Golf club counterfeiters found guilty after Chinese bust, with 120,000 pieces of gear confiscated

Jason Lusk
·2 min read

If a deal on a new set of clubs sold online sounds too good to be true, it very well could be. A recent bust of Chinese counterfeiters proved that point and should serve as notice to buy golf gear only from trusted retailers or from equipment manufacturers directly.

Fifteen people in China were convicted this week for their roles in a major counterfeit golf club ring, an industry watchdog association named U.S. Golf Manufacturers Anti-Counterfeiting Working Group reported.

Following what the U.S.-based business group called the largest raid of counterfeit golf gear ever, conducted in 2020, a court in the Chinese district of Pudong convicted all 15 people on trial after the raid. The total case value of the faked equipment was more than $1.8 million and involved 120,000 pieces of equipment falsely carrying the branding of Titleist, TaylorMade, PXG, Ping, Callaway and Cleveland/Srixon.

Thirteen people were convicted for counterfeiting registered trademarks, and two people were convicted for selling them. Combined, the defendants were sentenced to 42 years with fines totaling $574,461. Another person was tried in the case, and the outcome of that trial is pending.

“We are very pleased with the outcome in this case, and we hope it serves as a strong message to any potential counterfeiters and sellers of counterfeit golf products in China or elsewhere that this behavior will not be tolerated,” Jud Hawken, associate general counsel for Ping, said in a media release announcing the verdict. “We will continue to work closely with law enforcement across the globe to take down these counterfeiters, eliminate the selling of these fake products and protect golfers everywhere.”

The case involved raids at 10 locations, including the manufacturer of the club heads, shaft and grip suppliers, owners of assembling workshops, shipping centers and online chat rooms. Counterfeit products confiscated in the raids included complete golf clubs, club heads, shafts, grips, bags, labels and more. Photos of the raid can be found on the industry group’s website, www.keepgolfreal.com, and on Facebook.

The U.S. Golf Manufacturers Anti-Counterfeiting Working Group was formed in 2004 to support international law enforcement as it pertains to misrepresented golf gear. The group includes Acushnet (Titleist and FootJoy), Callaway, Cleveland/Srixon, Ping, PXG, TaylorMade and Adams Golf. The group said in the release that its efforts have led to the shutdown of more than 1,500 websites involved in counterfeiting and have led to the seizure of more than 2 million faked products.