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Golf Australia Express : GA Express 217
I N SOME respects, you can sort of understand why someone might buy counterfeit golf clubs. They look pretty similar to that dream set of TaylorMades or Callaways you’ve been eyeing off, but at a fraction of the price. Want a full set of Ping G30 irons, fairways and driver – retailing last year for more than $2000 – for less than a grand? There’s a site out there somewhere that can make it happen. But you’ll also be buying yourself a fraction of the performance, if you ask the people selling the genuine article. And then you hear the real horror stories: snapped shafts, shattered clubheads, or even worse, the embarrassment of being outed by an eagle-eyed or bionic-eared neighbour at the driving range, who notices that your M1 doesn’t look or sound quite the same as theirs. ‘Counterfeit shame’ has emerged as a real and present deterrent in the fight against counterfeit golf clubs, says American Golf Supplies National Sales Manager Brad Glass, the Australian distribution company for Ping’s products. And it’s a fight that the manufacturers are finally winning. “There’s no question, simply based on the amount of enquiries and emails that I get across my desk, if I compare today to three or four years ago, we were getting people phoning up, either consumers or retailers, and emails coming across my desk on a monthly basis,” Glass says. “Now sitting here today I don’t think I’ve had an email or a phone call about a counterfeit club for probably two or three months. It’s certainly a lot less. And looking online, there’s nowhere near as much online as there was 12 or 18 months ago.” Of course, that doesn’t mean they’re not out there. As Glass says, “you shut down one and another two pop up”. Industry estimates put the number of counterfeit clubs produced worldwide each year at about two million. Consider that Australia makes up around one to two per cent of legitimate golf equipment sales worldwide, and it’s not unreasonable to assume that upwards of 20,000 of those clubs are finding their way to our shores. “I’ve got one sitting right here in my office now,” Glass says, highlighting one of the many counterfeit clubs that duped buyers have handed in over the years. “The counterfeiters got better very quickly. Initially the fakes were very easy to spot. As they got further into it they got better at making the fakes look authentic.” “For Ping clubs specifically, the serial number is the best way for us to determine whether the club is counterfeit or not. The counterfeiters started off by putting just any old number on the clubs, which was easy to tell. But they then got smarter and started putting authentic serial numbers on the club, they were just on the wrong club.” “Price was such a giveaway, so they also started selling their counterfeit products closer to the recommended retail price because it was such a dead set giveaway.”
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