Monday, April 6, 2009

Ever buy a (Fake) Golf Club on ebay ?

I will be the first to admit that I am a frequent buyer/seller of golf equipment. Sometimes new, sometimes used, sometimes from my local shops, sometimes online. I probably fall into that category that people call an "equipment junkie", but I prefer to think that this is just a part of me staying current on what's happening with my favorite hobby.

Anyway - there is a story here, so let's get started with it. Like many golfers, I carry a couple of hybrids in my bag. Unlike many golfers, it took me FOREVER to find some hybrids that I could actually hit. I tried (I am not kidding here) at least 10 different hybrids - Adams,Callaway, Ping, Titleist, Cobra, TaylorMade, Sonartec, etc.... Finally, I found a model that I could play - the TaylorMade 2007 Burner. Once I realized that I really liked these clubs, and considered how blazingly fast TM releases new models, I started to think that maybe I should purchase a "back up" set of these. When TM did indeed release the successor to the "original" Burner hybrid, I tried them out, and found that I liked the originals better. This sealed the deal for me, and my search for a backup set was on.

I decided that I would wait a little while for the new model to proliferate, thus reducing the prices of the "originals". I also decided to purchase the clubs on steel shafts, as I wished to upgrade to UST aftermarket shafts. Ultimately, I located a 3h and a 4h from two different, high volume, reputable sellers on eBay. I was able to buy both clubs for a total cost of $150 bucks - all in all a pretty sweet deal. Once I got the clubs, I inspected them and they looked great - brand new, perfect condition, still in the plastic. I was very satisfied with these products from two sellers, each of whom had over 3,000 positive feedback remarks on ebay. I then took them to my local GolfSmith store for the new shafts to be installed, and was very pleased with them when they came home.

Here is where the story gets interesting.... about 2 months afterward, I was switching my clubs from one bag to the other. For some reason, I laid the "original" 3H alongside the "backup" 3H and noticed something funny. The clubs looked noticeably different when compared side by side. Closer inspection revealed that "the backup", which I purchased from (sellers name redacted), was taller and had a different curve to the sole than the original. Puzzled, I compared the 4H set - SAME EXACT RESULT. I checked out the graphics, paint, serial number configurations - and it all checked out... but they were clearly different. A quick trip to my favorite local golf store for an inspection, and a call to TaylorMade with the serial numbers confirmed my suspicion - I was the proud owner of two counterfeit TM Burner hybrids. See the picture below for a comparison of a REAL TM product (left) with a counterfeit (right).

The amazing thing about this whole deal is that (1) I bought them from two different sellers, (2) I bought them from highly reputable, high volume sellers, and (3) both of the fakes looked EXACTLY the same. Somewhere, there is a factory cranking out a lot of very authentic looking, but fake golf clubs, folks... I have since destroyed the fake heads, and PayPal was super cool in handling the situation - full refund, no questions asked. I wish there was some great,revealing, enlightening moral to this story - but there is not. All I can offer is "caveat emptor", - because there are a lot of crooks out there...


Anonymous said...

I also have a clone golf club. The only difference is that I sought out the less expensive club. My irons are TM and I own two TM rescue clubs, 16 and 19 degree loft and was looking to add to my set. I found the clone clubs at a much much cheeper price, and was extremely suppried at how well they performed on the course. Yes it would be frustrating to pay the money for an authentic TM club and receive something else, but remember, it's not the clubs fault if you put the ball in the woods. I would recommended to the self proclaimed "equipment junkie" to stop worrying about the name on his clubs in his bag, and worry more about the game he plays.

Cash said...

Dear Anonymous,
Thanks for reading Bushwood, and for your comments. I won't debate you regarding how the balls get in the woods - my point here is that TaylorMade and people who are buying the fake clubs are BOTH getting ripped off. Whoever is making these clubs is violating TM's trademarks - which is pretty much a criminal activity. Similarly, whoever is selling them is not only breaking the law, but is also violating the public's trust - both a criminal act and some pretty bad karma...

Shades said...


Great post! I too think I may have a knock-off driver that I bought on ebay last year. After reading you post today, I went out and got the new Adams Speedline driver at Edwin Watts. There, on the front counter, they had 3 driver heads that were all knock-offs on display. They were almost identical to the authentic drivers.

A said...

Bushwood... so that's where the Bush's live?

A said...

Fake golf clubs? Yeah, a lot of that exists online esp. Craigslist.

Francis said...

The fact:
After the first time I played with the driver bought at "", it started making a nasty rattling noise inside the club head.
Through a friend (dealer) I returned the club to Taylormade assistance and they just replied that the Driver is not Original.

Here is reply:

Date: Tue, 08 Feb 2011 23:01:19 -0700
To: xxx
Subject: RE: R: I: DRIVER R9 SUPERTRI 9.5 SHAFT Order number: XXXX

Dear XXX
Nice to get your reply.
We are sorry for the quality problem .All the parts of the clubs are produced by original brand products, they are just not assembled by the original brand company.So the product can not be verified by the Taylormade. But their quality and performance are as well as the products which totally made by original factory.
Now i have sent the picture to our manager.You can get a satisfied result within at most 2 days.


Golfkurse said...

Bats are available in sets or individually. Beginners should be given the opportunity to deal with several clubs and have an idea of ​​what to do. Most shops are a place for customers to try the club and it is certainly a good idea to do so. It 's always best to take a decision such as the incorrect length of the club will affect not only golf, but can cause injury. Most beginners should not go for the cheapest route and either take a used or pre-packaged set of clubs. Bats are extremely expensive equipment and want to make sure serious about sport, beginner, before making such an investment.