With Father's Day on the horizon and shopping to be done, it's worth reminding folks that a big problem for the uninformed golf consumer is counterfeit clubs, a subject we've touched on before. Just this morning I received a report from the Golf Anti-Counterfeiting Group of a raid in China of 7,500 counterfeit golf clubs:
"The Golf Manufacturers Anti-Counterfeiting Working Group announced today two successful raids in Shanghai, which resulted in the seizure of more than 7,500 counterfeit golf products. The raids were made possible, in part, by information gathered from prior raids involving the Golf Group. In the last 18 months, the Golf Group has petitioned Chinese law enforcement to execute 18 raids resulting in the seizure of nearly 110,000 counterfeit golf products.
"On April 12, members of the Shanghai Public Safety Bureau (PSB) concluded a month-long investigation with simultaneous raids against two suspected counterfeit operations in Shanghai City. Three suspects, Xue Yan, Zhai Qiang and He Tieqi, were all arrested for their roles in the counterfeiting of thousands of clubs and products. The investigation of their illegal activities began after key details were discovered during a February raid and the subsequent arrest of Zhang Qun. The most recent raids garnered nearly 4,000 pieces of finished or semi-finished golf clubs while the rest of the merchandise included balls, bags and apparel.
"These actions wouldn't be possible without the help of the Chinese authorities and their continued investigations into these issues," said Don Reino, Vice President of Legal Operations for Cleveland Golf. "Their support in the pursuit of these criminal activities helps send a stronger message to the counterfeiters."
"Fighting counterfeit clubs is a long war, but we're trying to take it one battle at a time," said Joe Nauman, Executive Vice President for Corporate and Legal for Acushnet Company. "The counterfeiting of clubs is a global issue but raids often generate new information that leads to future arrests and protects the future of the game."
As the above report details, these clubs, which look like the real deal, are not made the same way, nor do they offer the same guarantees the original products provide. But then you won't know that because what you think you're purchasing and, at times, what the store thinks it's selling, look legit. It's only when they don't work and you want to send them back to the manufacturer that everybody finds out that what you bought isn't worth the copied logos on its cavity badge.
That's why you should make sure you're buying from an authorized dealer by specifically asking that very question, or better, checking with the manufacturer's customer service department to see if the vendor you're purchasing from is an authorized seller.
A good place to go for guidance is the Golf Anti-Counterfeiting Group's website.
--Mike Stachura**Follow me on Twitter @MikeStachura