Success breeds imitation, particularly in the golf club manufacturing business. Legitimate manufacturers adopt technological and stylistic approaches from competitors all the time. The knock-off segment of the industry is thriving. But there is another segment--the clone, imitation or fake golf club business--that constitutes fraud and is illegal. Unfortunately that doesn't stop some inventive sellers from manufacturing clubs that look like the Ping G5 driver, for instance, but do not perform like the real thing. Below are a few ways you can keep your eyes out for fakes and avoid having a problem with your Ping G5 driver.
Difficulty: Moderately Easy
Make sure you know who you're buying this club from. If it is not Ping Golf directly or a legitimate golf equipment retailer, make sure the seller has a good reputation. If you are purchasing online, make sure the seller is highly rated with no complaints lodged against him. This will solve the lion's share of any problems you may have.
Make sure your club has a serial number. Every Ping driver has a serial number engraved into the metal at the heel of the club. Also make sure the engraving looks professional. Some fakes use highly inconsistent engraving.
Compare the color to the finish on a legitimate G5 driver--either another club, a print photo or even online. Some fakes use the wrong color or variations that are not very close to the original blue used by Ping.
Is the club head magnetic? The Ping G5 is made of titanium alloy and a magnet will not stick to it. If your magnet sticks to the club head, it is a fake.
Look at the lettering and finish of the club. On fakes, the black or white paint used inside the words "titanium," "Ping" and the loft will be colored outside the lines. Clubs from the manufacturer almost always have flawless finishes.
Make sure the shaft has not been removed or replaced. You can usually tell by looking at the ferrule, where the shaft is inserted into the club. If your club has a ferrule that the company doesn't usually use, if it looks sloppy or if there is epoxy squeezed out from the seams, it is likely either a used club or a fake.
Tips & Warnings
The old saying holds true. If the deal seems too good to be true, it probably is. New Ping clubs fall into a price range. If your deal is significantly less, there is probably a reason for that.