Man Convicted of Selling Fake Callaway Equipment

A word of warning to people buying golf equipment over the internet: if the price is too good to be true, it probably is too good to be true. A San Diego man recently pleaded guilty to selling fake Callaways over the internet. He apparently had done more than $500,000 in business, and police seized another $1 million in inventory from his home.

Orange County sheriff’s investigators raided a warehouse in San Clemente on Oct. 31, 2006, netting an estimated $1 million in bogus goods including clubs, golf bags and other items marked with such names of Carlsbad-based Callaway,Titleist, and Cleveland golfing equipment that did not carry serial numbers that would attest to their authenticity, said sheriff’s spokesman Jim Amormino.

A “Big Bertha’’ Callaway golf club that would normally sell for $400 or more was offered on eBay for $200 to $300, Amormino said.

The goods did not seem to be inherently substandard, and investigators have not received any complaints from people who bought them, he said.

Law enforcement was tipped off by a Callaway golf executive who noticed the clubs were priced below wholesale, Amormino said.

If they’re selling as “new” for half the price of a brick-and-mortar shop’s retail, you have to be suspicious.

What I find really interesting is that the man had not gotten any complaints about his clubs. But maybe that’s not surprising, considering that China makes the clubs for most of the major companies. Chinese forgers would have ample opportunity to measure and de-engineer name brand clubs and then make their own.

If the golf companies would make their clubs in the US, perhaps they wouldn’t have so much trouble with knock offs.

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