English Golf Courses

Magazine report casts fresh light on golf industry's counterfeit problem

Investigation reveals extent of damage done by $6b fake clubs operation

By ECG Newsdesk

The full extent of the $6billion counterfeit golf business has been laid bare in a special report published in the latest edition of bunkered magazine.

Key findings from the investigation included:

• What is being done to fight against the counterfeiters;

• The extent of the impact it is having on the game;

• The frustration felt by manufacturers and distributors alike.

Brand Fusion International sales manager Tony Fletcher is one such person who has spoken of his frustration at dealing with counterfeiters just months after winning a court case against one.

Fletcher, whose company is the UK distributor for SuperStroke grips, was part of a successful prosecution against a retailer in January, but says there is very little they can do if the grips are manufactured outside of the UK.

He also said frustration is the key feeling for him when it comes to dealing with counterfeiters because he has no way to impact upon the people making fake SuperStroke grips.

All Brand Fusion International can do is shut down the company that is making and selling the grips in China, but they can’t prosecute them. As a result, there’s nothing to stop the counterfeiters starting up the next day under a different name.

He said: “Going through the courts is a long and expensive process and there’s no guarantee of a positive outcome at the end.

“It is quite complicated to make anything happen. It’s fairly easy to prove when you put a genuine product alongside a counterfeit product, but it’s then difficult to prosecute them. It’s frustrating.”

Jason Rocker, the spokesperson for the US Golf Manufacturers Anti-Counterfeiting Working Group, was another to speak to bunkered. Rocker has been one of the key figures working with authorities around the world to seize counterfeit products.

Titleist, FootJoy, Scotty Cameron, Callaway, Odyssey, Ping, Cleveland, Srixon and XXIO are all members of the group set up due to irritation at the growth of counterfeiting and the lack of action being taken to stop it.

“It’s a two-front war that we’re fighting,” said Rocker. “The first is enforcement. We’re working with law enforcement officials in China to identify counterfeit operations, conduct raids to shut down those operations and then prosecute the counterfeiters.

“The other front is education about the dangers of counterfeiting. We’re telling people how they can avoid buying counterfeits and what the implications are for the brands.”

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