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Yeah... JUST stolen........JUST exported illegally.....you are JUST supporting crime....... JUST black market. Nothing serious. Talk about a moral vacuum. Nothing bad. JUST stolen goods. (which they aren't, they are counterfeit)

I almost hate to get started here because this a big peeve of mine, but since it is I have to comment as well. First, I agree totally with the comments from Shorty here - nice to see someone with a good moral compass. But I have one exception which is the comment above that they are counterfeit and not stolen goods. They ARE stolen goods. They are a theft of someone's intellectual property. They are a theft of millions of $$$ of research and development that culminated in a design. Counterfeit products are indeed theft. Counterfeiting products, even in China, is illegal (just not heavily enforced). Trafficking in counterfeit goods is illegal.

I just want to point out that I never said "go ahead and buy them!! it is perfectly legal and moral to do so!" I said that they may not be fake. As for my business mind... Thank you so much for insulting me without being provoked. You are probably the same person that yells at your kid when he spills some milk. Lengthen that fuse a little bit man.

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Strangely enough, a friend of mine bought what he thought was a brand new Taylor Made driver off of ebay a while ago now, but he did not realise that it was a counterfeit product until a PGA pro pointed it out to him. It was not obvious because the club performed well.
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Without getting into the moral issues, I would bet that they perform rather well. I would imagine that they are forged and cast out of the same materials as bonafide models. As many note, often times fake goods and real goods are made in the same factory and simply shipped out of different doors.

And while the Chinese lag somewhat behind in some areas of production, metallurgy is not one of them. For instance, they make excellent firearms. The slides on the Norinco 1911 pistols are commonly held to be of the absolute best quality by gunsmiths who work on them, consistently better than the slides on Colt pistols and a few other American made versions.

So, from a purely practical point of view, I doubt there is any appreciable difference in the way those clubs play and some you would buy at any American store.

And back to a moral note, I'm a capitalist pure and simple. I see nothing wrong with companies chasing cheap labor, wherever it may be. However, if a company chooses to do business because of cheap labor in a country that does not have and/or honor copyright laws, it can't very well gripe about it when its designs are copied and sold on the black market.

Titlelist, Mizuno, and others can cry all day long about theft and the like. But the simple matter is that they view black market copies and the like as an acceptable part of doing business in China. If they did not, they would not do business in China.
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Without getting into the moral issues, I would bet that they perform rather well. I would imagine that they are forged and cast out of the same materials as bonafide models. As many note, often times fake goods and real goods are made in the same factory and simply shipped out of different doors.

I will disagree with you on a couple areas. First, I doubt that the counterfeit manufacturers use the same materials as the real manufacturer. The Chinese factories will use the cheapest possible materials, and using cheaper grades of steel, plastic for graphics, etc. With the Chinese factories I had at my company, we constantly battled with suppliers to prevent them from substituting poor quality materials when we weren't looking. They would try and use cheaper alloys, regrind plastic, etc. We literally had to put a QA person on site at their factory. Perhaps some of these substitutions may not matter too much for how a rip-off golf iron plays, but when the paint fades, stickers peel off, head rusts, etc. then you'll notice the difference. You may notice more of a difference on woods where a lot of research goes into the material thicknesses on the face, head structure, etc. Substituting different steel or titanium will change the structural charactistics. Yes, the Chinese are great metallurgists. But a factory sitting on the outskirts of Guanzho doesn't give a damn about the metallurgy - they want to maximize profits pure and simple, and take any shortcut possible.

I also have to take exception to your contention that this is a problem of those companies that chose to build in China. You think that if Callaway didn't manufacture their clubs in China then they wouldn't have a problem, or that they should somehow be more righteous about their stance against forgery? Scotty Cameron's are manufactured here in the US, but they are well counterfeited in China. Rolex, Gucci...pick almost any luxury good. It has nothing to do with where a company chooses to manufacture their goods. What is does have to do with is a callous attitude towards intellectual property theft not by the sellers (they know they're doing something wrong but will try and get away with it), but by the buyers (who rationalize that they're not doing anything wrong because they think the bonafide supplier charges too much, or because "that's just what happens in China").
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I will disagree with you on a couple areas. First, I doubt that the counterfeit manufacturers use the same materials as the real manufacturer. The Chinese factories will use the cheapest possible materials, and using cheaper grades of steel, plastic for graphics, etc. With the Chinese factories I had at my company, we constantly battled with suppliers to prevent them from substituting poor quality materials when we weren't looking. They would try and use cheaper alloys, regrind plastic, etc. We literally had to put a QA person on site at their factory. Perhaps some of these substitutions may not matter too much for how a rip-off golf iron plays, but when the paint fades, stickers peel off, head rusts, etc. then you'll notice the difference. You may notice more of a difference on woods where a lot of research goes into the material thicknesses on the face, head structure, etc. Substituting different steel or titanium will change the structural charactistics. Yes, the Chinese are great metallurgists. But a factory sitting on the outskirts of Guanzho doesn't give a damn about the metallurgy - they want to maximize profits pure and simple, and take any shortcut possible.

I would agree with you on lots of things, but probably not clubs. 1020 carbon steel in a forged club is 1020 carbon steel regardless. It is pretty cheap regardless. Any impurities are probably not going to be noticed by someone who plays them. There just really aren't that many shortcuts to take.

So, while it is okay for a corporation to travel to the ends of the earth to find a way to maximize profits, it is unethical for a consumer to attempt to maximize his value? That is your contention? As I said, I'm a capitalist. Therefore, I don't hold intellectual property laws in high regard. Make your product. If it is better made and has greater value, it will sell better than a competitor's who may have copied the design. And the same can be said here. I know of few golfers who would consider $200 clubs much of a bargain if they don't perform up to the expected level. You do know that the man who made WD-40 never patented his product? He never wanted to reveal his ingredients and he figured the quality would speak for itself.
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The funniest part of all of this is that Chinese golf nuts will spend huge sums to get original golf equipment there.

My wife was in Hainan island where she watched an LPGA event. Some locals offered to buy her clubs from her for more than she bought them here in the US. In fact a number of people said that the wealthy chinese country club members love buying the latest and greatest which is available only from overseas.

Also, despite the fact that you can buy fantastic knockoffs of goods like handbags in China, go to any high end brand name seller in Paris and you'll find the store packed with Chinese tourists spending top dollar for the originals.
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Most of the TM stuff is made / assembled in china so if the place is good, itll have like stolen parts or somewhat defective stuff that didnt pass screening and is sold in markets.
Its hit or miss but you can get some quality stuff and other thats absolute shit
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I would agree with you on lots of things, but probably not clubs. 1020 carbon steel in a forged club is 1020 carbon steel regardless. It is pretty cheap regardless. Any impurities are probably not going to be noticed by someone who plays them. There just really aren't that many shortcuts to take.

I'm also a capitalist, and I fully support the needs of a consumer to maximize his/her value as well. But I do not feel it is ethical for the consumer to do this by contributing to the flagrant violations of established international laws. Similarly, I do not think it is ethical for a company to use child labor or similar unethical and/or illegal activities in their search to maximize their value.

As a capitalist, who SHOULD be concerned about the protection of intellectual property. What could be more capitalistic than spending much of your own effort and money to invent or develop something and then go make money for your efforts? If you do not believe in such protections, then you are undermining much of the foundation of a capitalistic society. Just curious, but what line of business are you in - what does your company do? Finally, you're wrong about the WD-40 example. I actually know the CEO of WD-40 (Gary Ridge), and Gary and I have served together on a panel at an intellectual property forum. As Gary puts it, they will gladly give anyone the formula to WD-40 for free. John Barry, their founder, felt the same once the brand was established. The value is in the brand WD-40, and they hold the image of the blue and yellow can and its graphics and name to be the critical element of their business - it is priceless. They recognize that even in industrial marketing, the brand perception and what it stands for is often far more critical than the product's performance. This is pretty much the same for the golf club industry - Taylor Made, Titleist, Callaway, etc. don't really have the secrets on how to build a golf club, but what they have established is a brand perception that creates business. By the way, a funny story on WD-40. A number of years ago Gary (their CEO) was visiting one of their Chinese factories where they bottled WD-40 for the Asian markets. While touring the new factory, they found that over 1/2 the WD-40 in use in their own factory on their machines was actually counterfeit.
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The clubs will probably be fine. Modern Chinese piracy has gotten so good. From movies, to clothing, to anything else people want that is expensive and easily copyable.

Your golf clubs aren't $700.00 because of the rigid quality control and rare, precious materials they're made with. They cost that because of marketing and advertising. All those ad's and players sponsorships, and demo's, etc cost a lot of money. So you pay out of your ass to cover that cost. But they need to because the brand is the most vital, important thing.

So I wouldn't doubt they're the real deal. The metals aren't hard to obtain and once you have a forging mold or w/e there isn't much else to do. There are different levels of knockoffs keep in mind. There are very cheap imitations which have something of a similar look but are very obviously cheaply made and of poor quality. And you get all the way up to pirated versions of consumer products that are 100% the same thing but shipped out the other door at the factory.
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The funniest part of all of this is that Chinese golf nuts will spend huge sums to get original golf equipment there.

That's no surprise. People are always going to be willing to spend big money on prestige status items no matter where in the world they are from. If people only bought practical things companies like Louis Vuitton and Rolex would have gone out of business a long time ago.

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There's a lot of MORAL COMPASS talk on here about this subject. What's the diffrents in buying clubs from TM or Callaway who send our work to China to have their clubs made in sweat shops to make a bigger buck. Or buying fakes that are made in China in sweat shops. No one in our country has any right to get on a high horse about morals when half the junk we buy is made in China in sweat shops for companies here to make more of the all mighty dollar. So cut the moralality BS because we are all GUILTY!!
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I don`t want "fake clubs", even if they`re cheap. I`ve done a lot of buy/sell on Ebay,and it seems Callaway is the most copied. I play Pings,serial # on every hosel,easy to check with Ping. Callaway`s have the serial # on the 8 iron only,and it could be fake from another set.I always call and check spec`s{lie,flex,shaft}.If you`re buying a new set,call,and the shafts were steel,and you`re getting graphite,what`s up? The biggest problem,though, is recourse.If you pay,don`t receive the clubs,they`re inferior,ect., what`s next?? You can try to be cheap,but you could very well lose everything you paid for piece of s#%^@ clubs,and never receive them.IMO
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Many of you have discussed the moral aspect of this situation. Personally, I agree with the poster that discussed America's moral consumer compass in general, which is pretty poor.

However, I believe the bigger issue here is the legal side of this discussion. If you recieve goods which are illegal in THIS country, you may find yourself in some trouble. I am not sure what the law is regarding receipt of counterfit material, but why take the risk. I know you cannot get arrested for going to China Town in New York and buying knock off goods, but if why even take the risk in this situation?

Additionally, intellectual property laws are one of the best protections of capitalism. While competition for lower prices is great and drives the market, protecting the replecation of the same exact good provides a level playing field for manufacturers. If not for a level playing field there would be no incentive to introduce new products into the markert which would be devestating to the economy.

How would you feel if you built a company based on selling goods and had someone come along and literally copy everything about your good and sell it for half of the price?
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Many of you have discussed the moral aspect of this situation. Personally, I agree with the poster that discussed America's moral consumer compass in general, which is pretty poor.

Good point EGS. Although I would add that our comanies need more responsability in how they do buisness. I just don't feel to bad for TM or Callaway if a few people buy fake clubs. I wouldn't want them myself though.

MitchC. You also make some very good points here. In my veiw anyway.
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