Colorado reader Howard Gluckman writes about Mike Johnson's "Buyer Beware" story in the Feb. 29 issue of Golf World:
I was disappointed in the article on counterfeit clubs. I have no doubt that it is a big problem for the manufacturers, and it needs to be stopped. However, there was little information of use to consumers. If ebay and other Internet sources are not valid places to buy legitimate clubs, then say so — and back it up, but otherwise the article should have given us some useful tools for deciding if a club is counterfeit before buying it.
Howard, did you miss the sidebar: "Which is the fake and how to tell?" It has several pieces of advice, including...
If a club lacks a serial number there is a good chance it could be fake...
Beware of brand-new clubs on an Internet auction site. While some stories of "just won in a raffle" or "got as a gift" are true, some aren't.
Or, my favorite...
If a club you are evaluating claims to be titanium and a magnet clings to it, it is fake.
The fact is, as Mike Johnson told me in response to your letter, there are no absolutely hard and fast rules. Some Internet auction sales are fine, for example; some aren't. If a site allows you to examine a club before your payment is forwarded to the seller--golfclubexchange.com, for example--all the better.
Hope this helps.