This article first appeared on Golfshake.com in May 2013.
Buying and selling used golf clubs on the internet has its advantages, notably the huge selection of clubs available at lower prices. On the other hand it has paved the way for scam artists selling counterfeit golf clubs to unsuspecting golfers. It is advisable to buy from a reputable online retailer, who has an expert inspection team made up of PGA Qualified professionals to ensure that every club in stock is authentic and in good condition.
Obviously not every golfer has a trained eye to inspect counterfeit clubs, so it is important to look out for the key factors that may indicate if a golf club is genuine or not. Here are the things to look out for when buying second hand clubs to avoid making an expensive mistake.
- Serial Numbers – ask for the serial number from the seller. If they do not provide this then it is likely that the clubs are fake. If they have a serial number but you are still unsure, contact the manufacturer to check.
- Photos – Ask for additional photos of the club if there are not enough provided. It is important to remember that there are several parts of the club – face, sole, crown, ferrule, hosel and grip which might be in a different state of wear. It is best to make sure you see original photos of each element, whilst any unusual or heavy wear should be highlighted in the photos and mentioned in the club’s description.
- Great deal – If it seems too good to be true then it probably is. Sellers will say the club was ‘won in a raffle’ or ‘given as a gift’ to justify the low cost.
- Spelling errors – Look for spelling errors and other disparities on the equipment and packaging.
Here are a few examples of the discrepancies between a counterfeit TaylorMade RBZ Stage 2 Fairway Wood and a genuine brand new one. The differences are a little more obvious if you are aware of what you are looking out for. Have a look at the two clubs below and see if you can guess which one is the counterfeit.
The club on the right is counterfeit. If you are unfamiliar with the RBZ Fairway Wood it may look like a top club but it is clear to see its shortcomings when you compare it to the real thing. Whenever you buy from a club an independent retailer, be sure to compare the images of the exact club you are purchasing with the real thing. You can see the shaft and club face are the wrong color, whilst the three line design with the yellow stripe in the middle is slightly out of place as the angle of the RBZ design is not quite accurate on the counterfeit design.
Here you can see that the counterfeit looks almost identical, except for some small inconsistencies in the letter and design. Don’t be fooled by thinking that just because they look similar they will perform similarly, they won’t, as they are often made using cheap materials and don’t feature any of the major advancements in material and club technology.