If that brand-spankin'-new Callaway RAZR driver or TaylorMade Ghost Putter you see on eBay for $39.95 seems too good of a deal to be true, chances are it is. There's a thriving business in counterfeit clubs, and they're a lot tougher to weed out than finding the ones spelled "Pinng" and "Titlist."
Good news, though: Life just got a little bit tougher for those trying to pawn off knockoff clubs on an unsuspecting public. Via Hooked On Golf, the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Florida has shuttered more than 175 websites trafficking in counterfeit clubs. This follows the closure of another 60 websites in January.
According to the U.S. Golf Manufacturers' Anti-Counterfeiting Working Group (boy, that's not an unwieldy title at all), more than 130 defendants representing the more than 175 sites sold clubs, balls and other accessories. But if you visit those sites now, boom: no more.
The group tries to educate consumers about the dangers of counterfeit clubs via its website KeepGolfReal.com (motto: "Fake clubs are for fake golfers."). The group includes some of the best-known golf companies in the world, including Callaway/Odyssey, TaylorMade, Ping, Cleveland Golf and more. The group estimates that as many as 2 million counterfeit clubs are manufactured each year, or enough to "stretch from Bethpage Black to Pebble Beach and back again."
So, there you go. If you're going to get a club on the cheap, do it the old-fashioned way: Win it off your playing partner.