What You Need To Know
The first thing you need to know is that no counterfeit clubs are sold
on Golfbidder. Never have been and never will be - so right away you
can relax! However, on some websites which allow members of the public to buy
and sell directly amongst themselves - counterfeit golf clubs are a very serious
With a lot of counterfeit goods (eg Gucci handbags or Rolex watches for £10)
it’s pretty obvious to the buyers from the low price that they are buying a
fake. With golf clubs this is rarely the case. To avoid suspicion, sellers of
counterfeit golf clubs tend to charge the same prices you would expect to pay
for the genuine article. It’s a problem not only for the hapless buyers – but
for the whole golf industry.
This was evidenced recently when one of the biggest counterfeit
golf club scams in history came to light – for more on this story click
The counterfeiters are getting better – and it’s getting harder for a layman
to spot the difference; It could be the colour of a decal, the step pattern
of an inferior steel shaft; the fact that a magnet clings to a supposedly titanium
head (magnets don’t cling to titanium) - numerous subtle differences. But hit
a counterfeit club after a real one – and you’ll soon know the difference -
the performance is invariably dreadful.
How Come Golfbidder Doesn't Get Caught Out?
|Golfbidder staff compare
a suspect club with a real one
Extreme diligence is the real answer: Our expert inspection team, made up
of PGA Qualified professionals, personally handle tens of thousands of clubs
every year. Every club is minutely inspected to ensure it is in the condition
we expect – and then every one is individually photographed in close-up - and
The team has been with us for years, they take genuine pride in being able
to spot a fake – they have seen thousands of the genuine articles, and on the
rare occasions when someone sends us a counterfeit (having unwittingly bought
it elsewhere) it stands out like sore thumb.
There is not space to reveal all the tell-tale signs that mark out a counterfeit
from the genuine article – but here are just a few examples of the sort of discrepancies
which give the game away.
To view the latest offerings from the counterfeiters please visit us on our
Facebook page. We have new
images going up on a regular basis as well as loads more content to help you
in your quest for golfing perfection!
Scotty Cameron Select Newport Putter
First of all let’s say how delighted we are that the counterfeits coming through our doors are now very few. Trade in fake golf clubs is drying up, with the action taken by the authorities to date clearly having the desired effect. However the odd one does come through, but our team are quick to spot it – like they were with this Scotty Cameron Newport 2.5 putter.
We didn't have a genuine '2.5' in stock but we compared it to a '2' for the photos. Looking at the images attached there are a number of obvious flaws you can look out for. In these examples the fake is on the bottom or in the foreground.
- Headcover – look out for poor quality stitching and generally ‘cheap’ feeling.
- Lighter finish – much lighter in the fake putter.
- Hosel – absence of ‘Cameron’.
- Sole – the weights not sitting flush or fitting as they should.
TaylorMade R9 Driver
It hasn't taken long for the counterfeiters to being duplicating the TaylorMade
R9 driver. In this example the counterfeit is on the left. There are only minor
discrepancies but if you know what you're looking for they are a little more
obvious. In this first photo the edges to the white sections on the counterfeit
are not as sharp as the ones on the genuine club from TaylorMade.
The differences in this photo I'm pleased to say are a little more obvious.
The first is the fact that the letters on the furrel that state the setting
the club is on are upside down on the counterfeit. The next is not so obvious
but you'll notice the hosel is slightly longer on the counterfeit. Subtle but
once you spot them you can see them clearly.
TaylorMade SuperQuad Driver
In this example the counterfeit TaylorMade R7 SuperQuad is on the right hand
side. The first thigh you'll notice is the condition of the sole on the counterfeit.
Both of these clubs are used but there are many more scratches on the counterfeit.
This show the quality of the paint used on fake golf clubs is a lot poorer than
that of the genuine articles.
Callaway Big Bertha 2007 Fairway
Here we have one of the most popular fairways of the last few years. In this
example the counterfeit club is on the left. As you can see the red paint use
is slightly lighter than that on the genuine article from Callaway. You can
also see that the width of the red section on the counterfeit is wider than
on the real club. They are only subtle changes but if you know what to look
for you can spot them.
Counterfeit Fairway Woods
Cleveland HiBore XLS Driver
At first glance - and maybe a more detailed look - these Cleveland HiBore
XLS drivers look exactly the same. One difference in this image is the grey
fill on the Cleveland logo. On the genuine club (right) it is a nice smooth
finish, high quality paint and application, whereas on the fake it is an uneven
finish - poor products and application. Another difference is on the toe. The
cream coloured triangle displaying the Cleveland logo is not the same on the
counterfeit - it is a pure white paint.
These Cleveland HiBore XLS drivers are very good quality so please make sure
you buy from a genuine retailer or you’ll think you’ve crashed one off the first
tee only to come up 100 yards behind your playing partner!
Callaway X460 Driver
One of these is one of
long-hitting X460 driver manufactured from pure titanium. The other is a
cheap imitation which hits the ball considerably less distance. The fake, here,
is on the left – note how the number 9 denoting the loft is a slightly different
font – and how Callaway written on the side is less defined. Note also that
the plastic ferrule – which covers the join between clubhead and shaft – is
slightly thinner on the fake.
A top view of the same clubs. The fake has a white alignment arrow, whereas
the real deal has a more subtle silvery grey arrow. Yes, the one on the left
is destined for the bin!
TaylorMade r7 460 Driver
The heads on the TaylorMade r7 460 drivers are uncannily similar – even the
fonts are pretty close – although the shade of orange on the crescent isn’t
quite right. (The counterfeit is the on the left by the way).
Where the crooks have really let themselves down is with the shafts. On this
close-up you can see the graphite weave of the stock TaylorMade RE-AX shaft
on the counterfeit (below) is not actually graphite weave but has been painted
on and looks less pronounced.
Nike Sumo SQ 5900 Driver
To the untrained eye, the counterfeit driver (left) is not immediately apparent;
the main giveaways are that the yellow paint is not quite the correct shade
– and the casting of the raised triangular shards within the yellow section
are not as crisp and proud as the genuine article.
Ping G10 Driver
Despite their huge popularity, there tend to be much fewer Ping counterfeits
around than some other major makes. Here’s an exception – the counterfeit G10
driver is on the left; the orange fill is too bright; the engraving for the
words Ping and G10 not as crisp or defined – nor the number 9 denoting the loft.
Headcovers are also counterfeited. Note the different colour on the fake
Ping G10 headcover (left).
TaylorMade Burner 2007 Drivers
It didn't take the crooks long to start copying the originals – on the left
is a counterfeit of
2007 Burner driver – only a few short weeks after the real ones began hitting
retailers’ shelves. At first glance it is tricky to tell from the real one on
the right – the shade of red is very slightly brighter, but otherwise they are
virtually identical. The top of the clubs (see below) made it a little easier
to tell the difference, but not much...
The same clubs as above, but viewed from the top. Again the fake is on the
left. Difficult to see in the photo but the web-type lines in the light-grey
areas are thinner and not as defined. It would be almost impossible for a layman
to notice difference – so our advice remains as ever – only buy clubs from a
source you know, trust – and have recourse to if you subsequently discover the
club is a fake.
Callaway Big Bertha 460 Driver
A little easier to tell apart than the
you can see that the font used for the number 9 denoting the loft is slightly
different on the fake (left). The letters used in ’Big
Bertha’ are a little thinner; the sweeping white line at the bottom reaches
all the way to the ferrule on the fake, whereas on the real one it stops short;
the red paint used is also a little too bright.
Callaway FT-i Driver
On the right,
FT-i driver. On the left, a cheap imitation. The cosmetic differences are
not immediately obvious unless you are inspecting dozens of genuine FT-Is on
a daily basis; Note how the three squares denoting whether draw, fade or neutral
model are fractionally bigger on the fake; the black plastic ferrule covering
the join of the shaft to the head is slightly thinner – and the metal band slightly
The writing on the (supposed) serial number sticker on the fake is not as
defined, the font used in the figure ‘10’ to denote loft is also slightly different.
There is a small – almost invisible in this picture – round hole covered in
black paint on both (close to the red/black paint divide immediately below the
large ‘F’ of FT-I): On the fake it is recessed, on the real one it is proud.
Note the dividing line between the silver area where the arrow is and the red
area – the crooks haven’t got it quite the right shape – and it is not as crisp.
A top view of the same clubs – and again the fake is on the left. Note how
the band enclosing the arrow on the fake is slightly thinner – and that the
arrow is a slightly stronger colour.
Headcovers are also counterfeited. The one of the left is the fake. Note
how the ‘F’ of FT-I is much closer to the beading edge than the genuine one,
and how the white stitching is spaced differently.
Nike SQ Driver
One of these clubs is a genuine
Nike SQ driver – it has
thinner but more defined face lines, with crisper edges and a cleaner finish.
Got it? Yes, the fake is on the top.
The shafts are of the same clubs – and again, the impostor is the top one.
Note the stronger blue and more defined decals of the genuine (bottom) one.
Counterfeit Fairway Woods
Cleveland HiBore XLS Hybrid
Again the counterfeit is on the left and as you can see from the photo they
are very similar! Like the driver the fill on the Cleveland logo is a slightly
different colour. In addition to this on the hybrid the step towards the toe
is not rendered as smoothly on the counterfeit as it is on the genuine article.
Here we can see the main difference between the fake and the real one! The
fill on the white triangle is more of a beige/cream colour on the real Cleveland
club. On the counterfeit as you can see it is a pure white fill. - this is the
same case on the fake XLS driver.
Callaway X Fairways
At time of writing, we only had a genuine left-handed X fairway 5 wood in
stock to demonstrate the difference (so the eagle-eyed will have already deduced
that the counterfeit is on the left). Unlike some of the other examples on this
page, this was not the crooks’ finest hour. Almost everything is wrong – the
font for 19 degree and 5W, the ferrule, the colours. In addition, the club as
you can see is noticeably larger than the genuine article. It looks obvious
here, but in isolation it would be easy to be fooled – as was the poor chap
who tried to sell it to us and who had no idea it was counterfeit.
Callaway Fusion Fairway Wood
It is not until you see both of these Callaway Fusion Fairways next to one
and other that you begin to see the slight differences between the counterfeit
(left) and the genuine article (right). The first thing you notice is the different
colour paint used on the chevron. In fact the paint on the genuine had just
worn away - a prime example of how costs are saved when counterfeits are being
manufactured. You can see the original colour is still different on the orange
lines - much brighter on the counterfeit.
The other difference is the loft. On the counterfeit it is black and on the
real thing it is orange. Only a subtle change and you would not notice unless
you were comparing them with each other.
Ping Rapture V2 Irons
As soon as you lay your eyes on this pair of Ping Rapture V2 irons you can
see that something’s not quite right. The first thing that you notice is the
finish of the actual club head. The genuine club on the right is reflecting
the light much better than the counterfeit on the left. The genuine club has
a more polished finish while the counterfeit has a more brushed look. The next
major difference comes in the form of the brand badge in the cavity. On the
real article there is a high quality badge that is set in to the head mould
where as the counterfeit has a much cheaper alternative that does not have the
same contours as the real.
This next photo shows the shafts of the genuine club (top) and the fake on
the bottom. As you can see when you’re in a position to compare the 2 the differences
are apparent - however as a standalone product these shafts are quite accurate
- but of course would not give you the performance of the genuine article.
Callaway X-22 Irons
This copy of Callaway’s latest X-22 irons would be unlikely to raise alarm
bells unless you had a genuine set to compare it with. The counterfeit is on
the left. The colour of the blue badge within the cavity is not as strong, nor
does the raised ‘X’ doesn’t have the quality of the original. The overall finish
and the fact that paint sometimes spills from the engraved lines marks it down
as a clear impostor.
Callaway X-16 Irons
The club on the left is a
Callaway Steelhead X-16
sand wedge. The one on the right is not. The real club on the left has a
hologram ‘X’ in the blue medallion which is only visible from certain angles
– the ‘X’ on the counterfeit is always apparent; The font used for X-16 is slightly
different; the blue medallion on the fake (right) is too bright in colour; the
54 degree engraving shallower and less defined.
Callaway Fusion Wide Sole Irons
It’s not too hard to see the difference here! The genuine club on the right
is a true wide sole iron while the fake on the left is a normal width with a
wide sole sticker. Another thing to note is the different font used on the number
- and the underline used on the genuine club.
From the back we can see more differences. The badge displaying the ‘Wide
Sole’ text on the left is from a cheaper print run and is starting to peel away
at the edges. The genuine is still fully stuck to the carbon insert.
Ping G10 Irons
At a glance these 2 Ping G10 irons look identical. However on close inspection
we can see that one of them is beginning to rust - no prizes for guessing that
this is the counterfeit. The rusting in the cavity of the fake club shows the
poor quality finish applied by whoever manufactured the head while the genuine
article is still in fantastic condition.
The Ping badge is also much thinner than on the real club and the edges of
the cavity or much thicker. The more eagle eyed of you will also notice that
the black dot on the hosel of the fake club is smaller than on the original.
There are some more subtle differences when comparing the soles of the clubs.
In this photo the genuine Ping G10 iron is on the left and the fake on the right.
The font used for the number 6 on the fake club is clearly a generic font, rather
than the more stylish font used by Ping. One thing worth noting is that the
fake club has had a serial number stamped into the hosel – so be warned – just
because it has a serial number does not make it genuine!
Scotty Cameron Futura Putter
One of these putters is made of precision-milled stainless steel – the same
club is used by some of the best tour professionals in the world – and it sells
new at £199. The other one is a worthless piece of alloy - but may still sell
at £199 to an unsuspecting buyer.
In both photos, the counterfeit is the bottom one; it has a different score
pattern on the face; the words ‘Scotty Cameron’ are not as crisp; most importantly
– the metal used is a cheap zinc alloy which dents easily when struck – stainless
steel does not. It’s the ‘feel’ of the thing which initially sets the alarm
bells ringing – but in isolation, the fake could easily be accepted as genuine
by someone who does not handle many real
putters on a regular basis.
Yes! Callie Putter
The fake (below in our image) looks very similar from a distance, so you
can see how the crooks are getting away with it when you have nothing to compare
You can see from the image that the materials used are not the same, shown
by the difference in colour of the C-Groove in the fake version, which is lighter
in shade and also less reflective. The inner most curve on the counterfeit putter
is also much thicker than the original version, most likely as a result of less
accurate manufacturing and probably cheaper tools used in the milling.
Other differences, not shown in this image, are that the Yes! Callie is made
with a stepless shaft - which was not match by the crooks - and the grip was
a very poor imitation made from a much harder rubber.
Need More Help?
If you have any queries about counterfeits – or if you’re unsure of the provenance
of a club you have - feel free to email a jpeg of the item to
firstname.lastname@example.org or pop into
our showroom in Surrey and
we’ll be more than happy to provide whatever help we can.
Alternatively you can call our expert team on 0208 401 6901 to discuss any
issues you may have.
Address: Golfbidder, Unit E5, Barwell Business Park, Leatherhead Road, Chessington, Surrey, KT9 2NY
Telephone: 0208 401 6901