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Complete Guide to Identify Counterfeit Golf Clubs

Have you ever bought a club on eBay and thought to yourself, “I sure hope this club is authentic and I didn’t just throw $300 down the drain?”  Well, you have come to the right place because this article has pictures and details of many of the counterfeit clubs we have encountered in our Golf Trade In business.  By the end of this article you will have a better understanding of how to identify counterfeit golf clubs.

Thankfully, the counterfeit golf club issue has slowed some in the last couple of years thanks to people being more aware of the problem.  We hope to contribute to the decline in counterfeit club sales by giving you all the information you need to identify counterfeit golf clubs.

With this in mind, let’s get started with some general tips on spotting the differences between a counterfeit and authentic club.

How to Identify Counterfeit Golf Clubs

The first thing you will notice about a fake club is the quality doesn’t compare to the real deal. If held side by side with an authentic club, it will be easy to identify the counterfeit golf club because of the inferior quality.  Since you normally don’t have a known authentic club to compare to, let’s get started with some detailed analysis of the differences starting with the grip.

Counterfeit Grip Details

  • May have a strong rubber odor like a swimming pool float or a bicycle tire.
  • The grips logos may also not be aligned properly when the club is sitting at address.
  • If there is a brand logo, many times the paint fill will be coming out and the font will be slightly different.
  • The design of the grip may not match.  Sometimes the grip design will be from an older model club.  See our TaylorMade SpeedBlade post for an example or look at the image below.
  • Many of the counterfeit grips we have seen on counterfeit clubs have also been smaller around like a ladies size grip.
Counterfeit TaylorMade SpeedBlade
This counterfeit grip was a design used on TaylorMade Irons from several years earlier.

 

Counterfeit Ping Grip
Counterfeit Ping Grip on the left.  The paint fill is not solid and the grip is smaller than the authentic one on the right.

 

Counterfeit Scotty Cameron Studio Select Newport 2 Putter
The counterfeit Scotty Cameron grip on the bottom is totally different than the authentic.  This was a design used on older models.

Counterfeit Shaft Details

  • Counterfeit shaft bands tend to peel up and are not straight on every club.  Also, they could be in a different place between clubs for an iron set.
  • Many of the shafts will feel flimsy or not as stiff as the flex stated on the shaft.
  • The colors may be off on the shaft bands or the graphics if the club has a graphite shaft.  Check out our counterfeit Titleist AP2 Iron Set Post as an example of counterfeit Project X steel shafts.  See our post on a counterfeit G15 Hybrid we received to see an example of a graphite shaft.
  • Many of the major manufacturers have started putting a holographic sticker on the shaft.  As a result counterfeiters have followed suit, but they are not putting it in the same location.  Most stickers on authentic clubs are placed on the underside of the shaft up by the grip or down next to the ferrule.  Counterfeit clubs usually have this sticker near the shaft band on the top of the shaft so it is easily visible.  They figure it will make it look more authentic I suppose.  You can check our counterfeit TaylorMade SpeedBlade post for a good example.
Counterfeit Project X Shaft
Counterfeit Project X Shaft with a much brighter color of blue and a holographic sticker below the shaft band.

 

Counterfeit Ping G15 Graphite Shaft
Counterfeit Ping G15 Graphite Shaft.  As you can see, the graphics are a good bit different on the top shaft which is the counterfeit.

 

Counterfeit TaylorMade SpeedBlade
Counterfeit TaylorMade SpeedBlade Iron Shaft with holographic sticker under the shaft band.

Counterfeit Head Details (Irons and Wedges)

  • Paint fill will be slightly off color and sometimes will also be outside the lines.
  • Font used will be slightly different or maybe a slightly different size.  Most of the time the font lettering will be thinner on the counterfeit.
  • Branding and lofts will be in a slightly different location on the club head.
  • Ferrules will be a different style.  As an example, Titleist and Mizuno normally use a longer ferrule, but almost all the ferrules on counterfeit irons are shorter.
  • The shape of the head will be off.  Many of the counterfeit clubs I have seen will look totally different from address than an authentic club.  Since I have played Titleist Vokey Wedges for many years, I immediately knew a counterfeit Vokey wedge as soon as I set it down and looked at it from address.  The shape of the head was different.
  • The finish is almost always different.  On our counterfeit Vokey, the authentic club had a satin finish and the counterfeit was shinier.
Counterfeit TaylorMade SpeedBlade
Counterfeit TaylorMade SpeedBlade.  Finish is different, colors are off, and font is slightly different.

 

Counterfeit Titleist AP2 712 Iron
Counterfeit Titleist AP2 712 Iron.  Font size on the AP2 is much larger on the counterfeit.  Diagonal lines in the cavity are different.  The word Forged is written in a much thinner font.

 

Counterfeit Titleist AP2 712
Counterfeit Titleist AP2 712 Iron Set.  Notice the ferrule is much shorter on the counterfeit club.  The bottom of the club is more rounded and the bottom grooves starts slightly higher on the face.

 

Counterfeit TaylorMade SpeedBlade
Counterfeit TaylorMade SpeedBlade Face.  The finish is different with the face looking much different than the rest of the club on the counterfeit.

 

Counterfeit Titleist MB 710 Iron Set
Counterfeit Titleist MB 710 Iron Set.  Forged irons have bag chatter because the metal is soft.  Counterfeit will not have normal bag chatter because they are made out of cheaper metal.

 

Counterfeit Head Details (Drivers, Fairways, Hybrids)

  • Paint fill will be slightly off color and sometimes will also be outside the lines.
  • Font used will be slightly different or maybe a slightly different size.  Most of the time the font lettering will be thinner on the counterfeit.
  • Branding and lofts will be in a slightly different location on the club head
  • Club head could be a different shape than an authentic club.
  • Face angle and the way the club sits on the ground will be different.  We have seen many counterfeit drivers and most of the time the club sits open or closed when at address.
  • Head weight on counterfeit drivers is normally heavier than authentic drivers because they are not made of titanium.  You can also try the magnet test on your driver to see if it will stick.  A magnet will not stick to a titanium driver, but it will to a counterfeit steel driver.
  • Adjustment adapter will not line up exactly or generally looks poor quality.
Counterfeit Ping G30 Driver
Counterfeit Ping G30 Driver.  Notice the word LOFT is a totally different font and the serial number is much larger on the counterfeit.

 

Counterfeit Ping G30 Driver
Counterfeit Ping G30 Driver.  Notice how the counterfeit sits extremely closed when sitting on the ground.  Also notice the raised “Turbulators” don’t go all the way to the edge of the face on the counterfeit club.

 

Counterfeit Ping G15 Hybrid
Counterfeit Ping G15 Hybrid.  Colors are different.  The loft is painted in white instead of black.  This is a very poor quality counterfeit.

 

Counterfeit Mizuno MX-700 Fairway Wood
Counterfeit Mizuno MX-700 Fairway Wood.  the loft is written completely different.  Hosel length is much shorter on the counterfeit.

 

Counterfeit MX-700 Fairway Wood
Counterfeit MX-700 Fairway Wood.  The gray paint on the crown is completely different.

 

Counterfeit Head Details (Putter)

  • Colors and fonts will be different just like on the irons and drivers above.
  • Putter alignment will not set up properly.  It takes some work to make a putter that sets up perfectly and counterfeiters aren’t very good at the small details.
  • Removable weights may not line up properly as in the picture below.  If you run your fingers across the bottom of the putter you will feel the edge of the weight.
  • Finish will most likely be different.  Notice on the Scotty Cameron pictures below that the milling on the face is much different.  It looks as if the counterfeiter was trying a little too hard to put those fake milling marks on there.
  • Feel of the putter will be different because of the material used.  Higher end putters like the Scotty Cameron below are made of a softer metal and will have a different feel than the counterfeit.

 

How to Identify Counterfeit Golf Clubs
Counterfeit Scotty Cameron. Notice how the weights don’t line up perfectly with the bottom of the sole.

 

Counterfeit Scotty Cameron Studio Select Newport 2 Putter
Counterfeit Scotty Cameron.  Milling marks are much more pronounced on the counterfeit.

 

Counterfeit Head Cover Details

  • Stitching on the lettering and branding will be of poor quality.  Take a look at the Mizuno cover below to see a good example.
  • Material used will be a different texture and firmness.
  • As with the heads and shafts of the clubs, the colors will most of the time be a little off.
  • If there is Velcro or other closing mechanism, it will be of poor quality and many times will not work correctly.

 

Counterfeit Scotty Cameron Cover
Counterfeit Scotty Cameron Cover.  Material used is much stiffer and not as supple as the authentic.

 

Counterfesit Scotty Cameron Head Cover
Counterfeit Scotty Cameron Head Cover.  Shape is different.

 

Counterfeit Mizuno MX-700 Fairway Cover
Counterfeit Mizuno MX-700 Fairway Cover.  The log0 and branding on the authentic cover is much cleaner.

 

Counterfeit Serial Number Details

This section will be dedicated to the differences between the way companies put serial numbers on their clubs and how to help spot counterfeit clubs.  Most counterfeit clubs will have a much larger font for the serial numbers than what is on the authentic clubs.  Some companies etch the serial numbers into the metal and some companies use a laser that isn’t actually etched into the metal.  Every counterfeit club we have seen uses a laser and is not etched into the metal.  This could of course change in the future.  However, the guide below should help you identify counterfeit golf clubs.

Titleist

Titleist serial numbers in the past were mostly etched into the metal itself.  Starting around 2013 they started using a laser to add serial numbers to their drivers, fairway woods, hybrids, and Scotty Cameron putters.  From what I have seen, their iron sets are still etched into the metal.  On Scotty Cameron putters it is located on the shaft up near the grip usually between the bottom of the grip and the top of the shaft band.  With the newer drivers and fairway woods, it is located on the sole instead of the hosel.  On iron sets that are off the shelf, the serial number is on the 6 iron and on custom ordered sets, the serial number is on all irons.

www.titleist.com
333 Bridge St
Fairhaven, MA 02719
1-800-225-8500

TaylorMade

TaylorMade serial numbers are normally put on with a laser and are smooth to the touch just like most counterfeit clubs.  Normally, the counterfeit serial numbers are in a different font and specifically a larger font.  On many of the newer Taylormade drivers and fairway woods, the real serial number will be very light colored gray writing.   Iron sets will have the serial number on either the 5 iron (for older models) or the 7 iron (on newer models).  They have recently started putting serial numbers on the the hosel of all of the irons to confuse counterfeiters and are not used for registration or spec lookup.  Taylormade putters and wedges do not have serial numbers.  Tour issue clubs have a serial number that starts with a T.

www.taylormadegolf.com
5545 Fermi Court
Carlsbad, CA 92008
1-877-860-8624

Mizuno

Mizuno iron sets will have the serial number on the hosel of every iron.  Mizuno clubs normally have the serial number lasered on, but it will be in small writing.  Fake clubs will look like it is lasered on, but the writing will be much larger and a lot of times will only be on one club.  This would be the same for Mizuno drivers and fairway woods.  For iron international iron sets (Europe/Asia) the serial number is on the shaft underneath the grip.w

www.mizunousa.com/golf
1-800-966-1211

Callaway

Callaway clubs normally have the serial numbers laser etched on and it is on one club for iron sets.  There will also be a tiny 2D barcode next to the serial number.  This holds true for Driver, Fairway woods, and odyssey putters as well.  Although recently it seems that Callaway has stopped putting serial numbers on their fairway woods and hybrids, so if you have a recent model it may no longer have a serial.

www.callawaygolf.com
2180 Rutherford Road
Carlsbad, CA 92008
1-800-588-9836

Ping

Ping clubs will be harder to tell because they have recently started using laser etching on their newer clubs.  It used to be that all their serial numbers were actually etched into the metal.  It has just been in the last couple of years they have started using the laser etching process.  On iron sets, Ping puts the serial number on all clubs.  On the newer drivers and fairway woods the serial numbers are on the sole of the club back toward the hosel.

www.ping.com
1-800-474-6434

 

Final Notes on Serial Numbers:

Most manufacturers do not offer a way for you to verify whether or not a serial number is authentic.  The main reason for this is counterfeit club makers can easily take an actual serial number and stamp it onto their clubs.  There are a couple of manufacturers that allow you to register your clubs on their website.  Part of the registration is inputting the serial number on the clubs.  This is also not a full proof way of determining whether or not a set of clubs is fake or not, as most of those sites will accept any serial number that is enter.

Counterfeit Titleist MB 710 Iron Set
Counterfeit Titleist MB 710 Iron Set Serial Numbers.  The authentic club is on bottom and has the serial etched into the metal which you can feel if you run your finger across it.  The counterfeit is smooth to the touch.

 

Counterfeit TaylorMade SpeedBlade Serial Numbers
Counterfeit TaylorMade SpeedBlade Serial Numbers.  While they are both added to the club with a laser, the font on the counterfeit is larger.

 

Counterfeit Ping G30 Driver
Counterfeit Ping G30 Driver.  The serial number is much larger on the counterfeit.

Spread the Word

If you think this guide will help you identify counterfeit golf clubs, please share it with your friends by clicking the share buttons below.  The best way to put counterfeiters out of business is to educate buyers on how to avoid buying their products.  Do you have questions or comments?  Please leave them in the comment box below or contact us through email or phone.

If you are in the market for some used clubs, you can check out our eBay store for our selection of authentic equipment.  If you are looking to sell your old equipment before upgrading, check out our trade in website to see what your clubs are worth.

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1 thought on “Complete Guide to Identify Counterfeit Golf Clubs

  1. […] For a full breakdown on what to look for, you can visit this great guide by Golf Club Brokers by clicking here. […]

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