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Raids Shine Light on Fake Golf Gear

Golf may be a civilized game, but the major equipment companies aren’t pulling punches when it comes to counterfeiters of brand-name putters and other clubs.

According to an announcement made by Acushnet Company on Tuesday evening, the company helped state and federal authorities apprehend two individuals accused of operating a major golf equipment counterfeiting operation based in North Carolina. Both suspects were charged with two felony counts of possessing counterfeit trademarked goods with intent to sell.

Acushnet is comprised of the Titleist, Footjoy and Cobra golf equipment brands, and Titleist is home to leading putter designer Scotty Cameron, whose putters are found in the hands of Tiger Woods and countless other PGA Tour professionals, not to mention avid collectors.

This isn’t the first time that a golf equipment company has helped initiate a successful raid on counterfeiters. In August, after a complaint was filed by the U.S. Golf Manufacturers Anti-Counterfeiting Working Group (comprised of Acushnet Company, Callaway Golf, Cleveland Golf, Nike Golf, PING and TaylorMade Golf Company), raids were conducted on four suspected counterfeit golf club factories in China. The raids resulted in the seizure of more than 3,000 counterfeit items. The seized goods were illegal copies of products made by all six of the anti-counterfeiting groups members.

As for this most recent raid, Acushnet Company observed counterfeit golf products in the market and conducted an internal investigation prior to presenting the matter to the North Carolina Secretary of States Office.

According to Acushnet Company: “A two-month investigation by state and federal officers resulted in allegations that (the suspects) operated an Internet-based site that sold fake brand-name golfing gear, with the counterfeit brand name products being imported from Asia, and then being sold both domestically and internationally on a ‘store site’ on eBay…Thousands of fake golf products were seized, including counterfeit Titleist, Cobra and Scotty Cameron products. In addition, other alleged counterfeit products were seized, including fake Golf Pride golf grips and goods bearing the trademarks of Cleveland Golf, Nike, PING, Callaway Golf and TaylorMade Golf.”

Said Lisa Rogan, Acushnet Company’s trademark manager, “We conduct daily monitoring of eBay and other auction sites, which often leads to criminal investigations.”

The lesson for the average golfer is that the online auction deal that’s too good to be true could, in fact, be just that—an untruthful scam that could undermine your game with inferior equipment. Proceed with caution and, as always, buyer beware. And when in doubt, stick with authorized retailers.

About Sean Weir

Sean Weir is the founder and editor of PutterZone.com, and the author of Putter Perfection, the definitive guide to putter fitting. Profile: Google+

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