would imagine irons and wedges would be much closer performance wise, or atleast hard to tell for the average golfer playing 3 or 4 times per year.

 

To me the items to be extra diligent when purchasing are golf pride grips (mostly MC's), GD AD DI/IZ/BB shafts, TMade woods and Cameron Newports.  Obviously there are others to be wary of but these seem like the big ones.

Edited by Stetson

Driver: Ping G410 LST (Diamana ZF)
5w:  Titleist TS2 (Ventus Blue)
3H: Titleist 818 H2 (Ventus Blue HB)
or 3i: Cobra King Utility 21* (Tour AD DI)
4-P: PXG 0311T (KBS $-Taper)
Wedges: 51* Edel TRP, 55* Edel DVR, 60* Cally MD5
Putter: PXG Mini Gunboat H

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Way back in the day when Callaway's premier driver was the Hawkeye titanium head with a screw-in weight on the sole, I knew a guy whose machine shop was contracted to produce some of the heads. 

 

He said Callaway was so focused on preventing fakes that they only sent him one screw-in weight to use when testing the heads. 

Seems like the horse has left the barn now. 

 

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The adage that goes "if it looks too good to be true, it probably is" will forever be true. I use that as my starting point.

 

I buy a fair bit of stuff second hand, some online and some in person. I thankfully have not been burned on a purchase.

 

Ebay is usually the best route, because if it's fake, you can usually dispute and get your money back. I stick with Ebay for that, and the fact that I can look at the sellers reviews and I try to stick with sellers that offer a returns policy. 

 

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I buy from 4 sources. Direct from the company, a big www company, the pro at the local golf course, and a major sporting goods store. Each one has something to lose from selling fake clubs. Never buy from someone who says it can give great discounts, don’t care who says they’re legit. And I never by used clubs. 

Edited by NoTalentLefty

Livin' proof that Lefties are not naturally talented.

Driver Callaway Epic Flash 10.5 set to 9.5
3 Wood Epic Flash set to 16 degrees
3-5 Hybrids Epic Flash 18 20 23 degrees
6 hybrid Big Bertha 26 degree 
7-AW Callaway Mavrik Irons 
50 degree GW Vokey SM7
56 degree SW Vokey SM7
Odyssey White Hot V-Line Fang

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36 minutes ago, Red4282 said:

So why dont these companies use serial numbers to authenticate? Is it because they dont have the resources to verify thousands and thousands of requests?

Ping and Mizuno use serial numbers 

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I think you really only run the risk of encountering counterfeit golf products if you fall into 1 of 2 camps:

 

1. People looking for an unreasonably good deal.

2. People looking for rare and/or singularly expensive products (i.e. Scotty 009, Tour Issue Driver, Exotic Aftermarket Shaft)

 

Often times people are looking for both at the same time - which is a dangerous combination.

 

If you want the cool new golf product and a reasonable level of assurance that it is legitimate, you are kind of limited to laying out the MSRP with a reputable retailer.  

Edited by jholz
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Cleveland Launcher HB 10.5* - Stock Miyazaki C. Kua 50 Stiff
Callaway Diablo Octane Tour 13* - Aldila NV 75 Stiff
or
Callaway Diablo Edge Tour 15* - Accra Dymatch M5 75
Mizuno F-50 18* - Stock Stiff
or
Callaway Diablo Edge Tour Hybrid 21* - Aldila NV 85 Stiff
Callaway RAZR Tour Hybrid 24* - Stock XStiff
5 - PW Cleveland CG7 Tour Black Pearl - DGSL S300
Cleveland 588 RTX Rotex 2.0 50* DG Wedge
Cleveland 588 RTX Rotex 2.0 54* DG Wedge
Callaway X-Series JAWS Slate CC 58* Stock Wedge
Odyssey White Ice #7 - Golf Pride Oversize

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A basic blade or simple CB iron has virtually no interesting modern technology to speak of. I'd expect copies of those to behave, more or less, like any other simple blade/CB iron - be it counterfeit, legit, or a smaller brand. Hunks o' metal on a stick, sometimes with a bit of lipstick on them to make model changes every couple of years.

 

Drivers, are a whole different beast, and truly copying the OEMs would be a tougher task. Certainly can be done, no doubt, but not nearly so easily. That's where the fake mfrs would choose to cut corners and produce what is mostly a "cosmetic" copy.

 

 

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4 hours ago, bdecena said:

Ping and Mizuno use serial numbers 

 

Ping is also quite good about responding too. I have emailed them regarding authenticity in the past.

 

Mizuno might also be....i just have never tried with them

Callaway Mavrik Max 9 w/Hzrdus Smoke Black 80
Ping G410 LST 13 w/Ping Tour 75
Ping G400 Crossover 20 w/KBS Tour Prototype 85
Ping G410 4-SW w/S300
Titleist Vokey SM8 60 M grind

Deschamps Blade 375g

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40 minutes ago, dubbelbogey said:

A basic blade or simple CB iron has virtually no interesting modern technology to speak of. I'd expect copies of those to behave, more or less, like any other simple blade/CB iron - be it counterfeit, legit, or a smaller brand. Hunks o' metal on a stick, sometimes with a bit of lipstick on them to make model changes every couple of years.

 

Drivers, are a whole different beast, and truly copying the OEMs would be a tougher task. Certainly can be done, no doubt, but not nearly so easily. That's where the fake mfrs would choose to cut corners and produce what is mostly a "cosmetic" copy.

 

 

Just like really bad fake drivers, the counterfeit iron sets are made of absolute pig iron too.

I am not sure I quite agree with that? Have you hit a countefeit?

 

That would be really interesting (if it were even safe to do so) to let people swing counterfeit clubs that the enforcement groups have confiscated. I bet you could tell a Titleist Forged CB in quick order over Titleist Fraud CB.

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32 minutes ago, blueonblack said:

Just like really bad fake drivers, the counterfeit iron sets are made of absolute pig iron too.

I am not sure I quite agree with that? Have you hit a countefeit?

 

That would be really interesting (if it were even safe to do so) to let people swing counterfeit clubs that the enforcement groups have confiscated. I bet you could tell a Titleist Forged CB in quick order over Titleist Fraud CB.

I could tell when i got a fake scotty, just by feel, so in sure you can with an iron too.

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I don’t think I ever got a fake club, but I did get some fake MCC +4 grips off eBay. Should have known the price was too good to be true. 
 

a buddy of mine brought back some horrific Callaway counterfeits from China. I think he bought them just to play a couple of rounds of golf while visiting. Cheaper than renting them he said. 

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I pick 14 of the following:
Ping G400
Ping G410 3, 5 and 7 wood
Ping G 400 4 hybrid
Ping G 4-U
Ping Glide 2.0 Stealth 54, 58 SS
Grips NDMC +4
Odyssey Pro #1 black
Hoofer
ProV1x-mostly
ECCO Biom Hybrid 3

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8 hours ago, Red4282 said:

So why dont these companies use serial numbers to authenticate? Is it because they dont have the resources to verify thousands and thousands of requests?

The counterfeiters will place a legit serial numbers on their fakes.

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Yes i realize that but it can be done, perhaps an additional certificate to go along with it. Heck even chip em. I dunno, just think id they were losing THAT much money, they would be proactive. I dont think you will ever get rid of counterfeits online, they can show a pic of real deal and send you the fake. But theres got to be a way for average joe to know if its real or not when they have it in their hands.

Edited by Red4282
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I recently bought a bag full of old clubs for about $10. I bought it for the 3-LW set of BeCu Ping EYE2s and the BeCu PAL4 putter, but there were also a couple of Honma persimmon fairways that caught my eye. There was also a very dubious looking Scotty Cameron putter. I don't know much about Scotty Cameron putters, but I was pretty sure it was fake (the plastic cherry bombs were the first giveaway...😄), and after I posted some pictures here, I was told exactly what was wrong with it. 

 

Like I said, I don't know much about Scotty Cameron putters, but I can't believe his real stuff feels anything like my fake one. The feel off the face is really odd, kind of dead.

 

I'd imagine fake irons would be similar. Counterfeiters would use the cheapest methods and materials since they're only trying to make the club look authentic, not sound or feel authentic.

Let me put it simply: You wouldn't forge and forged club by forging it. Right?

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15 hours ago, extrastiff said:

This. Rick Sheils did a video on fake vs real Taylor made driver. Definite loss in performance, but looks were pretty much identical to the average golfer, and performance was close enogh (not identical like the looks...fake one performed worse but prob would be harder to tell without launch monitor). 
 

its a Game for people with some cash to spare. It’s heavily targeted by counterfeiters 

If its the same video I saw, the shaft adaptor literally broke after about five shots.  It was pretty funny.  But, like you said, the real and fake looked nearly identical and it was hard to tell the difference.

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8 hours ago, MtlJeff said:

 

Ping is also quite good about responding too. I have emailed them regarding authenticity in the past.

 

Mizuno might also be....i just have never tried with them

 

PING is also happy to tell you over the phone.  I've called to check or given a seriel number when asked for something I'm selling.  They'll look it up and give you all the information from the original tag.

WITB (as of 9/29/20)
PING G410 LST 10.5
PING G400 5-wood
PING G410 22*
Srixon Z565 5-PW
Cleveland CBX 2 50*
Cleveland CBX 2 54*
Cleveland CBX Full Face 58*
Cleveland Frontline Elevado
Titleist ProV1x

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Counterfeit grips are a huge problem.  Stopped buying them online except for Billy Bob's and GolfWorks.  Forget Ebay and Amazon.

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Adams Speedline 9088UL 10.5* AXIVCore 69 Black (S) Ping G SF Tec 3W, 5W Alta 65 (R) Ping G 4H,5H Alta 70 (R) Ping G 6-U TT XP 95 (soft R) Ping Glide 54*, 58* WS TT XP 100 (R) Ping Darby Sigma G

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On 9/30/2020 at 7:32 AM, gwelfgulfer said:

Took a flier on the bay on a set of T200s because the price was great, seller was Canadian and had a 100% rating on 299 transactions (tho majority were audiophile related) and had the purchase protection through paypal.  Was easy to tell the heads were fake once you got them in hand, got my money back a few weeks later and now have a fake set sitting in my garage I don't know what to do with...

You could make some nice grilling tongs , albeit they would be fake 🙂 

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