Counterfeit golf clubs are becoming a big problem online. Besides being ripped off, these fake clubs could also lead to you getting hurt.
It is estimated that as many as 2 million counterfeit golf clubs are produced every year. At first glance they might look like the real thing, but even a subtle difference can be a clear indicator that you're buying a cheap imitation.
Mike west knows a lot about golf. He has been in the industry about 30 years. Besides being really good at the game, he has a sharp eye for fake equipment. "Certainly, when you hit them you can really tell you can tell the difference between a knock off and the real thing."
West says many times the knock-off equipment will have the name of the manufacturer misspelled or a different logo. Everything will look similar, but it's a fake.
U.S. Customs and Border Protection is putting consumers on alert. It says counterfeit golf products being sold online have increased recently. Not only are you not getting the real deal, but it can be dangerous.
"You could have club heads break. You could have shafts break because they are not the quality of the top notch manufacturers and all of sudden that could be dangerous to yourself or the other players," said West.
U.S. Customs and Border Protection provides video and pictures of how some of the counterfeit equipment may look on its website. It says most of the fakes are made in China. While many people are fooled, West is convinced some buy the items knowing they're not legit. He says they are typically just looking for a good deal.
"You are probably looking at 7 to 8 hundred dollars for a nice set make up and you could be able go out and play," said West.
Golf experts say the sport can be pricey, but remember: you get what you pay for.
"You could do your game a disservice by getting a set of clubs that may be too short for you, too flat, too upright. Next thing you know, you are having problems and may not be that much in your golf swing. It is in your golf clubs."
West says the best advice when shopping online is to stick with reputable companies, be cautious of deals sounding to good to be true and when in doubt ask an expert.
"I really haven't seen a lot of knock off golf balls, gloves, even shoes. The main thing is the clubs."
And to make sure your buying from a reputable company, check with the manufacturer. In fact, most have a list of authorized dealers posted somewhere on their website.