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Golf World Monday: The Counterfeit Crisis

March 21, 2011

From the March 21 issue of Golf World Monday:

As the golf season gets underway, anxious golfers want to upgrade their clubs. For those who do so via Internet auction sites or websites that are not authorized dealers, the old rule applies: Buyer beware.

That's because every year unknowing golfers in the U.S. purchase hundreds of millions of dollars of counterfeit clubs. As Wayne Mack, coordinator of the Golf Manufacturers Anti-Counterfeiting Working Group, said, "If you took all the counterfeit clubs bought in the U.S. last year and laid them down side by side, they would stretch from Bethpage Black to Torrey Pines."

Take a look at the photos. Can you tell which clubs are legit and which ones are fake? Yet while these clubs may look remarkably similar to the real thing, they are miles apart in technology. Shoddy manufacturing processes, cheap materials and a total lack of quality on anything other than cosmetics rob golfers of the performance they are paying for.

Oh, the fakes in the photos are the clubs on the bottom in all four instances. If you didn't instantly realize that, just remember: That bargain you think you're getting off the Internet may not be such a good deal after all.

-- E. Michael Johnson