DALLAS (CBS 11 NEWS) – You know run the risk of receiving a fake when you buy anything online – and that includes golf clubs.
Matt Flewelling, a CBS 11 employee, learned this the hard way.
“At the end of the day, this was a little bit cheaper than some of the big box boys, so I went ahead and ordered it,” said Flewlling.
Flewelling ordered what he thought was a PING club from www.bestpricegolfshop.com.
“It was just like any American regular site that you’ll see, I didn’t think twice,” he said….until a box from Hong Kong showed up at his door.
“It was a dead giveaway that this was not a legit club.”
Flewelling knew he had been taken when his American-made club arrived from an overseas company.
Jason Rocker is with the U.S. Golf Anti-Counterfeiting Group, which was formed to fight what he says is a huge counterfeit golf club problem.
“If you took all those clubs and laid them down end to end it would go from Beth Page Black in Long Island all the way to Pebble Beach, California and then back again.”
Last year alone, the anti-counterfeiting group shut down more than 200 websites in Florida, which were selling bogus golf products. Investigators have warned pros to watch out for the clubs. A trained eye can see the variations in the labeling, the feel, and colors in the grip, the quality and colors of the head and shaft, and the design. You can certainly hear the difference between the fake and the real.
The pros say the differences not only impact a golfer’s game, but there is also a safety issue, with some reports of the heads flying off mid-swing.
If you’re buying a club online, you can call the manufacturer and find out which sites are legit.
You can also verify the authenticity of a club with its serial number.