Attention, holiday golf shoppers: your chances of getting ripped off by a web retailer hawking counterfeit equipment just decreased. As part of a far-reaching crackdown by federal agencies against websites trafficking counterfeit goods, five golf retail sites have been shuttered: sunogolf.com, skyergolf.com, golfstaring.com, golfwholesale18.com and mygolfwholesale.com.
The sites were seized on Nov. 29, according to a press release issued by Ping, and each of their homepages now displays a scarlet letter that broadcasts their naughty ways: Golf Magazine recently reported on the fight to thwart the sprawling equipment counterfeiting industry, which robs U.S. manufacturers of an estimated $6.5 billion per year. Much of the counterfeiting emanates from China, then makes its way overseas by way of e-retail.
Authentic in appearance, if not performance, the fake goods [the counterfeiters] produce—outgrowths of increasingly sophisticated reverse-engineering—crisscross the continents at the speed of broadband. Though the bogus equipment rarely makes it into golf shops in the United States, it still floods across the border and into golfers' hands. It is not uncommon for ersatz versions of the latest Cleveland wedges, say, or the newest Callaway irons, to turn up on eBay or other online auction sites weeks before the real things land on U.S. shelves.
In the Ping press release, the U.S. Golf Manufacturers Anti-Counterfeiting Working Group warned that despite the recent bust there are still many other websites actively selling counterfeit golf products. Keep that in mind this holiday season if you find a price on a hot new driver that seems too good to be true.