Can you tell which one is the fake? It's the one on the left.
Last week the Chinese government conducted multiple raids on counterfeit golf club operations in China. They seized over 25,000 products from markets in Beijing and Shanghai.
This is part of an ongoing effort to stem the flow of fake golf clubs coming from China. In September alone, the Anti-Counterfeiting Group conducted 4 raids that seized 80,000 fake clubs.
According to Michael Rider, Senior VP and General Counsel for Callaway Golf, “The number and location of these recent raids sends a strong message to counterfeiters that we are committed to shutting them down.”
“We are striking back at these illegal operations, hitting them where it hurts like our most recent action in shutting down some of the most popular locations in the world of counterfeit store fronts,” said Rawleigh Grove Vice President and General Counsel for PING. ”We’re confident this will be a deterrent to counterfeiters in the future as we keep pushing to keep golf real.
The problem is that while the numbers sound impressive (and they really are), this is just a drop in the bucket. When you shut down one market in China, 2 more will open up. Personally, I don’t really have a problem with Counterfeit clubs per se. If you want to buy some cheap knock-offs, then go ahead. Nobody buying a $50 set of Callaway’s in China actually thinks they’re real. The real problem is when the counterfeits get shipped over here to be sold as legitimate clubs. Some golfer then ends up going on eBay and unknowingly buys one and wonders why his new super-titanium carbon fiber driver is shorter than his 5-wood.
To that end, I’ve posted a list of websites allegedly selling fake golf clubs after the break. Also, for what it’s worth, the counterfeiters only bother going after the big name brands. A rep from Adams told me earlier this year that they’ve never actually seen a fake Adams club because they’re not yet a big enough brand to have caught the attention of the counterfeiters in China. Also, My Golf Spy has a nice guide on how to avoid buying fake clubs on eBay (they claim 24% are fakes).
Eagle-eyed David over at Golf-Patents.com spotted a new design patent issued to Ping today. It was filed 2 months after the design patent for the G20′s and based on the look of the club, it could definitely be the upcoming I20′s. Also, it happens to look quite a bit like the grainy TV screenshot of an I20 club posted over on Golfwrx a couple of weeks ago.
One of the names to watch as the PGA Championship kicks off this week is Marty Jertson. Marty who? I’ll give you a pass on this one because you’ve probably never heard of him before unless you’re a hardcore club geek.
Jertson is actually a senior design engineer for Ping and the new G20 irons are his brainchild. Earlier this year he finished T5 at the PGA Professional National Championship, earning a spot in the year’s final major. Naturally Jertson will have the G20 irons, fairway woods, and driver in his bag this week.
It must be pretty rough spending all day designing and testing golf clubs and then getting an opportunity to put everything to the test in a major championship. I know I’ll be rooting for Marty this week and I suspect that plenty of others will too.
And of course with a new driver and hybrid, there has to be a new iron set right? The G20′s look to be building on the very successful G15 irons (you’d be surprised how many guys on tour are playing the G15′s even though their bag says Taylormade).
I definitely like the color scheme (super important, right?). They feature a multi-material badge to provide “solid feel and sound while enhancing distance control”.
I’ve never had a hybrid in my bag before. But I have to say that these G20 hybrids look really nice. Interestingly, Ping went the opposite direction of the driver/woods and actually made the face of the G20 hybrids more compact while adding bounce and camber to improve turf interaction.
Today was a pretty big day for the folks over at Ping. They spent the afternoon launching a ton of new products. They kicked things off with the announcement of the new G20 driver.
It basically looks like a cross between the G15 (my current driver) and the more recent K15. They’re using a new titanium (Ti 8-1-1) with a higher strength/weight ratio and have increased the overall face size and MOI of the driver.
Jeff Lewis lost both of his hands and feet in 2005, but not his passion for golf. After unsuccessfully attempting to play golf with his existing prosthetics, he decided to contact several equipment manufacturers to see if they could help him. All he heard was “Sorry.” That is, until he contacted Ping:
“I contacted several of the major golf manufacturers,” Lewis said. “They all told me they couldn’t help me. I contacted Ping and they said, ‘Can you be here tomorrow at noon?’
I finally went through the mail from Thanksgiving and found an envelope from Ping. Imagine my surprise when I opened it up to find a refund check… for 98 cents… from 2006.
Back in 2006 I sent a set of i5′s back to Ping to have the lie angles adjusted. They charged me $32 and I never gave it a second thought. But apparently Ping did. Mary H Jump, being the dilligent employee that she is, realized that Ping had overcharged me by $.98. I’m not sure why it took them this long to figure it out, but once they did, they weren’t going to rest until this wrong had been righted. And so, over 4 years later, I received a check for $.98.
Say what you want about Ping, but they are fastidious, if a little lethargic. Now please excuse me while I go treat myself to something off of the dollar menu at McDonalds.