Golfers beware: Counterfeit clubs sold online

RICHMOND, VA (WWBT) – Golfers beware! U.S. Customs and Border Protection says its seizing an increasing number of counterfeit golf products ordered by consumers over the internet.

Mike West, PGA member and Director of Golf for Independence Golf Course, knows a lot about golfing. He's 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," he said.

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," West said.

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 typically they are just looking for a good deal.

"You are probably looking at $700 to $800 for a nice set make up and you could be able go out and play," he said.

Golf experts say the sport can be pricey but say 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. The next thing you know, you are having problems and may not be that much in your golf swing, it is in your golf clubs," said West.

He says the best advice when shopping online, stick with reputable companies, be cautions 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," West told us.

Paying more money for equipment won't make you play better -- but West says buying legitimate items can make all the difference.

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