For an item such as golf clubs, where you are paying for performance, not to mention the years of research and development that go into design, it's important to make sure you are buying genuine merchandise. Law enforcement officials are well aware of the presence of TaylorMade knock-offs and takes many steps to ensure that fake clubs do not reach the marketplace. However, with the sheer number of sellers and proliferation of hard to regulate online marketplaces, many fake clubs make it into the bags of golfers. Fortunately, there are several steps you can take to be sure you have real TaylorMade clubs.
Smell the grip. If the grip of the club smells like formaldehyde or has an oily feel, there is a good chance that your club in counterfeit. Since counterfeits are often made with low-quality materials, they will often feel or even smell "cheap." Genuine TaylorMade clubs don't stink.
Inspect the finish on the shaft. If the shaft is poorly painted or if you notice irregularities in the finish, it is most likely a fake and not a genuine TaylorMade club. Authentic TaylorMade clubs go through a rigorous quality assurance process and don't have these kinds of imperfections.
Compare the club to pictures of the original. You can find pictures of legitimate clubs on the TaylorMade website. Compare the club to the pictures to make sure that they are identical. The biggest hints that the club is fake come in the form of mismatched fonts and paint colors that vary from the original. All colors, markings, and shapes should match perfectly.
Check the alignment of the logos. Are they perfectly straight and aligned on the club? In addition, look for signs of excess glue, especially on the decals. Crooked logos and a lot of glue are a dead giveaway that the club is not genuine TaylorMade.
Inspect the ferrule--the small piece on the club that connects the head of the club to its shaft. Many companies have special shapes for their ferrules, and counterfeiters generally don't match them. Mygolfspy.com also says that if there's excess epoxy around the ferrule, the clubs are probably not genuine.
Make sure the specs match. TaylorMade publishes specs on just about every one of its clubs, including the weight, loft, and diameter of the butt. If any of these are off, then the club is questionable.
Research the serial number. All genuine TaylorMade clubs are manufactured with a serial number to identify the club. If you suspect a counterfeit club, call TaylorMade. The company can check the legitimacy of a serial number.
Hold a magnet next to the club. For example, if you supposedly purchased a TaylorMade r7 titanium fairway wood, see if a magnet is attracted to it. Real titanium is not magnetic.
Be wary of deals that sound too good to be true. If you are shopping for new TaylorMade clubs, and the purchase price is dramatically lower than retail or if the clubs are packaged together in full sets, you might be dealing with counterfeits. For example, a driver, metal woods, wedges, and a putter sold as one auction will often be the product of forgers.
Purchase only from authorized dealers. TaylorMade publishes a list of authorized dealers and golf shops on its website. If you want to be absolutely sure you are getting real TaylorMade golf clubs, buy only from one of these dealers.