Golf Club Clones vs. Brand Name Clubs
Does the Golf Ball know the Difference?
One decision facing today’s golfers is whether to buy expensive brand name clubs or less-expensive clones. Both offer superior performance and world-class quality, but the clones are a better value. While the decision to buy cloned clubs rests with the golfer, it’s not an easy one. It helps to have some basic information about cloned clubs before buying.
Golf club manufacturing is dominated by a few select firms. Callaway®, Titliest®, TaylorMade® and Cobra® are among the game’s finest manufacturers. These firms stay abreast of the latest technological developments to provide the best clubs available.
Always striving to introduce the latest innovations, these firms compete fiercely with each other in a hotly contested marketplace. When one introduces an innovative club, the others quickly follow suit.
For example, Callaway®, TaylorMade®, Titliest® and Cobra® all market a metal driver with a graphite shaft. Each model features an oversize club head, a deeper clubface, and a low center of gravity. Each boasts of providing ultimate distance, forgiveness, and accuracy. And each claims to offer reduced spin.
Manufacturers of brand name clubs spend millions promoting their clubs. The money for promotional activities is included in the cost of manufacturing the clubs. Golf Digest estimates that a $500 driver actually costs about $77 to produce ($55 for the club head, $15 for a graphite shaft, $3 for the grip, and $4 for assembly). The remaining $423 covers overhead and other expenses as well as promotional activities. The more a company spends on promotion, the higher the cost of producing the clubs. The manufacturer passes the additional costs on to consumers in the form of higher prices.
Clones are copies of brand golf clubs. A good clone provides the same performance, quality, and technological features as brand name clubs but more cost-effectively. Golfers save between 50 percent and 75 percent of the name brand’s retail price. The saving equates to about several hundred dollars for a set of clubs. Lower prices let you buy new clubs more often, while enabling you to stay abreast of the newest designs and latest features.
Clones are every bit as good as name brand clubs. Clones are manufactured from the same components as the originals. Clone manufacturers buy their club heads, shafts, and grips from the same small community of suppliers as name brand companies. Clone manufacturers offer a wide range of shaft and grip options just like the original manufacturers. And clone manufacturers offer the same make of grips and shafts as name brand companies. The difference in playability between a brand name club and a good clone is generally insignificant. Clone manufacturer’s prices are lower because they don’t market their clubs as aggressively as name brand companies, eliminating most promotional expenses.
Legitimate clone manufacturers uphold the rights of name brand manufacturers. They clearly state their company’s name on their product, and make no attempt to mislead customers on the manufacturer. Legitimate clone manufacturers also uphold the legal trademarks, patents, and copyrights of other companies. Based on my own experience I strongly suggest that you take a look at the selections at discount golf club manufacturers like Pinemeadow Golf, arguably the best discount club merchant on the web. The quality of their clubs is comparable to well known brands, but their prices are way more ‘realistic’.
But some ‘black sheep’ manufacturers that violate these copy rights. Clubs that bear close resemblance to a name brand club lead the consumer to believe they are manufactured by an original manufacturer, or are exact copies of a brand name club. These clubs are illegal. They should not be purchased.
Manufacturers of illegal clones offer inferior quality, durability, and performance. Some use a poorer grade of stainless steel in their shafts and club heads, which quickly rust when exposed to dampness. Others use inferior titanium alloys, which include adding significantly more aluminum than titanium. Still others use inferior paint, which wears off almost immediately. What’s more, shafts are often inferior factory seconds that have been painted to look like high quality shafts. Regardless of how they do it, illegal clone manufacturers are just trying to rip you off.
Golfers need to be aware of illegal clubs and counterfeit products when purchasing equipment. If you decide to buy clone golf clubs, research the manufacturer thoroughly before buying them. Illegal clones produced by disreputable manufacturers are readily available. If a company’s name can’t be identified on a club, it’s probably illegal and most likely of inferior quality. Be weary of them.