Fake Callaways Golf Clubs: A Guide to Finding Authentic Clubs Online (Part 1 – The Facts)

My apologies to all who have been waiting on this post. It took a bit more research and writting than I originally thought. Once I typed up the post it was several pages long so I have decided to break the guide into multiple posts. I’ll post one or two parts a week so please come back to visit the site!

The Facts:

  • On an average day, Callaway will receive 4-5 reports of suspected fake Callaway golf clubs being offered on eBay
  • With the exception of Ping, there are NO club manufacturers that are currently manufacturing in the United States
  • 15 to 20 percent of all goods in China are counterfeit
  • Clubs that retail for $70 to $90 each cost $3 to $5 to make in China

Very sobering facts that should give the golfer looking for a deal considerable pause. I can only imagine the pain and anger someone might feel when they discover that they have purchase counterfeit clubs. I did my homework to mitigate the risk of buying my latest set of clubs online. Now, I am passing on what I know to you.

How can I tell if I have Counterfeit?

Serial Numbers: Around 2002, Callaway started adding serial numbers to their clubs. On woods the numbers are printed very faintly on the back of the heel of the club head. The serial numbers on their irons are under the grip so they are harder to check. The number also appears on the 8 iron as an industrial strength sticker just above the hosel. The absence of this sticker alone is not always a tip off as it can be removed with a little elbow grease and Goo Off. I have been guilty of removing it from my Big Bertha 2004 8 Iron purely for aesthetics. Mizuno and many other brands have their serial numbers on the hosel (part of the head that connects to the shaft) of each wood and iron. This is not true for Callaway and if you have irons with serial numbers on the hosel you have a fake.

Some counterfeiters are putting realistic serial numbers on clubs. If you have any hesitation, contact your authorized retailer or Callaway Golf Customer Service. They will be extremely helpful in determining if you have been duped. Remember, because a club has a serial number does not mean that it is authentic, you need to check it! Another possibility is that you have authentic Callaway clubs but they have been reported as stolen.

“But it’s a tour edition!” I have heard this as an excuse for selling non serialized clubs, The fact that is true only provides a counterfeiter the ability to sell a club that doesn’t have one. Unless you buy it from a pro shop or other reputable retailer, don’t by tour versions of Callaway clubs.

Logo, Lettering and Color: The second tip is pretty simple. Pay attention to the logo’s, lettering, and coloring. Many of the fakes use lettering or numbering that differs from that of genuine clubs. The fonts (character styles) are selected not only to represent the image of the company but to make counterfeiting difficult. Go to a local pro shop also so you can compare the item(s) you might plan to buy or have purchased to the pictures on the selling site. If you can, take a digital photo of a club at your local golf shop for direct comparison. The color of the club is often a tip off as well. Callaway uses specific unique colors on their clubs. If the shading is not a direct match, it may be a fake. Some clubs may even have misspellings. I once came across a TaylorMade T5. <– TaylorMade makes an R5 but not a T5. Would you buy a TailorMade?

Check the Shaft: One of the things buyers tend to overlook is the shaft. Adding a fake shaft to a real head not only significantly reduces the overall value of the club but can change the weighting, etc which will ultimately make a good club head play like a cheap knock off . Take a look is the ferrule (the piece that connects the shaft to the head). If the ferrule is not the standard part or has been replaced, the shaft has likely also been replaced at some point in time and may be an indication that it is a counterfeit club. I personally don’t buy clubs without the original factory shaft offered at retail.

The Magnet Test: If the clubs include models that are supposed to be titanium, does a magnet cling to them? If it does, the clubs are counterfeit. A magnet will not cling to titanium or tungsten clubs. This test of course doesn’t work for Steel clubs like my old Big Bertha 2004 Irons but it does work for the pricier Fusions that I am carrying now.

Read my next post on how these counterfeiters find decent folks (all golfers go to heaven) to make a very costly mistake!

Ace

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  1. #1 by aaron wilson on January 28, 2008 - 8:39 am

    Hi there,
    I have a callaway ft-i driver I purchased off the net. An unwanted xmas present. its a 9 deg neutral, stiff shaft 586 Speeder. I have a serial number for the driver but how do i check it or input the serial number in Callaways site. I go to the “product registration” page but its just more advertising.

    Do you know of the link I need to check out my ft-i driver. help much appreciated.

    Aaron

  2. #2 by chris p on March 19, 2008 - 9:04 pm

    i have noticed that the seal between the face and the back of the club on the real one it is a rubber seal all the way round on the fake it is like metal painted black

  3. #3 by Karl on September 18, 2008 - 11:01 pm

    Just got a set of big bertha irons on ebay

    the markings on the shaft have all been scratched off already
    no serial number on the 8 iron though
    does this model really not have a serial no on it?

    thanks

  4. #4 by Richard Love you on March 16, 2009 - 7:33 am

    I have read a number of your post and I love it, can’t wait to read some more.

  5. #5 by kevin on October 1, 2009 - 12:29 am

    is the callawaypreown web page a callaway company or fake

  6. #6 by Charles on November 26, 2009 - 3:51 pm

    I’ve purchased a second -hand Callaway X18 irons and I was noticed on the shaft has a sticker label assembled in China, that’s mean the iron is FAKE!

    By the way, as you mentioned on the article above my 8 iron also had a serial number on the the hosel.

    Would you be able to check the S/N # if the irons is authentic?

  7. #7 by Golf shop on December 9, 2009 - 5:34 am

    I have read your post and i am really interested on it ,like to read more..

  8. #8 by Nate on April 27, 2010 - 2:01 am

    what about the clubs that say prototype?

  9. #9 by chris jones on February 25, 2011 - 10:29 pm

    Ive brought these callaway big bertha 08 irons off the web, are these fake? many thanks, chris

    http://cgi.ebay.co.uk/ws/eBayISAPI.dll?ViewItem&item=270711407173&ssPageName=STRK:MEWAX:IT#ht_500wt_1156

  10. #10 by Matt on April 22, 2011 - 10:10 pm

    Callaway has no titanium in their clubs. X series is made in china so it should say assembled in china.

    • #11 by Golf Ace on April 23, 2011 - 4:21 pm

      Callaway does sell titanium clubs. I personally have a set. And the magnet falls right off. They are expensive but they do make them: “Fusion Technology – Callaway Golf’s innovative weight distribution technology – is pushed to the limit in the new Big Bertha Fusion Irons. This radical design delivers everything you would expect from Callaway Golf. The new Big Bertha Fusion Irons play longer, offer unmatched performance and playability, and look great! Three distinct materials – a dense Tunite alloy cradle, lightweight 6-4 titanium face, and special vibration-dampening TPU SenSert – are married together in our most technologically advanced irons ever manufactured.” I was not directly addressing X irons.

  11. #12 by Courtney Snachez on June 12, 2011 - 3:11 am

    I bought this driver for my better half for his birthday. It’s improved his drive tremendously. He noticed the main difference the very first time he teed up. It’s added distance and precision to his game. He loves his Big Bertha!!!

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