Ready to buy golf clubs? You found the right club, are you sure it is not a fake? It does not matter if you are looking for used golf clubs or new golf clubs. The industry making these fakes have been around for a while and can trick many into believing they are the real thing. I found this article that is almost 3 years old where CBS 60 minutes investigated the growing number of fakes coming out of China. The fakes have improved and are even harder to detect since then. So how can you tell a fake golf club from an authentic golf club?
I asked the Scott Francey from Global Golf – one of the largest online new and used golf clubs companies. Scott has over 17 years experience in the golf industry and his department handles about 12,000 different used and new golf clubs every month.
Al: What brands and models are the most faked?
Scott: Many of the top brands like Callaway and Taylor Made are faked most often. We very rarely see fakes from Ping.
Al: What are some of the main things briansclub your team looks for when checking to see if a golf club is a fake or not?
Scott: First thing we look for is the serial number. Around 2002, Callaway started adding serial numbers to their clubs. On woods are printed very faintly on the back of the heel of the head. The serial numbers on their irons on under the grip so they are harder to check. Mizuno and many other brands have their serial numbers on the hosel (part of the head that connects to the shaft) of each wood and iron. Next we look at the logo’s, lettering, and coloring. Many of the fakes use different lettering styles. The color of the club is noticeably different as well. Callaway uses specific unique colors on their clubs. If the shading is a little off, we investigate further because it may be a fake. Some even have misspellings. Instead of “Callaway Fusion” it may say something like “Callaway Fuzion.” One of the last things we look at is the shaft. Another trick is adding a fake shaft to a real head. This is very difficult to find, but the best place to look is the ferrule (the piece that connects the shaft to the head). If it is not a ferrule the brand uses, the shaft was replaced at one point and it may be a fake. Because we handle so many clubs, we can also tell if the weight is too high or too low for a particular club. If a fake is using a different metal, shaft or head, it will most likely have a different weight.
After Scott’s interview, I visited some of the brand websites and here is information from some of the top brands concerning fakes:
Taylor Made writes: “Authentic Taylor Made golf clubs have a serial number on the hosel of each wood and on the 5-iron or the 7-iron (depending on the model) in each set of irons. If your club does not have that serial number, it may not be a genuine Taylor Made.”
Callaway writes: “If the club is a driver, or a #3 wood, does it have a serial number on the hosel? If you are purchasing a set of irons, does the 8-iron have a serial number on it? If the answer is “no,” there is a very high probability that these clubs could be counterfeit. If the answer is “yes,” but the clubs being offered fit other warning signs in this bulletin (such as a suspiciously low price), be cautious. Some counterfeiters are putting bogus serial numbers on clubs. If you have any hesitation, contact your authorized retailer or Callaway Golf Customer Service. Remember, merely because a club has a serial number does not mean that it is authentic.If the clubs include models that are supposed to be titanium, does a magnet cling to them? If it does, the clubs are counterfeit. A magnet will not cling to titanium.”